The Google Assistant is arguably the most powerful and the outright best digital assistant on the market — of course, we would say that! As part of our Google Home Essentials series, our express aim is to help you find an array of must-have kit for your Google-powered smart home.
As an entry or extension of the Google Assistant in your home, the Google Home Mini is arguably the best option to start with. That said, the tethered nature of the diminutive device means that the only real portable Google Home solution is right there on your mobile device.
Being able to take your smart speaker and place it literally anywhere in your home is huge. Not being reliant on cables or wall outlets makes the Kiwi Design Battery Base simply superb for those with children for instance.
If you wanted a dedicated portable Google Home Mini for trips and more, then this might be the best option unless you’re happy to opt for a Bluetooth speaker and pair with your device.
Design & Hardware
Let’s not sugarcoat this, the Kiwi Design Battery Case adds plenty of bulk to the normally slim and inconspicuous Google Home Mini. There are a few colors to choose from, all of which correspond nicely with the Mini colors.
The light stone grey color would arguably have worked better in white, but it most definitely isn’t bad looking. The Kiwi Base reminds me somewhat of Disney’s Big Hero 6, adding an inflated silicone base that has a lovely soft touch in the hand — it can be a dust magnet though if there is moisture around.
As this has a battery built-in — that measures in at a pretty big 7,800mAh — it’s bound to add some size. But I will say that it doesn’t look out of sorts or out of place when compared to similar Bluetooth speakers on the market.
It adds some serious heft to the entire Google Home Mini package — as it would with a battery that big. For carrying purposes there is a lanyard, which will make hanging the Home Mini up and around your house, apartment or hotel that much easier.
My personal opinion is that the Kiwi Battery Base is one of the better-looking options available on sites like Amazon and Best Buy. It fits more in with the entire Made by Google hardware lineup than many cheap and nasty alternatives but the Kiwi Design logo at front might put some people off.
Installation & Set up
The installation process is laughably easy. There is a short micro USB cable that hides underneath the Home Mini so that you can snugly place the little speaker inside the casing of the base.
If you’ve already set up your Google Home and are in the house or location you normally have it connected to Wi-Fi, then it’s as simple as powering on the base via the rear-mounted power button. Your Google Home Mini will go through the power-up process and now you have a portable Assistant-powered speaker.
What I really like about this add-on battery base is that it still allows you to link speaker groups as normal. That means that if you can take your smart speaker outside or even on vacation and create a linked series of party speakers with ease.
This approach of simply sticking a battery at the bottom of the Google Home Mini is simple yet oh so effective at making it feel like a first-party option, even when it’s not.
This is a tough one as in the week I’ve been using the Kiwi Design Battery Base, I have charged it a few times. When doing some gardening work I took the Home Mini outside and it managed around 7 hours of YouTube Music playback at full volume before I stopped and noticed one LED was lit — meaning it still had some more life to give.
The 7,800mAh battery would easily last a day with no problem. According to the marketing material, the claim is that it can manage 12 hours of continuous audio playback on a single charge.
I haven’t quite worked out what each of the battery indicator lights means as it’s always difficult to work out what one fully lit LED equates to in terms of real-time usage.
Charging does take some time thanks to the big battery. In my experience, to go from dead to full would take around 9 hours. That’s slightly longer than the 8 that is claimed by Kiwi, but not a massive problem in my experience at least.
Like the Home Mini, the Kiwi Battery Base charges using micro USB, so no issues with needing a new cable. Although with that said, it does mean slightly lower charge speeds with this older cable tech.
For most people, the Kiwi Design Battery Base will be an oddity that simply doesn’t make much sense when you can simply buy a Bluetooth speaker. For those of us that are big-time Google Smart Home investors, it’s genuinely a superb product if you want to turn your Google Home Mini portable.
The only real issue is the cost. Priced at $29.99, the Kiwi Battery Base is not far off the full price of a new Google Home Mini. It does open up a new wealth of portability for proper Google hardware that isn’t possible without adding third-party accessories.
For me, the portability aspect is great, but you could argue that this is possible with a simple power bank. That said, a power bank isn’t as elegant or neat in practice. For anyone that travels a lot or wants to daisy-chain a few Google Home Mini speakers together on a vacation, the Kiwi Design Battery Base is a really neat solution.
The only other options that offer something really similar are the JBL Link line of Bluetooth speakers. The JBL Link 10, Link 20, Link 300 and Link 500 include the Google Assistant and will have arguably better audio than the Google Home Mini, but do so in a much larger and more expensive package.
Although this is unlike many of the Google Home Essentials, it offers something that is simply not available right out of the box. For that reason, if you want to untether your Google Home Mini, then the Kiwi Design Battery Base is most definitely a Google Home Essential addition.