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ATCHAT Launch and Google Home Mini Review

I recently had the pleasure of attending the ATCHAT official launch party and it was an amazing experience with many different Assistive Technology (AT) users. My fiance, Martin and I, attended the initial focus group a few months back so we have been looking forward to this launch for a while. For those of you that are not aware of who ATCHAT are, they are a team of assistive technology users conversing on all things AT. This includes what's out there and how to use it. ATCHAT is working in collaboration with the Independent Living Centre WA and is run by AT users for AT users. You can find them on Facebook @atchatwithus.

Above: ATCHAT Launch, photo by Nancy Truong.

Every week the lovely folk at ATCHAT run a feature called Tech Tuesday. Their recent feature was on the new voice assistant Google Home. Anyone that knows me knows that I love my tech. I recently wrote about my adventures with the Max Mobility SmartDrive MX2+ (in my They see me rollin' blog). My SmartDrive helps me become more independent while out and about.

Above: ATCHAT Tech Tuesday, photo by Nancy Truong.

I also recently purchased the Google Home Mini. It's pretty much like Google's flagship voice assistant the Google Home only smaller. We were looking at buying the Google Home initially to help with some home automation in place but the $199 price tag was just outside our budget. I was pleased to learn about the Google Home Mini. The size isn't the only thing that's smaller. I love the smaller price! At $79 you just can't go wrong. Martin and I decided to look into this option a little further, as usually when a company releases a Mini version of something you really lose out on some of the key features. Not so in this case. The only real change is the speaker. The Google Home Mini doesn't have the same quality speaker due to it's cut down size and lacks the depth and bass that the Google Home has. The brain behind both units is the Google Assistant so there is no real functionality is lost. Google have said that any future updates will be applied to the Google Home and Home Mini so I decided to opt for the mini as I'm not too concerned with the speaker and music output as I already have a bluetooth party speaker and soundbar. So on launch day, October 24th, I sent the Mr on his way to pick up a Google Home Mini.

I can't wait for all of the new connected tech to help improve my independence! - Brooke

The out of the box setup was a breeze. I plugged the unit in and downloaded the app and before I knew it I was chatting with my new personal assistant! The great thing with the Google Home and Home Mini is that there's a whole array of smart tech that you can link into it and control everything with a few voice commands. Personally, I'm looking forward to connecting the smart lights and smart power switches. This will make life so much easier, as I'll be able to control my lights with just a few simple voice command as well as the ability to turn selected power switches on or off.

The Google Home Mini isn't just a personal assistant for turning lights on and off or asking it what the weather is going to be like. You can use it just like you would with the Google Assistant or Siri on your phone - ask it a question and it will give you the answer. It can set alarms and timers as well. Ever put something in a safe place only to forget where you put it? Well, tell Google and it'll remember where you put it. This is really good for me as I'm always putting things in safe places, so safe I can't find it!

The Australian version is missing some of the features that the American version has but from what I've been reading these features will be rolling out in the next few months. The two that I'm looking forward to the most are the ability to make phone calls through the mini as it will act as a hands-free speakerphone and the ability to control my Android Smart TV with my voice. No more losing the remote down the back of the sofa. Whoo hoo!!

I love my Google Home Mini. I can't wait for all of the new connected tech to help improve my independence!

Till next time,

Dream, Believe, Achieve

- Brooke

Full list of products supported by Google Home devices

https://support.google.com/googlehome/table/7401014?hl=en&ref_topic=7029100

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