Google Home Mini is exactly what I think most of us were hoping for in a smaller Google Home (check out our review here). But the more I consider it, there's one new Google Home feature that is going to make this little speaker indispensible to me: it can find my phone, even in silent mode.
Think about it. If a company were to market a device with the sole purpose of finding your phone just by touching a button, sitting permanently plugged into your wall, you'd probably be a little intrigued. How much would you pay for such a gadget? $30? $40? Probably not a full fifty bucks, but getting there. Maybe a product with such a narrowly-defined purpose would be hard to justify on its own, but if you add in everything else a Google Home Mini can do for that fifty dollars, I think it's an "instant buy" sort of product.
Here's how the find my phone feature works, by the way (it rings your phone through Google Play Services, so it will defeat any silent or DND setting, unless it's an iPhone).
And yes, I'm well aware this same feature can be utilized to the same effectiveness through the Find My Phone app or its web interface, and provide you additional information and options. But this is just so easy: I don't have to sign in to anything, I just ask this little fabric donut - which is always in the same place - to find my phone and it starts ringing basically instantly. That's pretty awesome. Not to mention, with multi-user, Home even knows who is asking to find their phone, so it'll be personalized for each member of your household.
Of course, it's also a speaker for media playback (you can even default to playback on another cast-enabled device in the Mini's settings), it can make phone calls (and soon take audio from them), answer basic questions, set alarms, timers, and reminders, and a host of other potentially useful stuff. For $50, the Home Mini really seems to be the perfect product for getting on the smart speaker bandwagon if you haven't already.