Technology

I made my portable smart speaker – and now it’s perfect for the street

While their novelty has certainly aged over the years, one of the best smart speakers makes it easy to listen to music and get answers to common questions with one voice.

Unlike a Bluetooth speaker, you don’t need a smartphone (after the initial setup), which means you won’t be distracted by incoming notifications trying to find the right music for the moment. However, as is the case with many other smart home devices, you are limited by the fact that your smart speaker must be plugged into an AC outlet to be powered.

Luckily, third-party accessory manufacturers have addressed this issue by offering dedicated batteries for a wide variety of smart speakers. Whether you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home Mini, or even an Apple HomePod mini, you can find a battery base to make your smart speaker portable.

Since I have several Google Home Minis and Google Nest Minis (some of which I got for free just for being a YouTube Premium subscriber), I recently decided to make an old portable Google Home Mini so I can carry it everywhere with me. at home and even on the street. This way I can have my smart speaker with me on the porch and in the yard without worrying that someone else might try to use it.

Finding the Right Smart Speaker Battery

If you’re thinking of following in my footsteps and making one of your own portable smart speakers, you’ll first need to make sure you know the exact model of the unit, as third party batteries are not interchangeable.

For example, there are four generations of the Echo Dot, but battery bases are currently only readily available for the 3rd generation Echo Dot. That’s why it’s best to make an old portable smart speaker. In my case, I chose to make the Google Home Mini portable as it uses a standard micro USB port for power, unlike the Nest Home Mini which has a proprietary cylinder adapter.

Assembling JOT battery base for Google Home Mini

(Image credit: Future)

After doing my own research on the subject, I picked up the JOT Portable Battery Base ($10, Amazon (will open in a new tab)). What I love about this particular battery base is that it has a cutout for the Google Home Mini mute switch, and that you can charge it without removing the smart speaker. It also comes in silver for those with a gray Google Home Mini.

It only took five minutes to assemble my battery and install my Google Home Mini in it. After it was fully charged, I took my now portable smart speaker around the house to test its performance. Nintey7 claims that its rechargeable battery can last up to eight hours on a single charge, and I’ve found these claims to be true in my own tests.

If you have an Echo Dot (3rd generation):

If you have a Google Nest Mini:

If you have a HomePod Mini:

Portability

With a portable smart speaker in hand, I went from room to room asking Google questions and making sure the music I was listening to didn’t get interrupted. With one of the best mesh routers in my home, I had a strong Wi-Fi signal in every room, and I was also able to take my portable smart speaker outside without turning it off.

Google Home Mini with battery on table outside

(Image credit: Future)

One place in my house where I’ve always wanted to have access to a smart speaker is the side porch. Whether I’m having fun outdoors or playing with my dog, being able to listen to music without taking out my phone has always seemed appealing. Even though there is an outlet on the side porch, I found it inconvenient to leave the smart speaker outside. However, now I can take my portable smart speaker outside and bring it back inside when I’m done.

Google Home Mini with a battery in the bathroom.

(Image credit: Future)

Similarly, I’ve always wanted a smart speaker in my bathroom. Maybe I would put it if I lived alone, but with my family at home and other people visiting me often, it would not be right. While I may feel comfortable having Google Assistant with me at all times, not everyone feels the same way. Just like on my side porch, I can now bring my portable smart speaker into the bathroom and ask it to change the song or turn on something else while taking a shower. Everything has been great so far and neither the battery base nor my Google Home Mini has yet shown any signs of water damage.

Your personal smart speaker

While I have fully embraced the idea of ​​having a smart home with a smart speaker in every room, not everyone has yet done so, and for good reason. Maybe you have privacy concerns or don’t want your kids to order items from Amazon without your permission.

Sure, you can keep your Amazon Echo child-proof, but by making your smart speaker portable, you can also easily turn it on and off. So you can use it when you need it and turn it off when you’re done.

Google Home Mini with battery on the kitchen table.

(Image credit: Future)

For example, you can take out a portable smart speaker and put it in the center of the kitchen table while your kids do their homework, and put it away when they’re done. This will also work for any games or stories from Amazon and Google on their respective smart speakers.

As for me, I was more than happy to get the extra benefit of an old smart speaker for less than $10. Who knows, maybe I’ll take a new portable smart speaker with me on my next trip, but that’s another story.

Liboer’s best battery base for Dot 3rd Gen, Mission Cables Battery Base for Echo Dot (4th Gen), PlusAcc Google Nest Mini Battery Base, and Mission Battery Base for HomePod Mini.

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