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This smart doorbell does it all. It can be wired-in or set-up to work wirelessly, it’ll see in the dark and will work wells in most spots thanks to its fisheye lens that gives it a 180-degree field of view.


The sharp, square resolution (1,536 x 1,536) combined with a wide field of view produces a great picture. It’s good enough to help you spot packages left on the ground and identify who’s at the door. Plus, there’s a 12x digital zoom if you really need to see the whites of their eyes. The two-way sound is surprisingly clear and bright for such a diminutive device.

The Arlo’s design is smart, and set-up and installation is a breeze. Ideally you should position it to the side of your door but it’s slim enough to stick to your doorframe if needs be. Wiring it in might be a tricky job, however, as the doorbell’s narrow footprint might make it fiddly to get the wires to where you need them.

There are some powerful features to play with. The Arlo will record any movement it picks up on its motion-detection system even if whoever it is that’s doing the moving hasn’t rung the doorbell (hello, postie). It’ll also spot if someone’s left a package without ringing and send you a notification, but these features are locked behind a £3.49-a-month subscription.

All in all, it’s a great bit of tech that will leave you unlikely to ever go back to a “dumb” doorbell again.

Setup & design

Out of the box the Arlo doorbell has a minimal, glossy design that made my front door look decidedly old-fashioned. If you decide to go wireless with it, it’ll take about 20 minutes to set up – you just need good Wi-Fi that reaches your front door, a drill and a Philips screwdriver.

As ever, there’s a bit of faff getting set up with an account on the app, but it’s simple enough and it’s easy to add other people’s phones to the system.

Fully charged, the battery is said to last six months. When you need to recharge it, the whole device detaches from its mount with the help of a release pin, though a safety pin would do the trick. This makes it super simple to remove the bell from the door, take out the battery and remount it when the bell’s recharged. There’s no special key required (that you’ll need to store safely and not lose for the six months between recharges).

After installation, it struck me that it’d be easy to rip the Arlo off the doorframe if you really wanted to, but that’s probably true of any smart doorbell you don’t wire in.

Does it doorbell?

Yes! For such a simple device there are lots of ways a smart doorbell can go wrong. Blurry picture quality, slow response time and speakers that make you sound like a demonic leprechaun are all pitfalls of earlier models.

Mercifully, the Arlo Essential Wireless Doorbell spares you from all of these. It’s got a great lens and camera that captures most of what’s in front of your door clearly. Plus, it’s field of view is forgiving enough that, if you can’t follow the guidelines for positioning to the letter, it shouldn’t matter. Someone presses the big clear button and within a couple of seconds I get a call on my phone and… well, you can guess the rest from there.

Its night vision capability is spooky but useful for those long winter nights. And I particularly like the fish-eye lens paired with a square resolution – it means you get everything in shot, particularly packages that are left on the ground.

The sound quality is strikingly impressive. In some recordings I can hear the starlings singing outside and when someone actually rings the doorbell, we can have a pretty natural conversation. There’s some delay, which means you can find you and your visitor speaking over each other at times, but this is the fastest responding device I’ve tested.


Without a subscription, the doorbell essentially works as a way to call your phone from your door. Plus, you’ll also get notifications if there’s movement near your doorbell and if you see the notification in time, you can access a live view from the camera to see who’s there.

As with most smart doorbells, extra smart features are accessed via subscription (that you get a free three-month trial for), which costs £3.49 a month.

The most tempting reason to subscribe is the recording feature. When the doorbell’s motion detector sees someone near your door, it’ll record footage of them until they leave its field of view. If you’re buying the doorbell for a touch of added security, this feature is essential, so it’s a bit of a shame it’s paywalled.

So far, it’s mostly recorded me coming and going, but you can set up its camera to arm and disarm when you come and go. This feature works by geofencing your property and detecting when your phone is in or out of proximity in order to switch this feature on and off.

Equally, if you don’t want a notification every time someone innocently comes up to your door – such as your postie – you can customise what the security camera messages you about. This might be useful for those who live on busy streets, close to the road. You can, for example, set it up so that that it only notifies you if someone leaves a parcel in its view – pretty smart.

All these recordings are sent to Arlo’s cloud, which does make you wonder whether there could have been a basic recording setting that could be stored locally on the device or your phone.

Also, there’s an answer phone-type message if you don’t respond when the doorbell is rung: “to leave a message, please press the doorbell again”, which is handy if your couriers have a habit of slinging packages over your fence (like the ones who deliver to me do).

There’s plenty of automation features at hand too. You can potentially pair the Arlo with a speaker in the home (if you absolutely love a good door chime) or twin it with a porch light.

The interface is clean, intuitive and simple. Answering the doorbell is just like answering a phone call.

If someone’s at your door but hasn’t pressed the bell, you’ll get a notification. Press it and you’ll be quickly shown to the app where you can watch the doorbell’s live stream. If you’re a subscriber you’ll be shown some recorded footage of what’s going on, which will be stored and sorted on to a calendar in case you need to go Sherlock on someone’s ass.

Extra smart features could do with a bit more hand-holding: I had to visit Arlo’s site to make sense of the geofencing feature and why I’d want it.

The doorbell works with Google and Alexa if you’ve got smart home systems already set up, but you’ll need the Arlo SmartHub to get it to play nice with Apple’s homekit system.

All things considered this is a very user-friendly experience for anyone fearful of overcomplicated tech.

Fingers-on-buzzers, what’s it like to use?

Two things happen when you set up the Arlo. First, it bombards you with video footage of you setting up the camera. This isn’t a problem, but it will make you wonder if there’s a more flattering camera out there. By the time you realise this is a stupid thought to entertain, someone else will have actually arrived to use your doorbell and the cam is so clear and crisp, it’s initially a little creepy. You almost feel like you’re spying on someone.

Aside from those two early hurdles, the Arlo has been brilliant. It’s never more complicated than someone pressing the bell, my phone ringing and then me telling whoever’s at the door that I’ll be there in a minute. Sure, you can say this about most smart doorbells but not all of them manage it as quickly and as hassle-free. For me, this has been huge, as getting rid of the door chime means that the dog stays calm and I can get her out of the way, if needed.

The only problem I’ve had so far is that one particularly trigger-happy courier double pressed the doorbell, which fired off two calls. I answered the first but then quickly had to get the second. It took me a hot minute to figure out what was going on, by which time the courier had slung the box at the door and moved on.


The Arlo doorbell has everything. The only downside is that to get everything you need to pay a little more.

I love the picture and sound quality it offers, and the simple no-nonsense way the software works. If you just need a doorbell that rings your phone, then this is one of the best out there. If you want to use it to provide your home with a little extra security, then just bear in mind you’ll be factoring an extra £3.49 a month, which, as far subscriptions go for this kind of tech, is middle of the road.

If you do subscribe, the smart features are industry-leading, and will marry up well with Arlo’s other security cam products and any other smart home tech you might want to link up.

Overall, the Arlo doorbell is smart home tech at its best: it makes life easier, not more complicated. It’s the perfect gateway-drug to home automation. So, if you want a better way to deal with couriers and posties, while adding a little extra security to your home, look no further.

Additional Arlo devices Arlo Go 2 outdoor camera

If you want to stick to being wireless and would like to add some more security to your home then Arlo’s outdoor security cam might be an option. You’ll need to get a data plan and a SIM card to go with it, but it’s a useful option if you need a little versatility. This is the sort of camera that would be useful for watching a garage full of expensive bikes, or a side alley that accesses your home. It has all of Arlo’s smart features mentioned above plus a spotlight, in case you need to get a clearer picture at night.

Arlo Add-on Smart Hub

If you get the smart home bug then you’ll need to pick up a Smart Hub to create a true security system. It’ll provide local storage for your footage, and hook your cameras up to each other to create your own security perimeter.

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Arlo Essential Indoor Camera Review: Privacy

Best Prices Today: Arlo Essential Indoor Camera




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The Arlo Essential Indoor camera is the latest smart security camera in the Arlo family, offering a budget-focused approach to smart home security with the signature Arlo flair. It’s unquestionably a well-built smart security camera in a portable form factor and a handy privacy shield, but with key features locked behind an additional paywall and an expensive price tag compared to similarly specced competition, it’s a bit of a hard sell. 

Is the Arlo Essential Indoor camera worth $99/£119? Carry on reading to find out. 

Design and build

The Arlo Essential follows the same design language as other cameras in the Arlo collection, sporting a similar rounded shape and a classic glossy white plastic body.

On the front you’ll find the camera sensor, capable of recording 1080p footage with a 130-degree field of view, an indicator LED and a mic, while the rear houses the micro-USB socket required for power and a speaker for two-way talk. 

One of the main talking points of the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera is the inclusion of a privacy shutter, which covers the camera when not in use, as well as deactivating motion control and audio capture too. The contrasting white cover on the black front plate makes it easy to tell if it’s covered at a glance, and it’s easily activated via the Arlo app – but more on that later. 

The dinky-looking Arlo Essential is one of the more compact indoor cameras on the market, measuring in at 52 x 49 x 113mm, but it can’t quite beat the Ring Indoor Cam and its dinky dimensions. Still, if you’re on the lookout for a small camera that’ll blend into your home, the Arlo Essential Indoor Camera should do the job. 

Like the Ring Indoor Cam and other smart cameras, the Arlo Essential utilises a ball and socket joint on a stand connected to a circular base plate. The joint allows you to angle the camera with ease, while the circular base plate can be used to stand the camera on a shelf.

There is a mounting kit in the box if you want to secure the camera higher up, but with the relatively short 2m cable required to power the unit, you don’t get the same freedom that you would from a battery-powered camera. 

Features and performance

Setup is a fairly simple process, requiring no more than downloading the Arlo app from the App Store or Google Play and following the on-screen instructions to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network. While some smart cameras are quite complex (and at times frustrating) to connect, the Arlo Essential Indoor was connected and streaming video within a few minutes of being taken out of the box.  

Once the camera has been set up, you can simply leave it to do its thing; it’ll automatically start monitoring for motion, and you’ll get an alert on your smartphone once movement is detected. 

With that in mind, you’ll be greeted by a home menu listing all currently installed cameras complete with a thumbnail previewing the last captured option event. Tapping on the camera provides direct access to the live feed with the ability to communicate with those nearby using two-way talk, along with access to motion events and a Settings menu to tweak camera preferences.

There’s also a Library tab that’ll let you view footage from multiple cameras in chronological order, and there’s also a Mode tab that’ll let you customise how and when the system operates. 

Captured events offer a great snapshot, thanks to the 1080p capture and 130-degree field of view, though it’s not quite as expansive as competing cameras that can offer up to 160 degrees. 

Generally speaking, the quality of video captured (and streamed in real-time from the app) is great both during the day and night, even retaining some of that quality when digitally zooming, though it’s worth noting that night vision is limited to black and white capture. It can’t compete with more expensive options in the Arlo family, with the Arlo Pro 3 shooting in 2K and the Arlo Ultra going all the way up to 4K, but it should suffice for simple home monitoring. 

While it’s frustrating that some features are locked behind a paywall, rather than simply offering cloud storage, but the £2.49/$2.49 a month subscription is more palatable than most, and you get a three-month free trial too. 

What about when you don’t want the Arlo Essential Indoor to capture motion? That’s where the privacy shield comes into play. It’s activated via the Arlo app whenever you ‘disarm’ the system, and it’ll retract once the system is armed. There’s also a geofencing feature that’ll automatically arm and disarm the system based on your location which should make things feel more seamless. 

There is a catch though; if you’ve got multiple Arlo products on the app, you’ll have to disarm everything to enable the privacy shield. With this in mind, a physical switch on the camera itself would’ve been helpful, allowing you to quickly disable the indoor camera without, for example, disarming an outdoor camera monitoring your garden. 

You can set custom scenes via the Modes menu that’ll allow you to disable the indoor cam while keeping other products active, but it is a bit of a headache for existing Arlo users. 


Take the Ring Indoor Cam for example; it costs half the price at £49.99/$49.99, it offers a wider 140-degree FOV and colour night vision, plus none of the smart features (aside from cloud storage) are locked behind a monthly subscription.

If the privacy shield is enough to tempt you, you can buy the Arlo Essential Indoor from retailers including Arlo and Amazon in the UK and Amazon in the US. 


There’s also a privacy shield that’ll disable monitoring as well as audio capture when you’re at home, giving you peace of mind, though enabling it will disable any other Arlo products by default.

best security camera chart. 

Specs Arlo Essential Indoor Camera: Specs

2Mp sensor

1080p@30fps video recording with 130-degree FOV

Night vision (B&W)

Motion detection with optional AI object recognition

Wired w/ 2m microUSB cable

Single microphone


1x LED light

12x digital zoom

Wall/ceiling mount included

This New Arlo Video Doorbell Is Battery Powered For Easier Installs

This new Arlo video doorbell is battery powered for easier installs

Arlo has launched a new video doorbell, and this time it’s going completely wire-free for those who don’t want to run cabling to their front door. The Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell keeps the 180-degree lens and HD resolution camera of its wired counterpart, but pairs it with a battery for much easier – or even temporary – installation.

It’s the latest in Arlo’s Essential series of products, which cut down on some of the frustrations of previous installations. The Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera launchd in June, for example, had the wireless, battery-powered connectivity of its siblings, but did away with the need for a dedicated bridge.

The Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell doesn’t need the Arlo bridge either, connecting directly to your router via WiFi. The rechargeable battery is rated to last for three to six months, depending on use; or, if you’d rather, you can hard-wire it to power. For that, you’ll need new or existing powered doorbell wiring between 8-24V AC.

The housing is weather resistant, and there’s an angle mount so that you can line up the camera for the best angle. The picture itself is 1:1 aspect ratio, which Arlo says makes it easier to see not only parcels on the front step but the faces of taller or closer visitors. There’s also night vision, and HDR to help balance lighter and darker areas of the frame.

Two-way audio is supported, and the camera calls your phone directly with a video call to avoid latency or delays in connecting after someone has pressed the button. You can also respond with a prerecorded message, or visitors can leave voice messages – like voicemail, but for your front door – if you’re not able to answer.

Arlo’s software supports motion alerts, while Arlo Smart – the company’s subscription-based cloud package – adds in the ability to get different notifications based on whether it’s a person, vehicle, animal, or package in the frame. It also adds 30 day rolling cloud recordings of the video itself.

The doorbell can be switched to silent mode, disabling all notifications when you simply can’t be distracted from a Netflix marathon, and there’s an integrated siren which can be triggered automatically or manually. Come Q1 2023, Arlo says, it’ll have a new Arlo Chime; that will connect directly to WiFi, and link with the Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell to offer a range of different tones and melodies in the house, for those who don’t have a phone with the app installed and logged in.

Arlo’s new video doorbell goes up for preorder today, priced at $199.99. The company says it’ll be shipping in time for the holidays, complete with a three month trial of Arlo Smart. After that, the optional cloud subscription is priced from $2.99/mo for a single camera, or from $9.99/mo for up to five cameras.

Home Automation In 48 Hours Without Coding

In this course, We will help you explore Internet of things, using Raspberry Pi and Cayenne. Have you ever wanted to build great IoT projects without writing a single line of code?  Yes! That’s absolutely possible with Cayenne. Cayenne is the world’s first drag-and-drop project builder developed to quickly design, prototype and commercialize IoT solutions.

Cayenne provides a digital dashboard to control and monitor your project from anywhere. You can Quickly connect to the Internet and hook up sensors, actuators, and extensions in minutes.

In this course, you will learn to interface sensors and actuators with the cayenne web application after which we will build the Home Automation project. You will learn to control the different home appliances using the cayenne web application or with the mobile app. Whether it is a television, a lamp, a fan or even an AC motor, each one of these can be turned ON or OFF with the help of a smartphone from anywhere in the world.

Next, you will also learn to use a digital motion sensor and deploy it for a security alert while you are away from your home. You will get notified by an email as well as a text message if something goes wrong.

You will also learn how to read analog sensors using Raspberry Pi without writing lines and lines of code to convert analog signals to digital signals using ADC ICs. You just need to design the circuit, and the system will be smart enough to establish an connection with the circuit.

Lastly, you will learn to save energy by building an automatic garden lighting system. A simple light switch is the traditional way to operate garden lights. However, it is sometimes easy to forget to switch the lights on or off. With a simple switch, you also have to bear in mind that darkness falls at different times throughout the year. So, the idea is to turn on the lights only when it is dark. This can save energy and eliminate manual effort. A light sensor can switch on outdoor lights when the light intensity drops below a certain threshold level. When the sky clears up, the sensor will turn off the lights.

All the projects will be discussed step by step and with real-time demonstration of the output.

If you face any technical issue during the development process, please post your query in the TutorialsPoint Questions Section. We will get back to you within 48 business hours.

Who this course is for:

Anyone who wants explore Internet of Things (IoT) and and automate day to day activities

Anyone who don’t wish to write any code and build the complete project using visual editor


Learn to control four different AC appliances remotely using Cayenne app without writing a single line of code

Eliminate the manual effort and save energy by automating the garden lights

Build your own security alert system and get notified via email and SMS upon intrusion

Read analog sensors and visualize the data in a web dashboard using Cayenne without writing any code


Basics of Raspberry Pi

Basic knowledge of electronic circuits

Hp Ink Tank Wireless 419 Review: An Affordable Ink Tank Printer For Home/Office

HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 Specifications

In the table below, you can find all the important specifications that you need to know about the printer. These specifications will help you determine if the printer will suffice your needs or not. For most home and office users, the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 will be enough, however, it is still good to check the specifications before buying anything. If you want a detailed list of all its specifications, you can get it on HP’s official website.

NameHP Ink Tank Wireless 419

Dimensions525 x 310 x 158 mm

Weight4.67 kg

Print TechnologyHP Thermal Inkjet

FunctionsPrint, Scan, and Copy

Max Input Sheets60

Printing Resolution4800 x 1200 optimized dpi color

ConnectivityUSB, WiFi, HP ePrint

Scan SpeedUp to 21 Seconds

Scan Resolution1200 x 1200 dpi

Print SpeedBlack & white – 14s / Color – 18s

CompatibilityWindows and macOS


Recommended Monthly Usage400 to 800 pages

Ink Tank LifeUp to 8,000 color or 15,000 black pages

Warranty1 Year Limited Warranty

Design and Build Quality

The HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 is a compact printer which will not take much space on your desk. It features a retractable paper input panel along with foldable paper output panel. I love the printers that have the paper intake at the top-back as it just makes life so much easier and the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 brings the same system. Since the paper intake system can be closed, it also prevents the printer from eating dust when not in use.

When it comes to the design, the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 looks like all the other printers with some differences. The front of the printer houses the paper output tray while the top houses all the controls. Along with the controls, There’s a small LCD panel where you can see the printing status. The right side of the printer hosts the ink tank where the tanks themselves are made of transparent plastic allowing you to easily see the ink level.

There is nothing on the left side of the printer as both the power and the wired connector are at the back. Overall, I am quite happy with the build quality of the printer. Not only it is compact, but it is also very light coming at just 4.67 Kg. You can move around this printer quite easily if you don’t have set a permanent place for the printer.

Connection and Compatibility

Connecting the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 to your computer using a wire is pretty easy. Just use the USB connector that comes in the box and connect the printer to your computer. It literally took just a few seconds for the printer to show up on my computer and I was able to print documents instantaneously. That is how easy the wired connection is.

If you want to use the printer with multiple devices, you can use wireless internet connectivity. I love the wireless connectivity on a printer as it allows me to keep the printer away from my work desk and still be able to print documents. The wireless set up will take a few minutes as you will have to first make the printer available on your WiFi and then connect your devices. While it takes a few minutes, the setup process itself is pretty easy.

Printing and Performance

We tested the printing and performance of the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 by printing dozens of documents and pictures. We used documents with difficult fonts along with scanned documents, IDs, emails, and more. After printing dozens of documents and pictures, I am happy to report that the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 brings exceptional print quality. The ink on the print is precise and never smudges. The paper remains pristine and doesn’t show any ink overflow on the edges.

As far as pictures are concerned, we used the normal A4 size paper as we didn’t have the glossy photo paper at hand. However, seeing the details in the A4 sheets, I am assuming that that using photo paper will result in quality printed photographs. The print speed is fairly good with the printer churning out 15-18 prints when only using black ink and 12-14 prints when using color prints. Note that these figures are for text documents only and if you are going to print documents filled with images or images only, your print rate will vary.

Scanning and Copying

When it comes to scanning documents, the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 is nothing exceptional. It takes the usual 10-20 seconds to scan a document which is normal for a printer in this price range. Copying is a bit faster and the printer supports multiple copies. Overall, I would say that the printer’s scanning ability is nothing out of the ordinary but at the same time, it is not terrible either.

HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 vs Competition

The HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 is not beating the competition by a clear margin. So, even though it is a really good printer, it is not the only one. That will make your choice a little bit difficult. The bottom line is that you will be happy if you buy the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 as there was not one thing that turned me off while using this printer. That being said, if there is something that you didn’t like about this printer, you don’t have to settle as there are options on the market.

Wired and wireless connectivity options

Excellent iOS and Android apps for mobile printing

Good print quality

Compact and light

Ink Tank Support


Not a fan of the blue plastic top

SEE ALSO: HP Omen 15 Review: Thin, Light, and Extremely Powerful

HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 Review: A Good Budget Ink Tank Printer

I used the HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 for a couple of days and printed dozens of pages using text documents, scanned documents, and images. In my testing, I found the print quality to be exceptional. The build quality of the printer is also quite good. Overall, I didn’t find any reason that should make anyone not buy this printer.

Buy HP Ink Tank Wireless 419 from Amazon: ₹13,895

Google Home Mini Review: Affordability Comes At A Cost

Google Home Mini Review: Affordability comes at a cost

The Google Home Mini’s existence is hardly a mystery: the squat little smart speaker is Google’s retort to the Amazon Echo Dot. Packaging the virtues of the Google Assistant into a smaller, cheaper form factor than the existing Google Home, it’s a $49 way to add the search company’s smarts – and IoT support – to another room. Question is, has some of the magic been squeezed out in the process?

Whether the Google Home Mini resembles a UFO, a deliciously-filled donut, or some sort of bathroom sponge depends on the eye of the beholder. Needless to say, it’s smaller and cuter than the original Google Home, which I still think looks like an air freshener. It’s 3.86-inches in diameter and stands just 1.65-inches tall on its grippy little rubbery foot.

Google is offering a variety of colors for the fabric-wrapped top surface: chalk white, charcoal gray, or this pinky coral. Unlike the full-sized Google Home, the cover on the Google Home Mini isn’t interchangeable. Under the top there’s a row of four multi-color LEDs: most of the time they’re glowing or pulsing white, as Google listens and processes your commands, though they can be hard to see unless you’re up-close.

For a few useful days, the top surface of the Google Home Mini was touch-sensitive. Pressing the center would skip the “Ok Google” trigger word; tapping it would pause or resume the currently playing music. Unfortunately Google discovered that a defect in the sensor meant the Google Home Mini was recording 24/7, and so it’s permanently deactivating it.

You still get touch-volume controls on the left and right edges, while there’s a physical microphone mute switch on the back. Flip it, and the four LEDs turn orange to show Google can’t hear you. Oddly, you can also turn off the microphones with a voice command; to undo that, you’ll need to physically throw the mute switch to on and then off again.

It’s alongside a microUSB port for power, an oddly backward choice given Google’s move in general to USB Type-C. What you don’t get – and which Amazon’s Echo Dot has – is a 3.5mm audio output jack. That means, if you want to connect to a larger speaker, you’ll need to use its Bluetooth. Problem is, that’s not as straightforward as it sounds.

Where you can use the Echo Dot’s Bluetooth to pair with any regular Bluetooth speaker that supports the A2DP profile, the Home Mini relies on the Google Cast protocol. A few speakers and TVs have that built-in – I was able to get it working with a Vizio TV, for instance – while others can be upgraded with a Google Cast for Audio dongle, but that will set you back another $35. Assuming you’ve gone the Google Cast route there are benefits over regular Bluetooth, like more granular control over which speakers are used from the Chromecast app or by voice control, but I question whether that’s the same audience that will be considering the Google Home Mini.

It’s a shame, too, because the Home Mini’s own 40mm driver isn’t going to give audiophiles any sort of pleasure. Voice prompts and replies sound great, and Google’s promise of 360 sound is accurate – as is the recognition quality from its two microphones – in that it doesn’t really matter where you are in the room when you’re conversing with the Assistant, but music falls flat. The high end lacks clarity, bass is unsurprisingly absent, and it’s generally not much better than cranking your phone volume to max and expecting it to power a party.

Of course, you can do all the other Assistant things the original Google Home offered too, including the progressive feature updates we’ve seen rolled out in the months since it launched. If you’ve got connected lights, a smart thermostat, or other IoT devices, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be able to control them by voice through the Google Home Mini. Google is working on a “Routines” feature that will basically work like smart home macros: you’ll be able to change your lights, adjust the thermostat, and turn on your Chromecast all with a single command.

The Google Home Mini also supports free phone calls, to the US, Canada, and Mexico. Using voice match voice-recognition, it can differentiate between up to five people: so, if you say “Ok Google, call Dad” it’ll know to use the number from your contacts list, not those of someone else in the house. That – and indeed calling – used to be something Google offered while Amazon didn’t, but that has since changed. Unfortunately, actual voice quality isn’t great: I could hear things, but the person I’d called complained I was too quiet unless I was right next to the Google Home Mini.

Google of course has the breadth of its “knowledge graph” to answer your questions, but I wish it had spent similar time making sure the Google Home Mini worked well with all types of user accounts. If you have a regular, free Google account you’ll be fine. Those with G Suite or work accounts, however, are still out of luck. Since that’s where my calendar resides, I couldn’t use the Home Mini to read out my schedule.

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