Google Smart Light Starter Kit with Google Assistant Review

Google Smart Light Starter Kit with Google Assistant Review
9.3 Total Score

$55.00

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  • Easy setup
  • Google Home Mini tends to understand voice commands slightly better than Alexa

Pricing

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Setup

The setup process was very easy.

  1. Install the smart bulb and plug in the Google Home Mini in the same room. Since the bulb is Bluetooth-based, it will only work a short distance from the Google Home Mini.
  2. Download the Google Home app to your iPhone, iPad  or Android device. Upon opening the app, I saw a banner asking me to “Setup 1 Device”.
  3. The app walked me through setting up the Google Home Mini first.
  4. The app then automatically asked me if I wanted to setup the bulb.  It quickly found the bulb and added it to my Google Home profile.

Performance

I have a mix of both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home at my house and I find that the Google Home is a little better at understanding my voice commands and a little quicker at responding.

I was pleasantly surprised at the sound performance of the Home Mini’s speaker.  It’s definitely better than the Amazon Echo (2nd generation) with decent minds and highs and a tiny bit of bass.  Listening to Pandora was definitely doable and sounded a lot better than my iPhone’s built-in speakers.

The Google Home Mini also is fast to control the included GE smart bulb, responding almost instantly to commands to turn the bulb on and off and also to adjust the brightness.  However, the bulb connects via Bluetooth, which limits its range compared to other wireless connections such as WiFi, Zwave and Zigbee.  Therefore, the Google Home Mini and the GE smart bulb should be located in the same room (or the next room over) to avoid communications issues.

Features

The GE smart bulb does what most smart bulbs do: turns on and off and dims from 0% to 100%.  Unfortunately, the bulb only outputs a “daylight” color temperature only and cannot change to a warmer (or colder) white color.  It is also not a multi-color bulb, so you can’t change it to “red,” for example.

The Google Home Mini can do a lot more than control this one bulb.  It can give you the weather, check your calendar, control other smart home products (like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings), play Pandora and much more.

Unfortunately, the bulb included with this kit will not work with an Amazon Echo and it requires a separate hub to work with Alexa.

Value

Whether you’re just getting started with a smart home or you’re converting from Alexa to Google Home (or maybe maintaining both?), this starter pack is a quick and easy way to jump into home automation.  The setup process is very easy thanks to the Google Home app’s awareness of the Google Home Mini and smart bulb combo and the app easily walks you through the process of getting both up and running.

9.3 Total Score
Great

This kit is an easy way to get started with building a smart home if you plan to stay in the Google Home ecosystem (please note that the included bulb does not work with Alexa without a separate purchase). The setup process is very easy and the Google Home app walks you through setting up both the Home Mini and the smart bulb.

Setup
9.7
Performance
9
Features
9
Value
9.5
PROS
  • Easy setup
  • Google Home Mini tends to understand voice commands slightly better than Alexa
CONS
  • Does not work with Amazon Alexa out of the box
  • Bulb and Google Home Mini must be located close to one another

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