The Apple HomePod is again. Practically two years after discontinuing the unique HomePod, Apple has resurrected the Siri-based sensible speaker with minor enhancements. Though the second-generation HomePod appears to be like virtually an identical to the unique, the components was altered with some delicate design twists and new options, together with temperature and humidity sensors, help for spatial audio, and integration of the brand new Matter smart-home protocol. For most individuals who favor Siri and HomeKit, these upgrades don’t make it a must-own speaker—the smaller, lower-priced HomePod mini is the higher selection. However for music lovers, the brand new HomePod competes sonically with different in style sensible audio system from Amazon and Sonos, even when it could be a matter of desire.
Apple HomePod (2nd technology)
The HomePod sounds good, responds nicely to voice instructions, and helps new tendencies like spatial audio and Matter. However it’s actually solely suited to iOS customers, and it prices loads for the efficiency it delivers.
For music followers who’re closely invested within the Apple ecosystem, the HomePod (2nd technology) is Apple’s largest, best-sounding sensible speaker—a step up sonically from the HomePod mini. It’s roughly 3 times bigger than the Mini, incorporates 5 tweeters and a 4-inch woofer, and contains a big LED management display on prime, in addition to a removable energy wire. It’s no shock that the HomePod can play louder than the HomePod mini and ship extra bass, and in our assessments, its sound high quality was aggressive with the best-sounding sensible audio system we’ve tried. By way of Siri voice management, you’ll be able to play music from Apple Music and different linked streaming companies, in addition to your individual iCloud-based music library. The speaker additionally helps room sensing (to mechanically tailor the sound to your surroundings) and Atmos spatial audio (out there on many tunes in Apple Music), and you’ll hyperlink two HomePods collectively to hearken to music in stereo mode. For many who have embraced HomeKit as their smart-home platform of selection, the brand new HomePod and the HomePod mini are equally good management hubs, however the HomePod provides help for the brand new Matter smart-home protocol.
Sadly, the HomePod additionally has its share of potential downsides. In contrast with sensible audio system from Amazon and Google, the HomePod isn’t practically as versatile or inexpensive. It’s 3 times dearer than the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) and Google’s Nest Audio, and $100 greater than the Amazon Echo Studio, which we most well-liked the sound of in our assessments. The HomePod requires you to already be an Apple consumer to a point—because you want both an iPhone or iPad to set it up. It lacks Bluetooth (which all Echo and Nest audio system have) or a line-audio enter (which is featured on some Echo audio system) to attach exterior audio units; AirPlay is the one solution to stream exterior music sources to it. From a voice management and smart-home perspective, virtually all of the issues we like concerning the $300 HomePod could be discovered within the $100 Mini, so its worth is questionable.
However in the event you’re nonetheless on the fence about which HomePod (if both) you can purchase, right here’s a rundown of what the HomePod does nicely and what it doesn’t.