For most people, smart homes start with a smart speaker that lets you talk with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Amazon Echo and Google Home are by any measure the hands-down dominant smart home eco-systems. A growing number of users start their smart home experience with smart displays such as the Google Nest Hub or the Echo Show 5, which we also compared in light of their Prime Deal deals, but smart speakers are still the most common first device. The third-generation Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini are the best-selling devices as well as the smallest smart speakers for their respective platforms. But which is the better deal for Prime Day, the Echo Dot or the Google Home Mini?
Discounted from its usual $50 cost, the Echo Dot at $22 wins on price. The Dot costs $3 less than the Google Home Mini, which is on sale for $25, $24 less than its normal $49. Price isn’t the only factor in comparing the two speakers, however. Smart home configurations often cost in the multiple hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Once you start building out a smart home, choosing a single device to save $3 isn’t the best move.
What if you were going to stop with one smart speaker, either the Google Home Mini or the Echo Dot? What if you had no plans to add more smart home security, entertainment, convenience, and control devices or systems? How do the devices differ as standalone electronics?
In a straight-on comparison between the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, the Dot’s audio output is better than the Mini’s, although neither fills a room. The Mini often gives more complete answers to the same question than the Dot, although answer quality is a subjective judgment. Amazon is building its knowledge bank and library of responses, but then Google is, well, Google, with access to the world’s largest search engine.
Both small speakers are easy to connect your home Wi-Fi, and further connections and configuration procedures are about equal.
The most significant determinant of which small smart speaker is the better deal rests with their smart home platforms. The Dot can access a vast and growing universe of Alexa Skills and the Mini has Actions. There are currently many more skills than actions, but the quality is more important than quantity. One factor you might take into consideration is Amazon’s public commitment to developing voice interaction with all the devices and machines in our lives.
The Mini and the Dot each work with fast-growing families of devices compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, or both. If you search for Alexa-compatible devices, you’ll find the number is much higher than those that support Google Assistant. Google Assistant, however, has an advantage of its relationship with the world of Android OS-based mobile devices.
In the end, the better Prime Day deal for the Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot is related to their smart home platforms. If you have already made your platform decision, there is no better deal in which a device for the other platform wins. If you’re starting with a smart home set up, there’s a good argument for buying one of each device to gain experience before making the larger decision. At the Mini and Dot Prime Day deal prices, you could buy one of each for less than the normal list price of either.
The third-generation Echo Dot is the best-selling smart speaker in the world, although sales rank alone doesn’t speak directly to its quality as a device or as a deal. The Dot is the gateway device for the massive world of Alexa Skills and Alexa-compatible devices, however, so it’s hard to ignore the effect of sales on the compatible devices and skills.
Normally priced at $50, the Echo Dot is just $22 during Prime Day. For a further discount based on quantity, Amazon is also selling a three-pack of Echo Dots for $60 during Prime Day.
If you want to get started with the Google Assistant smart home platform or adding devices to an existing setup, the Google Home Mini is the better deal.
Usually $49, the Google Home Mini is $25 during Prime Day through Wednesday, July 17. Walmart also sells a Google Home Mini two-pack, on sale during Google Week for $49, reduced from its normal $78 price.
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