After the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) was announced in late 2019, we were quick to sing its praises and name it as our top small smart speaker, but now that there is a new device from Amazon we must reevaluate and compare the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) vs. the Nest Mini. Which svelte speaker is going to take the crown in this showdown? Let's find out!
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) vs. Nest Mini: Spec showdown
It's a given that the Echo Dot will work better with Amazon's smart home products such as Ring, Blink, and Eero, and the Nest Mini will work better with products in the Nest ecosystem and that each only works with those company's respective voice assistants, so we'll gloss over that for now. Instead, let's examine how the actual devices compare, spec for spec, and feature for feature.
|Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)||Nest Mini|
|Weight||12 oz||6.1 oz|
|Size||3.9" x 3.9" x 3.5"||3.9" x 3.9" x 1.7"|
|Speakers||1 x 1.6"||1 x 1.58"|
3.5mm audio jack
|Smart home controls||Yes||Yes|
|Virtual asssistant||Alexa||Google Assistant|
|Pair multiple for stereo sound||Yes||Yes|
Echo Dot with Clock
Echo Dot Kids Edition
|Home security features||Yes
Alexa Guard/Guard+ integration
Nest Aware integration
|Finishes||Fabric - 3 colors
|Fabric — 4 colors
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) vs. Nest Mini (2nd Gen): Alexa comes 'round
The Echo Dot has long been the most popular Amazon smart speaker, if not the default smart speaker in most homes across the U.S. and worldwide. It has always been small enough to be unobtrusive while still providing passable audio and easy, hands-free controls for your smart home through Alexa. While the third-generation got a softer look and some interesting color variations (hello Plum), the Dot retained the familiar hockey puck form factor since its introduction way back in 2016.
In 2020, Amazon revamped and revitalized the look and feel of the entire Echo speaker lineup, from the "regular" Echo (4th Gen) and the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) all the way down to the Echo Dot lineup. Except for the screened Show devices, the Echo speakers all sport a fun new spherical design, while maintaining the physical buttons and iconic light ring that users have come to know and love. The Echo Dot is available in Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue (my favorite). Amazon also announced updates to the Echo series's other variants, the Echo Dot with Clock and Echo Dot Kids Edition.
In addition to a promised improvement in sound quality, the new Echos also come with some exciting features and capabilities, including Alexa voice profiles for kids mode that can recognize younger voice and tailor appropriate content and responses for them, and new Alexa Guard and Gaurd+ abilities. The Echo Dots can also work with Amazon's Care Hub initiative that promises to provide independence for elders and peace of mind to their caregivers and loved ones.
With the new Echo lineup, Amazon has followed Google's sustainability efforts when introducing the Nest Mini last year. 50% of the Echo Dot is made from post-consumer recycled plastics, and the new devices are also certified Climate Pledge Friendly.
The biggest downside to the Echo Dot (4th Gen) — aside from it not working with the Google Assistant — is that it doesn't have a built-in Zigbee hub like its larger siblings, the Echo (4th Gen), Echo Studio, Echo Plus, and Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen).
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) vs. Nest Mini (2nd Gen): Google/Nest starter kit
As beloved a form factor as the soft and colorful Nest Mini is, you could almost argue that it more closely resembles a dot shape than any of Amazon's Echo speakers do.
As we gushed in our review of the Nest Mini last fall, this device is the go-anywhere, place-anywhere smart speaker of the year (though Amazon's Echo Flex may have something to say about that). This little speaker is small enough that it won't take up much counter space, but it also comes with mounting holes and screws so you can hang it up on the wall if that better suits your needs or preferences.
Google was one of the first smart speaker manufacturers to introduce sustainable, recycled materials to its manufacturing process, and the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) was the device that brought this process to the world's attention. Along with a more environmentally-friendly construction, Google made the processor and speaker more powerful, so not only was it a better speaker than the previous generation, but it was also a smarter speaker.
We briefly mentioned above how the Echo Dot (4th Gen) can be used as a sort of security device with Alexa Guard, and over the past year, Google has added similar functionality to its Nest smart speakers. Nest Mini owners who also have a Nest Aware subscription will be able to set their devices to detect sounds like fire alarms and breaking glass, much like the Amazon Echos can.
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) vs. Nest Mini (2nd Gen): Which should you buy?
Last year the newer Nest Mini was our pick in this matchup, but this year the clear winner is the Echo Dot (4th Gen). Its new design and colors provide more of a statement piece to your personal space. Its more extensive smart home integrations and advanced Alexa modes also trump any comparable measures by Google/Nest. Plus, Amazon Echos can still plug into more streaming services than Nest can, which is particularly helpful if you're an Apple Music subscriber.
That being said, if you are heavily invested in the Nest ecosystem and prefer interacting with the Google Assistant, the Nest Mini is still a great choice, as are its complementary devices such as the Nest Hub Max and the new Nest Audio speaker.
Whichever mini smart speaker you go with, you're getting a lot of smarts for a small expense.
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Amazon's new Echo Dot is round, has a larger, more powerful speaker than the previous generation, and looks great.
Google Home Gateway
Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen)
A nice little Nest
There isn't much room in such a small device for large improvements, but somehow Nest pulled it off. 2 X better bass and more on-device smarts over the previous version make this a smart buy.
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