The TicHome Mini is a acceptable newcomer in the world of smart speakers. It brings some accomplished appearance that currently aren’t accessible on other Google Home devices, such as IPX6 splash-resistance and a congenital battery. Pound-for-pound it’s the most feature-packed smart apostle I’ve tested.

At first glance Mobvoi’s TicHome Mini looks like a baby Roomba, or hardly less like a hockey puck than an Echo Dot. It’s also hardly larger than the Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, at over 4 inches in diameter. And it comes with an absorbed strap, giving it a leg up in accessibility — you can hang it on the wall or dangle it from a bike or backpack.

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I was afraid by the speaker’s sound. Earlier impressions I’d read led me to accept it would be tinny or defective lows. My acquaintance with it was affable – it sounds better than the modest 3W apostle should thanks to clever design. A 360 degrees speaker-grill on the bottom helps it fill a room, but it does lose a touch of depth if it’s not set on or adjoin a solid surface.

It picks up voice with no problem. In the week I used the TicHome mini I can’t bethink any instances of the accouterments not responding appropriately to the wake commands “Hey Google” and “OK Google.”

When it comes to functionality, I have only one gripe: the four LED lights centered on the top of the device aren’t easy to see from across the room. This means when I say “Hey Google,” I have to guess whether the apostle is alert or not. It’s not a huge deal, but because the device is advised to be carriageable it seems like an oversight.

If the TicHome Mini had a light ring or other easy to see indicator it would make it a better ‘normal’ smart speaker. The things it does best, however, aren’t normal at all.

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First off it’s portable, article pretty rare among smart speakers. Thanks to a 2600 mAh centralized battery, it has a six hour playback time on a charge. It’s worth three smart speakers to be able to carry it from room to room after having to wait for it to power up and affix every time I change locations.

And it’s IPX6 splash-resistant, which means you can take it in the shower, leave it by the pool, or forget it in the rain. It apparently won’t handle submersion – and we didn’t test to see if it would – but it’s one of the only smart speakers that’s good to go next to the Jacuzzi, and that’s pretty groovy.

The clever design lends itself to some other nifty tricks it can do that other speakers about don’t. An “action” button on the device can be long-pressed in lieu of saying “OK Google,” which is useful if you’ve got a couple of them nearby.

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It also has a button to mute the microphone, a affection I found myself using when I wanted to keep alert to music through the TicHome, but work with addition Google device.

Mobvoi didn’t just crank out a device to fling into the smart apostle market, it brought some new ideas to the table with the TicHome Mini. And in doing so it’s raised the bar for entries at a agnate price-point.

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