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I'm considering buying a Google Home Mini, but it's unclear to me if it can actually do things that my smartphone can't do?

I currently only have one "smart" light bulb, and I figure I'd mostly use a Google Home Mini to set my morning alarm, get news and basic things like that. But with time it would be nice to be able to turn on lights and other things by voice command. I can't really see that I would play music on such a device, so sound quality is not an issue.

So my question is - could I just as well use an Android phone to do the same things as a Google Home Mini? I use on as my regular phone, and I also have an old one laying around that could be plugged in and basically only used for this purpose.

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If the phone is new enough to run a version of Android with full Google Assistant then it should work for most things.

The main points that differ will be:

  • The microphone on the phone won't be nearly as good as the microphone array in the dedicated Google Home device. So voice recognition across the room will likely be not as good.
  • You won't be able to set up things in rooms, e.g. Say "OK Google, turn on the light" and have it know that a particular bulb is grouped with a particular Home device rather than saying, "OK Google, turn on the bedroom light"
  • You can't add the phone to a speaker groups (you can add Chromecasts to speaker groups) to allow for multi room audio.

Sounds quality from a Google Home mini isn't bad (definitely way better than a phone speaker)

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