Google Home Mini is, as the name suggests, a smaller version of the Google Home intended to serve as a rival to the Amazon Echo Dot. It's a compact smart speaker packed with the full power of Google Assistant, but small enough to fit almost anywhere in the home. (Also read our Google Home Mini review.)

The Mini features less audio muscle-power than the full Home, but all the Google Assistant features we know and love, including recent additions such as Bluetooth audio, and support for multiple user accounts and Spotify Free.

Sadly, one of its key features has just been removed ahead of release: the ability to wake the Google Assistant by touching the top of the device. 

This is due to a malfunction with the sensor which has - in a small number of devices - led the Google Assistant to wake and start listening in on conversations when it was not supposed to.

Google has permanently removed the feature, it told Wareable: “We take user privacy and product quality concerns very seriously. Although we only received a few reports of this issue, we want people to have complete peace of mind while using Google Home Mini.

“We have made the decision to permanently remove all top touch functionality on the Google Home Mini. As before, the best way to control and activate Google Home Mini is through voice, by saying ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Hey Google,’ which is already how most people engage with our Google Home products. You can still adjust the volume by using the touch control on the side of the device.”

Also see: Best Google Home: Google Home vs Mini vs Max vs Hub and Google Home Mini 2 rumours

When is the Google Home Mini release date?

The Google Home Mini went on sale in the UK and US from 19 October, and you can order it from the Google Store now.

Google announced the mini version of its Google Home speaker at its special event on 4 October 2017, alongside the larger Google Home Max, new Pixel 2 phones, the Pixelbook, and the Daydream View VR headset.

Read our Google Home Mini hands-on review.

How much does the Google Home Mini cost in the UK?

The Google Home Mini costs £49 in the UK and $49 in the US. Conveniently, that's the exact same price as Amazon's Echo Dot, reinforcing the Home Mini's positioning as a direct rival to the Dot.

It's even cheaper for Black Friday, enjoying a UK price cut down to just £34, undercutting the Echo Dot by 99p.

You can order Home Mini from the Google Store, but it is also sold by other retailers, including Currys, Argos, John Lewis, EE, Carphone Warehouse, and Very in the UK.

There is a way to get it for free though. Buy a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL and you'll receive a free Google Home Mini.

(Also see: Is Google planning an Echo Show rival?)

What are the Google Home Mini's features?

The Google Home Mini is a powered box (rather than wireless), and will have integrated Google Assistant, just like the core Google Home, including recent features like Voice Match and hands-free calling, which is coming to the UK later in 2017.

That's about where the similarities end though, because the Mini has a very different design. Instead of just shrinking the Home down, Google has created a whole new design: a round disc, with no corners or edges, with the top half coated in a custom fabric mesh.

The fabric cover was intended to be touch-sensitive, but as we've explained above that has now been removed. But you can still change the volume using the touch control on the side of the device. There are also four LEDs, which light up to indicate when the Assistant is listening to or answering a query.

In terms of audio, the Home Mini offers 360-degree sound, though it's unlikely to rival the regular Home - or any decent speaker you have at home. Still, you can wirelessly link it to any Chromecast-enabled speaker to make the most of the best sound system you have around.

The Home Mini is available in three colours: Chalk, Charcoal and Coral.