FYI: Google Home Mini works just fine in South Africa

Google Home Mini

Google hardware is notoriously tough to come by in South Africa, as we’ve found out over the past couple of years.

This is chiefly due to a combination of pending localisation and regulatory approval, country manager Luke Mckend told us in an interview earlier this year.

For what it’s worth, I managed to grab a Google Home Mini for US$30 during a work trip to the USA last week. And the good news is that it works well enough thus far (in case you didn’t know), even without proper localisation in place.

In terms of the hardware setup, the Google Home Mini has a microUSB port for power, so you can use any old smartphone charger (as long as it’s rated 100-240v) in lieu of the included power adapter.

From here, you’ll want to change your smartphone language to UK or US English and then download the Google Home app from the Play Store. But it’s all plain sailing from here, as you go through a seamless setup process (finding the device, sharing your WiFi password, training it with your voice). And the voice commands work well enough at this point — hard Rs be damned.

Google Home Mini works well in South Africa, even though Google is hesitant to bring them to the market

You’ll also need to download some apps to your phone in order to use them on Google Home, such as Podcast Republic and TuneIn Radio. But the Google Home app does indeed list these supported apps in settings.

The one notable region-related casualty is the fact that news websites/services are limited to supported countries. So that means no News24, EWN, TechCentral, Burn Media (cheap plug!) and the like.

Nevertheless, those wanting to grab a Google Home gadget won’t be left with a hobbled device if they’re in an unsupported region. Expect a review in the coming weeks.



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