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“Alice, give me the sound.” Review Of “Yandex.Mini Stations»

The old column is better than the new two. Or not?
In October 2019, Yandex unexpectedly introduced a new mini-version of the smart column with the voice assistant “Alice”. The gadget, though noticeably changed in size, but left support for most functions (and even got a couple of new ones). We used the column for several months, and here are the conclusions we came to.

The appearance is all right
Unlike the older model, the new product is much more portable (90×55 mm). Column – “puck” can be put literally anywhere — a lot of space it will not take. The only limitation will be the relatively short complete wire. However, any standard USB-C is suitable for the device.

The entire sidewall “Yandex.The station is covered with a pleasant-to-touch fabric cover, and on top is a logo with a built-in LED indicator. The speaker has just one physical button that disables all the device’s microphones at the hardware level.

First enable and configure
There were no problems connecting the speaker to the smartphone — “Alice” explains in as much detail as possible what you need to do to get started. So, you need to download the Yandex app, register or log in, open the “Devices” menu item, and follow a few more robot instructions. In a minute or two, the user will be able to control the column using their voice.

“Alice, give me the sound.” Review Of “Yandex.Mini Stations»
Differences from a full-size ” Station»
The mini-column has adopted almost all the main functions from the older “sister”: you can use it to turn on the radio and alarm clock, set a playlist from Yandex.Music” and listen to the news. In addition, it is possible to control the elements of a smart home or just chat with the voice assistant “for life”. Well, more recently, “Alice” has learned to order a taxi – just say “Taxi” and specify the address of the endpoint.

“Alice, give me the sound.” Review Of “Yandex.Mini Stations»
But some of the functionality was not available for “mini Station”. In particular, it cannot be connected to a TV because the speaker does not have an HDMI connector. Connecting external speakers is also not possible due to the lack of a standard 3.5 mm input.

New chip
But the new product now supports gestures: special sensors on the top panel read the user’s hand movements. So, if you raise your hand above the speaker, you can increase the volume, and if you lower it, you can lower it. If you plop your hand on the surface of the speaker, the music (or alarm clock) will stop completely.

“Alice, give me the sound.” Review Of “Yandex.Mini Stations»
This function also allows you to use the device as a theremin or, for example, a guitar. Just say “Alice, give me the sound of a theremin”, and the user will be able to fish out interesting sounds by moving his hand over the column. It’s a funny thing, especially for children, but we got fed up in the office on the first day.

By the way, we had a strange story with the sensor. About the third day, it almost stopped working — the column did not respond to hand movements at all, or changed the volume of the music on its own. As a result, I had to do only with my voice. Most likely, we came across a defective version, because we have not heard similar reviews from other fellow journalists.

What does it sound like?
In General, there are no revelations — the sound is exactly what you can expect from a speaker for 3.5 thousand rubles. Inside there is one speaker with a power of 3 watts. You don’t have to wait for a deep bass, as well as a rich sound picture. But in General, the sound quality is good, nothing wheezes or creaks even at maximum volume. And its stock here is excellent — there is enough for a medium-sized room in excess.

“Alice, give me the sound.” Review Of “Yandex.Mini Stations»
As for the built-in microphones (and there are four of them here), they do not always correctly catch user requests. There are no problems in silence, but when music is already playing from the speaker, “Alice” can’t always hear her name the first time. Yes, and the group can include the wrong one — this has happened many times. So you have to literally shout commands.

Cost and a nice bonus
Last year, “mini Station” was sold for 3,500 rubles, and now its price tag has increased to 4,000 rubles. It is important to note that customers are given a six-month subscription to the Yandex service as a gift.Plus”, which includes unlimited listening to music, discounts on taxis with carsharing and other Yandex chips. Separately, the subscription is sold for 1014 rubles, so you can safely deduct this amount from the purchase price of the column.

The new column has become a logical extension of the big “station” — the new product is smaller and cheaper, although it is almost as functional as the “sister”. There are even new features like gesture control that you really want to use (as long as they work). Yes, the sound quality has fallen slightly due to the reduced size, but without such victims, manufacturers could not do. It is also important to understand that ” Station.Mini” is not completely portable: it only works from the network, so you can’t take it with you to nature. For these purposes, JBL products are more suitable — they have both more interesting sound and Autonomous operation. But Alice won’t be there.

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