Google’s diminutive Home Mini is a great starting point for a smarthome setup, and a cheap way to expand Google’s Assistant to every room. But the gadget has one flaw: it’s tethered to a wall outlet.
Kiwi Design fixes that flaw with the Google Home Mini Battery Base. It’s far from the only add-on battery for smarthome speakers, but at just $30 it’s one of the least expensive around, and it’s offered in three colors to match Google’s own hardware.
Add the base to your Home Mini and you’ve got a smart speaker and home assistant that can roam anywhere you have adequate Wi-Fi coverage—whether that’s out to the poolside or just into a room you don’t normally have a Mini parked.
Make It Mobile
The gadget is a simple one: basically, it’s just a portable battery pack with a silicone wrapper around it for snugly holding the Home Mini, and a little MicroUSB cable carefully set inside to provide the Home Mini electrical power. A second MicroUSB female port can take power from the Home Mini’s default charger, and a good thing too, since there’s no charger in the box. A manual power button, a set of four LED lights, and an easy grab strap round out the hardware.
Installing the base couldn’t be easier. Just plug the cable into the rear of the Home Mini, then slide it down into the silicone cup. The sides grip onto the Home Mini just above the fabric of the speaker grille, making the combined unit look like a softer, chunkier version of Google’s own design. Even the four LED battery lights match up with the lights on top of the speaker.
No Strings on Me
The battery pack gives the Home Mini about a day’s worth of cord-free use, with a couple of hours of music playback thrown in. Naturally, your battery life will vary based on how much you use it, but I can’t imagine it lasting for less than 12 hours of basic music playback or voice commands.
It’s an excellent addition, and being able to move the battery around your home will make you wonder why Google didn’t include a battery in the original design. Moving the Home Mini around for guests, or moving from the bedroom to the kitchen without having to re-connect to another device, is super handy.
A Couple of Downsides
The only bummer is that you have to manually turn on the battery. It doesn’t turn itself on when you remove the USB charging cable, like an uninterruptible power supply. That would have been an extremely welcome addition to the design since, as it is, you need to remember to hit the power button or wait about thirty seconds for the Home Mini to turn on and reconnect to Wi-Fi.
Since the Home Mini’s charger only supplies enough power to keep the speaker on and connected, it recharges the battery base slowly—it’ll take more than 8 hours to get it from empty to full.
A Cheap, Easy Upgrade
As an add-on to one or two Home Minis in your home, Kiwi Design’s battery base is a useful impulse purchase. At $80 combined retail, it doesn’t really make sense to buy them both with the intention of rolling your own portable Home Mini—for that you’d be better served by something like the JBL Link 10. But thirty bucks to upgrade your current Home Mini is easy to recommend.
Here’s What We Like
- Easy to use
- Lasts about a day
- Fits in with the Home Mini aesthetic
And What We Don't
- Doesn't turn on automatically
- Takes a while to recharge