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Hands-on review: Google Nest Mini 2nd generation smart speaker

Contributed by Diana Creighton.

At first glance, I notice that the packaging is very clean-cut and stylish. They have out-Appled Apple on the design side of things.

The Google Nest itself has a rubber back half with a grey mesh fabric cover over the front. The cables feel luxurious, and they include attached white cable clips to loop the wires away (especially when wall mounting it).

It can easily be mounted on the wall or kept on a flat surface.

It really is beautiful and can sit anywhere in your home or office.

I plugged it into the wall, and it immediately told me to download the Google Home app, which was easily found. I am using an iPhone.

There was a sound to tell me that I was connected. I am a 74-year-old retiree, and even I found this simple.

The instruction booklet is clear and straightforward to follow. I chose a room on the screen of my iPhone; my WiFi connection came up and my language. It then took a minute to set things up automatically.

Following the screen instructions on my Google Home app, I agreed to the Google Assistant and matched my voice, easily turning on the microphone.

I loved Google Assistant, setting my alarm, and getting it to play any song I wanted. It even played soothing sounds at my request.

It initially gave the weather in Fahrenheit until I enabled personal settings in the app and then asked it to change to Celcius.

A request for a Margherita recipe was answered immediately. What a perk!

If you are concerned about Google or the device listening into your conversations, you can turn the microphone off with a physical button on the side of the unit. Also, the volume control and pause are easily accessed with a tap.

With tens of thousands of commands, it will take some time for me to realise its full potential. Most of these work without any setup, although sometimes you need to set up a link with your account on the app. Examples of these are Spotify and Netflix accounts, which I quickly linked in the app, then I could bark out commands related to those.

I've never played with a digital assistant before, although I found it easy to set up and it will keep me interested for ages. It was actually quite a fun process.

Overall it's a stylish speaker to have in any room, and I can now see I may want a few more of them spread around the house.

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