With Google officially unveiling the Nest Mini last week we got the opportunity to grab one of the early units and have been putting it through its paces. In our review of the improved mini it was evident that Google has made good on their promise of better sound, more base and an overall improved experience, if you’re intending on listening to audio the Nest Mini is the clear choice compared to the original Home Mini.
One of the sneaky little features that Google released was stereo pairing. Just like the Google Home Max speakers before them, you can pair two Nest Minis together as a stereo pair giving you separate left-right audio channels. Not only does this have the obvious benefit of giving you stereo sound for music that’s been mixed that way, it also increases the richness and depth of the sound.
In order to set up stereo pairing, you need two Nest Minis set up in the same “house” in the Google Home app. Once setup there will be a new option in the settings for the Nest Minis “speaker pair”. Tap on that and you’ll be guided through the setup process.
Once paired it appears in your list of devices as a single Assistant Speaker. Both of the Nest Mini’s can still be used for adjusting the volume, pausing the content and muting the microphones. It does, however, appear that only the “left” speaker will respond to “Ok Google”. We have tested from difference locations and volumes but it always seems for us at least that the left unit responded.
It’s not a huge deal but an option would have been nice in case your room layout would favour the right-hand side, again not a huge deal. As for the sound? It was unmistakably better. I’m not sure if Google is doing any sort of audio magic to get more out of the stereo pair but the sound was undeniably richer, had more bass and obviously got louder than just one Nest Mini on its own.
We found that the speakers did best about one metre apart, more than about two metres and they sounded like two different audio sources and less than a metre and you started to loose the stereo effect, but that is likely to be personal preference. We’re more than a little disappointed that this feature hasn’t rolled out to the original Google Home Mini or the Google Mini, both devices would undoubtedly get an overall improvement in audio performance if they too could be paired in a left right configuration. Perhaps there is a hardware element to this?
If you’re considering getting a Nest Mini and your budget won’t stretch to one of the better Assistant-powered speakers you can get, perhaps consider getting 2 and get that little bit more out of the pair?