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Echo Pop vs. Nest Mini: which is the better smart speaker?

Amazon recently introduced the Echo Pop — a diminutive smart speaker with an equally small price tag. However, the Nest Mini, offered by Google, boasts many of the same features. Both are designed to be entry-level smart speakers that grant you access to a voice assistant without breaking the bank.

But is one better than the other? And would the newer Echo Pop be considered an upgrade from the older Nest Mini? Here’s a comparison of the Echo Pop and Nest Mini to help you decide which is best for your smart home.

Pricing and design

Amazon Echo Pop in four colors.
Amazon / Amazon

The Echo Pop clocks in at just $40 and is available in a variety of colors (such as Charcoal, Glacier White, Lavender Bloom, and Midnight Tea)l. Its design uses a front-facing speaker that does a great job of projecting sound across a room, although it’s not ideal for listeners on the side or behind the device.

The Nest Mini costs $49 and comes in three colors — Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. Its design is much different from the Pop, with a puck-like, low-profile body that produces 360-degree sound.

Sound quality

Google's Nest Mini, white, on table with other personal belongings.

Neither the Pop nor Mini are ideal for audiophiles. If you’re looking for something with incredible sound quality, you’ll need to bump up your budget considerably and look at products like the HomePod or Sonos One. However, for products under $50, both the Pop and Mini are adequate.

The Nest has a bit of an advantage due to its 360-degree design, which allows it to pump sound to all corners of the room. Both tend to produce muddy sounds at max volume, but for some light background music, you can’t go wrong with either.

Features and smart home connectivity

A coral Google Nest Mini mounted on a brick wall.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Echo Pop is built for Amazon Alexa, while the Nest Mini is built for Google Home. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but if you have a bunch of smart gadgets in your home already, you’ll want to make sure they’ll play nicely with the Pop or Mini. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting a new smart home gadget, only to realize it won’t sync with your current setup.

Both smart speakers provide access to a voice assistant, along with the option to give commands to connected smart home devices. They’re also powered by versatile smartphone apps, making it easy to customize their performance or sync them with other products.

Is the Echo Pop better than the Nest Mini?

A blue Echo Pop sitting on a table.

There isn’t a whole lot that separates the Pop from the Mini. If you prefer Google’s ecosystem, then you should get the Mini. If you prefer Amazon’s ecosystem, you should get the Pop. If you don’t care either way, then go with the Pop — not only is it newer, but it’s also a bit cheaper.

No matter how you cut it, these are two of the best entry-level smart speakers available today. They won’t blow you away with their sound quality, but with eye-catching designs, support for voice commands, and the ability to sync with dozens of other smart home devices, you can’t go wrong with either.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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