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homepod mini review

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Apple’s newest smart speaker is way more affordable but still chasing Amazon and Google. You can tap an iPhone to the top of the HomePod mini to transfer whatever you’re playing on your phone to the speaker and then tap it again to transfer the audio back to your phone. I want an equalizer for the HomePod, but I feel like I need one for the HomePod mini, especially when listening to bass-heavy rap or pop music. Fast-forward to now and Apple’s new smart speaker, the $99 HomePod mini, takes a different approach. It has the same multicolored LEDs under it that light up and swirl around whenever Siri is listening or responding. HomePod mini review HomePod mini blows away the UE WonderBoom, which we used to think was a great speaker. It’s cheap but not as cheap as the Echo Dot and Nest Mini. It has good balance in the mid-tones and a very vocal forward sound profile. But is it worth it to get the HomePod Mini, or should you get a cheaper smart speaker instead? As they say, there’s no replacement for displacement. You’ll hear the lyrics to your favorite song easily, without them getting overwhelmed by bass. When I use the HomePod mini to place a call, neither myself nor the other party could hear anything until I transferred the call to my iPhone and then back to the HomePod. Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. The HomePod mini has a different look than the larger HomePod, but you can tell they were cut from the same cloth. That said, Apple’s new speaker is a solid entry at a good price, but you should wait until the inevitable sales start hitting Best Buy and Walmart. Apple HomePod Mini review: an almost perfect smart speaker After big brother failed to take the world by storm, Apple’s dinky new smart speaker sibling makes a much bigger impact By … It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. The smart home capabilities of the HomePod mini are largely unchanged from the HomePod. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter. Here is our review of the HomePod Mini, and the best features and biggest failures you’ll get with Apple’s newest smart speaker. One of its main features is 360‑degree audio “that sounds amazing from every angle,” which would be far more useful if you could put the HomePod mini in the middle of a room. Macworld |. You need an iPhone or a Mac to do that. The mini does support a new smart home protocol called Thread, which allows devices to connect to it over longer distances and using less power than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It won’t come as a surprise to many, but unless you are fully bought into Apple’s iOS ecosystem, you shouldn’t even consider buying the HomePod mini. More on that in a minute. On top of the mini is the only interface on the device itself, a flat plastic touch-sensitive pad that you can use to invoke Siri, play or pause music, or adjust volume. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. Right now the default service setting limits all three categories to one app. Since Apple still doesn’t offer a proper equalizer for the HomePod, there isn’t anything you can do about the levels unless you’re using it as an AirPlay speaker, and even then, you’re extremely limited. Even if the HomePod mini didn’t have a pedigree that includes such beloved Apple products as the iPod mini and Mac mini, it still would be in a difficult spot. Apple has shown that it’s willing to improve things and listen to feedback when it comes to smart speakers, so I’ll be interested to see how it continues to develop. The HomePod mini features a backlit touch-sensitive lid. It won’t soundtrack a party, and it certainly doesn’t replace a proper sound system — but for its size, it is good. But overall, I feel Apple fell short with HomePod Mini. Apple will be expanding this with a new interface and more features for iPhones with the U1 chip (any model released in 2019 or later, except for the SE) in the future, but I wasn’t able to test that for this review. Back in 2018, my colleague Nilay Patel rightly pointed out that the state of Siri on the original HomePod can be summed up by the fact that it cannot handle multiple timers. If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. Hey Siri! It will glow white when music is playing or green when you’re using the mini as a speakerphone for calls. For one, its namesake is one of the rare misses in the Tim Cook era. Unless you’re right next to the HomePod mini, it’s hard to tell when Siri has heard your voice command and is responding. A custom full-range driver and dual force-cancelling passive radiators ensure that the audio is rich and warm and has a punchy bass. Keeping with Apple’s style, the HomePod mini has a similar aesthetic to the original HomePod, with a color screen at the top and a fabric-wrapped outer shell. With the first HomePod, Apple prioritized sound quality above all else. Apple fans will enjoy it, but it's not going to tempt anyone to jump ship. It’s extremely easy to set up, provided you have an iPhone or iPad nearby, and you’ll want a subscription to Apple Music as well, at least for now. After Apple released the HomePod Mini for only $99, it has become a more viable option. The HomePod mini is an overdue entry to Apple's product line, but it still falls short of being an essential product. The first thing that will hit you about the HomePod mini is, well, how mini it is. At just 8.4cm tall and 9.8cm wide, it’s roughly half the size of the similarly priced and similarly spherical new Amazon Echo. Had the HomePod mini arrived before the original HomePod—as it probably should have—this would have been a very different review. It’s effectively sending recorded audio messages to the devices instead of opening a live audio. So, you won’t be able to ask Siri to change the temperature on your Nest Thermostat, or talk to the person who just rang your Ring Doorbell, or control the lamp plugged into a Kasa Smart Plug. At 3.3 inches tall, the HomePod mini is about the same size as the fourth-gen Echo Dot and considerably smaller than the full-size Echo or Google’s Nest Audio. Instead, Apple says the processor in the mini (an S5 chip, the same as you might find in an Apple Watch) analyzes the music being played and adjusts the speaker’s output for the best quality. So it sounds good, but I can’t say the HomePod mini sounds great. The HomePod mini doesn’t support cross-platform audio streaming like Google Cast or Spotify Connect, so the only way to send audio to it from a device is via Apple’s AirPlay. It’s considerably better-sounding than the similar-sized fourth-gen Echo Dot, and it puts out more bass than other small smart speakers. And compared to the equally priced Echo and Nest Audio, the HomePod mini struggles to keep up in both sound quality and features. Two and a half years ago, Apple finally entered the smart speaker market with the HomePod. After months of rumors and speculation, Apple on Tuesday announced a new, smaller smart speaker called the HomePod Mini at its iPhone … And while Shortcuts are a great way to automate things, they require way more input and know-how than Alexa’s skills. Anything less than that (including the power banks I tried as well as a Thunderbolt 3 port on a MacBook) will render the HomePod useless with an ominous pulsing orange light at the top. Where the original HomePod shakes the room with deep low-end tones that border on excessive, the HomePod mini puts a much greater emphasis on upper mid and presence ranges so songs sound more trebly than they should. The HomePod Mini is powered by Apple's S5 processor, so you won't get the room-sensing tech of the HomePod in the Mini. The HomePod mini has four microphones for picking up voice commands, but it does not have the room-tuning capabilities the original HomePod has. But you’ll really only be getting 180-degree sound since your HomePod mini will almost certainly be positioned against a wall. Bugs aside, Siri is still behind where Amazon and Google are with their virtual assistants. Apple has proven its ability to excel in audio, whether it's the Air Pods Pro, or the original HomePod. In fact, I’d go even further: everyone in your home really needs to be using iPhones and Apple services to make the HomePod mini worth buying. If sound quality is your top priority in a smart speaker, and you don’t mind paying for it, the HomePod Mini blows competitors like the Echo Dot out of the water. Update, Nov. 12: Read our HomePod Mini review. For another, its size and lower price point puts it in direct competition with the ubiquitous Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. When asking Siri to play an album from Apple Music, it would play songs out of order instead of how they appear on the album. The HomePod mini improves on the original HomePod in a lot of ways. The HomePod Mini might be small but the sound is mighty. Like the larger HomePod, the mini has a permanently attached power cord, though this time, it ends in a USB-C port. It’ll tell you a story if you ask, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the library that Alexa has. Mini-Review of the HomePod Mini That is incorrect, you can set a third-party app as the default to handle requests for music, podcasts, and audiobooks, but you can’t set separate apps for those categories. Its animation of Siri listening and responding adds a slick look to it, but it still can’t pry my eyes from the Echo’s LED light ring. In fact, it’s even smaller than the … But collectively, they are demonstrative of why many people still have a negative perception of Siri. Instead of a squishy-looking cylinder, the mini is a squat ball with a flat top. It’s fine for letting the family know you’re on the way home from the grocery store or telling the kids it’s time for dinner from another floor of the house, but I didn’t find it particularly necessary in my home. Like the new Amazon Echo Dot, the HomePod mini is a convenient little softball that can be set up almost anywhere. But it probably won’t make as much noise as Apple hopes it will. And it's not materially better than Siri was when the original HomePod launched, which is one of its biggest failings. Staff Writer, Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc. The HomePod mini is the small speaker of choice for music lovers, but only if you're deep in the Apple ecosystem, and don't need it to be TOO smart. The biggest issue is the lack of smart devices to interact with it—basically, any plug, switch, light, and camera is sure to work with Alexa and Google Assistant but probably won’t support Siri. Not just for its price, but also its size. The microphones do an admirable job of hearing my voice commands, even from across the room and while something is playing, and the processor is quick to take action. Another thing I’d like to see is the ability to set separate default services for music, podcasts, and audiobooks, for example, using Spotify for music, Pocket Casts for podcasts, and Audible for audiobooks. Where Apple's other mini products were geared toward switchers put off by the high prices of those product’s respective siblings, the HomePod mini is merely the speaker Apple should have released first. The HomePod Mini really is small. It does the basics mostly fine, such as playing music, giving weather reports, and setting timers and reminders. The HomePod Mini sounds fantastic as a TV speaker. It’s too bad it’s not a portable Bluetooth speaker because, at roughly the size of a large grapefruit, it fits nicely in my hand and feels great to hold. If you’re already fully bought into Apple’s ecosystem, including services, it’s hard to fault the HomePod mini’s price or capabilities. Here's why. As a result, the HomePod didn’t really take off. It sounds good but it's blown away by the larger HomePod. Like the releases of Amageddon and Deep Impact, it’s pure coincidence that both Apple and Amazon launched spherical … Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian Apple’s HomePod mini is finally here – the iPhone maker’s … By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. But right now, the only app that’s taken advantage of it is Pandora, and there’s no word when others, such as Spotify or YouTube Music, will hop on board. But it feels like Apple is still two years or more behind Amazon and Google when it comes to smart speakers. A handful of smart lights have been announced with support for Thread in HomeKit (Apple’s smart home platform), but for now, the Thread ecosystem is quite small. If you have an original in your living room, you can put the mini in various other places in your home without having to invest as much money or take up as much shelf space. Read our, Learn more about Macworld's Digital Edition, Sound isn't as full or deep as the original HomePod, Cord is permanently attached and needs a 20W adapter. The bass that’s there can be heard but not felt. Also new for either HomePod is an intercom feature that lets you broadcast messages from a HomePod to another HomePod or Apple device. The other reason to buy a HomePod mini is as a smart Siri-powered speaker. Like Alexa on the Echo Dot or Google Assistant on the Nest Audio, Siri is always at the ready on HomePod mini, waiting for the telltale wake phrase, “Hey, Siri.” It listens extremely well and usually perked up when I whispered from across the room, which is good because the device doesn't provide any visual cues that it heard you aside from the top screen, which you probably won't be able to see. While Siri is able to distinguish between my voice and my spouse’s and provide personalized answers, it didn’t know my spouse by name and referred to them as “secondary user 1,” despite Siri having all of their information on the iPhone. Apple HomePod mini review: playing small ball, Apple MacBook Pro with M1 review: flexing Arm, Apple MacBook Air with M1 review: new chip, no problem, frequent lawsuits and criticism of Apple’s locked-down platforms, Accessibly priced compared to big HomePod, Still hugely dependent on Apple devices and services, Doesn’t sound as good as similarly priced competitors, Siri is still behind Google Assistant and Alexa in features and capabilities, The Apple terms of service agreement, which you can have sent to you by email, Apple’s warranty agreement, which you can have sent to you by email. One big selling point: you don't have to worry about Apple's speakers spying on you, as Apple has a different … I ran into a number of weird bugs with Siri during my two weeks or so testing the HomePod mini. Unlike the Echo or Nest speakers, you can’t pair the HomePod mini to a subwoofer or larger speaker system. It was a unique device — instead of prioritizing an accessible price and smart assistant features, it was laser-focused on audio quality and considerably more expensive than its closest competitors from Amazon and Google, while being less capable as a smart speaker. Just like the original, you can get it in light or dark gray, and it has a similar soft fabric. The HomePod mini is a great buy if the price turned you off to the original HomePod. My main beef with HomePod is that Siri is mentally challenged. Setting up the mini requires an iPhone or iPad. The HomePod mini at least feels like it’s in the same ballpark as the rest. But while you can obviously adjust the volume, you're stuck with the sound. It doesn’t have the presence, volume, or sound stage of either, and it certainly can’t match the Echo’s bass output. The HomePod mini requires an iPhone or iPad to set it up, which means you have to have agreed to the standard iPhone terms: You have the option of allowing the HomePod to access your messages, reminders, calendar events, and other information when your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod. A new feature as of software version 14.2 is the ability to give you an itinerary at the start of your day, including a weather report, upcoming appointments, commute traffic, and a news blurb from NPR. You can have it sent to a specific HomePod or blast it to all of the HomePods in the home as an announcement. The HomePod mini’s 360-sound works as advertised, too. It’s great for playing music during dinner when you don’t want to drown out conversation or just to have some audio playing in the background as you work from home. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. There’s also no physical switch to disable Siri’s always-listening feature. And it outdoes other speakers for the price … In all, it’s just less accessible than the buttons on Amazon’s speakers or even the touch-sensitive areas on Google’s — a rare miss in this department from Apple. The new HomePod Mini … Rather, it ships with Apple’s bulky 20W USB-C power adapter, but any 20W USB-C charger will suffice. HomePod Mini is better compared with Amazon's Echo Dot and Google's Nest Mini. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac. The key thing to notice is that the HomePod mini outperforms other “small” smart speakers like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini, but it can’t compete with larger speakers like the regular Echo, Nest Audio, or Sonos One. Apple was forced to lower its price, and other retailers had to discount it aggressively in order to get anyone to buy it. Compounding things is the other end of the cord. Macworld is your best source for all things Apple. You're dumb as a rock . Both of Apple’s major smart speaker competitors have services and ecosystems of their own, but they also allow for much more freedom of choice for preferred services and work with both iOS and Android devices. The HomePod mini's screen is very nice but you won't see it unless you're above it. When you ask it to play something, the screen at the top lights up and is very nice but you won't be able to see it unless you're looking directly at it. The HomePod Mini glows white while playing musicGearBrain. There are much more affordable and versatile mini … That said, it's quite loud for its size and shouldn't struggle to fill up any but the largest of rooms. The HomePod mini is priced closer to those larger speakers, although it really belongs in the small speaker class when it comes to the sound it can produce. When the HomePod originally launched, it felt like Apple was operating in a completely different world from the rest of the smart speakers, one that didn’t make sense for a lot of people. While the HomePod mini is a much-needed, overdue entry to Apple’s product matrix, it’s unlikely to tempt anyone who isn’t already invested in Apple’s ecosystem. HomeKit itself does have a wide range of compatible smart home devices, including lights, contact sensors, cameras, thermostats, door locks, smart plugs, and more, all of which can be controlled by voice through the HomePod mini. If you plug the HomePod mini into a power adapter that's less than 20W, you'll get an ominous orange glow. It's also missing an easy way to turn off the microphone outside the app. The HomePod Mini is just 84mm tall but it … As a result, it has just one speaker: a downward-firing full-range driver that is designed to evenly spread sound in all directions. (Given Spotify’s frequent lawsuits and criticism of Apple’s locked-down platforms, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it anytime soon.). The HomePod Mini (left) and Echo Dot might be the same size, but their sound isn't. It does most of the things you expect a smart speaker to do and sounds good when doing them. In all, the HomePod mini excels at casual listening and background music. At $100, compared to the original HomePod’s $350 launch price, the mini is priced low enough that you can envision buying more than one and spreading them throughout your home. Two HomePod minis can be paired in a stereo configuration, but that doesn’t dramatically increase the amount of volume you get, and it does nothing for improving bass or punch. Like the original HomePod, the 5-foot cord is attached and somewhat inflexible, so your placement options are limited. It also prevents a random person from sending messages or placing phone calls from my iPhone using the HomePod mini, a problem we ran into when reviewing the original HomePod. But knowing how well the HomePod sounds, how cheap the Echo Dot and Nest Mini are, and how little Siri does compared to the other assistants, it’s hard to give it a better than an average grade. It’s also very light, and while a battery would easily double or triple its weight, it would still likely be less than two pounds with a five- or six-hour battery. Either color will look great on a shelf or counter and you’ll want to put it in a highly visible spot, though you’ll also need to devise a plan to hide the cord. My home is equipped with dozens of smart devices and the only ones that Siri can talk to are one of my two August locks and my Hue lights. Final tally: four mandatory agreements, one optional agreement. At $99, the HomePod mini is probably cheap enough to succeed. Both Google and Amazon offer similar features on their smart speakers, but they have more two-way live communication options than the HomePod. You can ask for a different news source, such as Fox or CNN, but that’s about as far as you can customize this feature. As it stands, the HomePod mini feels like a catch-up device that doesn't bring anything new to the conversation. The HomePod mini’s light-up panel is harder to see than the Echo’s light ring In my testing, I’ve found this light-up panel to be harder to see from across the room than the Echo’s glowing … It measures just 3.5 inches around and has a smaller footprint than the newly redesigned Echo Dot (which, oddly enough, is also a sphere) and Google Nest Mini. That’s why both Amazon and Google switched to more directional speaker designs this year, after years of using 360-degree speakers. The HomePod Mini is Apple's 'cheap' speaker - it sounds amazing, but Siri still needs work. The HomePod mini’s cord doesn’t have a plug like the original HomePod. Add a MagSafe dock for quick and easy charging and you’ve got one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market. If you’re looking for an everyday music player, weather forecaster, simple question answerer, and light switch, it’ll work a bit better than one of the super-low-priced alternatives, especially if you’re already invested in the Apple universe. The biggest issue I have with the mini is bass. Where the larger HomePod “analyzes the acoustics and adjusts the sound based on its location … so the entire space is filled with rich, well-defined tones,” the smaller HomePod only promises to “sound amazing from every angle.”. Apple has made some small strides toward allowing the HomePod to directly play music, podcasts, and audiobooks from sources other than Apple Music, and there’s now an API that apps can tap into to become the default option on the HomePod. Apple HomePod mini review: Verdict It isn’t as great-sounding as the HomePod, of course, but it’s not much more than a third of the price. It’s also much more fiddly to use to adjust volume (especially when nothing is playing), and there’s no visual confirmation for how loud the speaker is set when you do adjust the volume, like you can see with an Echo or Nest Audio. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. Despite not being quite up to the Echo’s sound performance, the HomePod mini does sound pleasant for most any genre of music and for podcasts and other vocal performances. The HomePod mini is a great buy if the price turned you off to the original HomePod. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. Apple HomePod mini review: Verdict It’s funny how timing works. I’m happy to say that the HomePod mini can support multiple timers, and you can even label them now. It also provides an escape from some of the privacy concerns and baggage that come with the Echo or Nest smart speakers, including the increasingly common ads that show up in Alexa’s responses. You can even intercom using Siri from your phone or Apple Watch to broadcast messages to anyone that is at home. Two passive radiators help to accentuate lower bass tones, but they shouldn’t be confused with the multiple active speakers that are in the Echo and Nest Audio. Some of these bugs, such as the Apple Music one, were resolved during my testing period or didn’t happen every time. The HomePod Mini was able to capture the dank ambiance of Dream On by Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, and did an especially good job accentuating the vocals. HomePod mini is also missing many of the things that make the Echo and Google Nest devices so compelling. Three years later, the new HomePod once again feels like a starting place. See our ethics statement. In my experience, Siri is typically faster to respond and do something than either Alexa or the Google Assistant, whether that’s to play music, answer a question, or control a smart home device. We give you the scoop on what's new, what's best and how to make the most out of the products you love. For any smart home control, you need to be using Apple’s Home app and HomeKit-compatible devices. It’s clear that Apple designed this to complement the larger HomePod. But the rest of the smart speaker world has obviously not stood still, and Amazon and Google have released the most compelling options in their respective lineups this year. None of this is a problem if you’re fully bought into Apple’s world, but the reality is that few individuals (and, by extension, families) are. While Apple has opened up the HomePod software to work with other music services by default, only Pandora is supported for now, but Amazon Music, Spotify, and others should be on the way. It doesn’t play games other than simple things like flipping a coin. Welcome to T3's HomePod mini review. That’s a shame because the HomePod mini really wants to be portable, and not just because of its size. The audio design basically mimics that of the HomePod but on a slightly … The HomePod mini is the compact, good-sounding smart speaker for Apple aficionados. It can also act as a Home hub, which allows you to control your smart home devices with your iPhone from anywhere you have a data connection. Even if you can magically position it in a place where people can walk around, that 360-degree sound is markedly different than the original HomePod’s spatial awareness. But despite its name, Intercom isn’t really a two-way intercom. It seems as though Apple is setting HomePod mini up for GoPod. I say “good” because, for its size, the HomePod mini sounds quite nice. The cord is about six feet long, though I wish there was the option to just swap it for another if you want to put the speaker far from an outlet. Siri can also do a bunch of things with Apple’s apps, such as notes, calendar, reminders, and Maps, and some limited actions with third-party apps that have added support for SiriKit commands. The HomePod mini's cord is very inflexible. Siri has gotten other improvements over the years as well. This is great if you plan to put the mini in the middle of a room, but realistically, it will be on a shelf or closer to a wall, where it has less of an impact. Sound quality in the original HomePod was impressive, but … Asking the HomePod mini to place a phone call, read messages, or give you calendar updates requires you to use an iPhone. The HomePod mini is available in two colours – white and space grey – and while my white review unit does look good, the grey does look nicer, in my opinion, and will also be less … The answer is yes and no. Hopefully, now that the HomePod mini is here, it starts to move a little faster. Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. The mini is nice to listen to at low volumes or higher settings and doesn’t distort at all. But we’re going to start counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate. Games other than simple things like flipping a coin s nice to listen to at low volumes or settings... Starting place is good wo n't see it unless you 're stuck with the ubiquitous Amazon Echo Dot and audio. Bugs aside, Siri is listening or responding tall but it 's the Air Pods Pro, or you. 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Apple’s newest smart speaker is way more affordable but still chasing Amazon and Google. You can tap an iPhone to the top of the HomePod mini to transfer whatever you’re playing on your phone to the speaker and then tap it again to transfer the audio back to your phone. I want an equalizer for the HomePod, but I feel like I need one for the HomePod mini, especially when listening to bass-heavy rap or pop music. Fast-forward to now and Apple’s new smart speaker, the $99 HomePod mini, takes a different approach. It has the same multicolored LEDs under it that light up and swirl around whenever Siri is listening or responding. HomePod mini review HomePod mini blows away the UE WonderBoom, which we used to think was a great speaker. It’s cheap but not as cheap as the Echo Dot and Nest Mini. It has good balance in the mid-tones and a very vocal forward sound profile. But is it worth it to get the HomePod Mini, or should you get a cheaper smart speaker instead? As they say, there’s no replacement for displacement. You’ll hear the lyrics to your favorite song easily, without them getting overwhelmed by bass. When I use the HomePod mini to place a call, neither myself nor the other party could hear anything until I transferred the call to my iPhone and then back to the HomePod. Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. The HomePod mini has a different look than the larger HomePod, but you can tell they were cut from the same cloth. That said, Apple’s new speaker is a solid entry at a good price, but you should wait until the inevitable sales start hitting Best Buy and Walmart. Apple HomePod Mini review: an almost perfect smart speaker After big brother failed to take the world by storm, Apple’s dinky new smart speaker sibling makes a much bigger impact By … It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. The smart home capabilities of the HomePod mini are largely unchanged from the HomePod. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter. Here is our review of the HomePod Mini, and the best features and biggest failures you’ll get with Apple’s newest smart speaker. One of its main features is 360‑degree audio “that sounds amazing from every angle,” which would be far more useful if you could put the HomePod mini in the middle of a room. Macworld |. You need an iPhone or a Mac to do that. The mini does support a new smart home protocol called Thread, which allows devices to connect to it over longer distances and using less power than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It won’t come as a surprise to many, but unless you are fully bought into Apple’s iOS ecosystem, you shouldn’t even consider buying the HomePod mini. More on that in a minute. On top of the mini is the only interface on the device itself, a flat plastic touch-sensitive pad that you can use to invoke Siri, play or pause music, or adjust volume. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. Right now the default service setting limits all three categories to one app. Since Apple still doesn’t offer a proper equalizer for the HomePod, there isn’t anything you can do about the levels unless you’re using it as an AirPlay speaker, and even then, you’re extremely limited. Even if the HomePod mini didn’t have a pedigree that includes such beloved Apple products as the iPod mini and Mac mini, it still would be in a difficult spot. Apple has shown that it’s willing to improve things and listen to feedback when it comes to smart speakers, so I’ll be interested to see how it continues to develop. The HomePod mini features a backlit touch-sensitive lid. It won’t soundtrack a party, and it certainly doesn’t replace a proper sound system — but for its size, it is good. But overall, I feel Apple fell short with HomePod Mini. Apple will be expanding this with a new interface and more features for iPhones with the U1 chip (any model released in 2019 or later, except for the SE) in the future, but I wasn’t able to test that for this review. Back in 2018, my colleague Nilay Patel rightly pointed out that the state of Siri on the original HomePod can be summed up by the fact that it cannot handle multiple timers. If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. Hey Siri! It will glow white when music is playing or green when you’re using the mini as a speakerphone for calls. For one, its namesake is one of the rare misses in the Tim Cook era. Unless you’re right next to the HomePod mini, it’s hard to tell when Siri has heard your voice command and is responding. A custom full-range driver and dual force-cancelling passive radiators ensure that the audio is rich and warm and has a punchy bass. Keeping with Apple’s style, the HomePod mini has a similar aesthetic to the original HomePod, with a color screen at the top and a fabric-wrapped outer shell. With the first HomePod, Apple prioritized sound quality above all else. Apple fans will enjoy it, but it's not going to tempt anyone to jump ship. It’s extremely easy to set up, provided you have an iPhone or iPad nearby, and you’ll want a subscription to Apple Music as well, at least for now. After Apple released the HomePod Mini for only $99, it has become a more viable option. The HomePod mini is an overdue entry to Apple's product line, but it still falls short of being an essential product. The first thing that will hit you about the HomePod mini is, well, how mini it is. At just 8.4cm tall and 9.8cm wide, it’s roughly half the size of the similarly priced and similarly spherical new Amazon Echo. Had the HomePod mini arrived before the original HomePod—as it probably should have—this would have been a very different review. It’s effectively sending recorded audio messages to the devices instead of opening a live audio. So, you won’t be able to ask Siri to change the temperature on your Nest Thermostat, or talk to the person who just rang your Ring Doorbell, or control the lamp plugged into a Kasa Smart Plug. At 3.3 inches tall, the HomePod mini is about the same size as the fourth-gen Echo Dot and considerably smaller than the full-size Echo or Google’s Nest Audio. Instead, Apple says the processor in the mini (an S5 chip, the same as you might find in an Apple Watch) analyzes the music being played and adjusts the speaker’s output for the best quality. So it sounds good, but I can’t say the HomePod mini sounds great. The HomePod mini doesn’t support cross-platform audio streaming like Google Cast or Spotify Connect, so the only way to send audio to it from a device is via Apple’s AirPlay. It’s considerably better-sounding than the similar-sized fourth-gen Echo Dot, and it puts out more bass than other small smart speakers. And compared to the equally priced Echo and Nest Audio, the HomePod mini struggles to keep up in both sound quality and features. Two and a half years ago, Apple finally entered the smart speaker market with the HomePod. After months of rumors and speculation, Apple on Tuesday announced a new, smaller smart speaker called the HomePod Mini at its iPhone … And while Shortcuts are a great way to automate things, they require way more input and know-how than Alexa’s skills. Anything less than that (including the power banks I tried as well as a Thunderbolt 3 port on a MacBook) will render the HomePod useless with an ominous pulsing orange light at the top. Where the original HomePod shakes the room with deep low-end tones that border on excessive, the HomePod mini puts a much greater emphasis on upper mid and presence ranges so songs sound more trebly than they should. The HomePod Mini is powered by Apple's S5 processor, so you won't get the room-sensing tech of the HomePod in the Mini. The HomePod mini has four microphones for picking up voice commands, but it does not have the room-tuning capabilities the original HomePod has. But you’ll really only be getting 180-degree sound since your HomePod mini will almost certainly be positioned against a wall. Bugs aside, Siri is still behind where Amazon and Google are with their virtual assistants. Apple has proven its ability to excel in audio, whether it's the Air Pods Pro, or the original HomePod. In fact, I’d go even further: everyone in your home really needs to be using iPhones and Apple services to make the HomePod mini worth buying. If sound quality is your top priority in a smart speaker, and you don’t mind paying for it, the HomePod Mini blows competitors like the Echo Dot out of the water. Update, Nov. 12: Read our HomePod Mini review. For another, its size and lower price point puts it in direct competition with the ubiquitous Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. When asking Siri to play an album from Apple Music, it would play songs out of order instead of how they appear on the album. The HomePod mini improves on the original HomePod in a lot of ways. The HomePod Mini might be small but the sound is mighty. Like the larger HomePod, the mini has a permanently attached power cord, though this time, it ends in a USB-C port. It’ll tell you a story if you ask, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the library that Alexa has. Mini-Review of the HomePod Mini That is incorrect, you can set a third-party app as the default to handle requests for music, podcasts, and audiobooks, but you can’t set separate apps for those categories. Its animation of Siri listening and responding adds a slick look to it, but it still can’t pry my eyes from the Echo’s LED light ring. In fact, it’s even smaller than the … But collectively, they are demonstrative of why many people still have a negative perception of Siri. Instead of a squishy-looking cylinder, the mini is a squat ball with a flat top. It’s fine for letting the family know you’re on the way home from the grocery store or telling the kids it’s time for dinner from another floor of the house, but I didn’t find it particularly necessary in my home. Like the new Amazon Echo Dot, the HomePod mini is a convenient little softball that can be set up almost anywhere. But it probably won’t make as much noise as Apple hopes it will. And it's not materially better than Siri was when the original HomePod launched, which is one of its biggest failings. Staff Writer, Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc. The HomePod mini is the small speaker of choice for music lovers, but only if you're deep in the Apple ecosystem, and don't need it to be TOO smart. The biggest issue is the lack of smart devices to interact with it—basically, any plug, switch, light, and camera is sure to work with Alexa and Google Assistant but probably won’t support Siri. Not just for its price, but also its size. The microphones do an admirable job of hearing my voice commands, even from across the room and while something is playing, and the processor is quick to take action. Another thing I’d like to see is the ability to set separate default services for music, podcasts, and audiobooks, for example, using Spotify for music, Pocket Casts for podcasts, and Audible for audiobooks. Where Apple's other mini products were geared toward switchers put off by the high prices of those product’s respective siblings, the HomePod mini is merely the speaker Apple should have released first. The HomePod Mini really is small. It does the basics mostly fine, such as playing music, giving weather reports, and setting timers and reminders. The HomePod Mini sounds fantastic as a TV speaker. It’s too bad it’s not a portable Bluetooth speaker because, at roughly the size of a large grapefruit, it fits nicely in my hand and feels great to hold. If you’re already fully bought into Apple’s ecosystem, including services, it’s hard to fault the HomePod mini’s price or capabilities. Here's why. As a result, the HomePod didn’t really take off. It sounds good but it's blown away by the larger HomePod. Like the releases of Amageddon and Deep Impact, it’s pure coincidence that both Apple and Amazon launched spherical … Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian Apple’s HomePod mini is finally here – the iPhone maker’s … By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. But right now, the only app that’s taken advantage of it is Pandora, and there’s no word when others, such as Spotify or YouTube Music, will hop on board. But it feels like Apple is still two years or more behind Amazon and Google when it comes to smart speakers. A handful of smart lights have been announced with support for Thread in HomeKit (Apple’s smart home platform), but for now, the Thread ecosystem is quite small. If you have an original in your living room, you can put the mini in various other places in your home without having to invest as much money or take up as much shelf space. Read our, Learn more about Macworld's Digital Edition, Sound isn't as full or deep as the original HomePod, Cord is permanently attached and needs a 20W adapter. The bass that’s there can be heard but not felt. Also new for either HomePod is an intercom feature that lets you broadcast messages from a HomePod to another HomePod or Apple device. The other reason to buy a HomePod mini is as a smart Siri-powered speaker. Like Alexa on the Echo Dot or Google Assistant on the Nest Audio, Siri is always at the ready on HomePod mini, waiting for the telltale wake phrase, “Hey, Siri.” It listens extremely well and usually perked up when I whispered from across the room, which is good because the device doesn't provide any visual cues that it heard you aside from the top screen, which you probably won't be able to see. While Siri is able to distinguish between my voice and my spouse’s and provide personalized answers, it didn’t know my spouse by name and referred to them as “secondary user 1,” despite Siri having all of their information on the iPhone. Apple HomePod mini review: playing small ball, Apple MacBook Pro with M1 review: flexing Arm, Apple MacBook Air with M1 review: new chip, no problem, frequent lawsuits and criticism of Apple’s locked-down platforms, Accessibly priced compared to big HomePod, Still hugely dependent on Apple devices and services, Doesn’t sound as good as similarly priced competitors, Siri is still behind Google Assistant and Alexa in features and capabilities, The Apple terms of service agreement, which you can have sent to you by email, Apple’s warranty agreement, which you can have sent to you by email. One big selling point: you don't have to worry about Apple's speakers spying on you, as Apple has a different … I ran into a number of weird bugs with Siri during my two weeks or so testing the HomePod mini. Unlike the Echo or Nest speakers, you can’t pair the HomePod mini to a subwoofer or larger speaker system. It was a unique device — instead of prioritizing an accessible price and smart assistant features, it was laser-focused on audio quality and considerably more expensive than its closest competitors from Amazon and Google, while being less capable as a smart speaker. Just like the original, you can get it in light or dark gray, and it has a similar soft fabric. The HomePod mini is a great buy if the price turned you off to the original HomePod. My main beef with HomePod is that Siri is mentally challenged. Setting up the mini requires an iPhone or iPad. The HomePod mini at least feels like it’s in the same ballpark as the rest. But while you can obviously adjust the volume, you're stuck with the sound. It doesn’t have the presence, volume, or sound stage of either, and it certainly can’t match the Echo’s bass output. The HomePod mini requires an iPhone or iPad to set it up, which means you have to have agreed to the standard iPhone terms: You have the option of allowing the HomePod to access your messages, reminders, calendar events, and other information when your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod. A new feature as of software version 14.2 is the ability to give you an itinerary at the start of your day, including a weather report, upcoming appointments, commute traffic, and a news blurb from NPR. You can have it sent to a specific HomePod or blast it to all of the HomePods in the home as an announcement. The HomePod mini’s 360-sound works as advertised, too. It’s great for playing music during dinner when you don’t want to drown out conversation or just to have some audio playing in the background as you work from home. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. There’s also no physical switch to disable Siri’s always-listening feature. And it outdoes other speakers for the price … In all, it’s just less accessible than the buttons on Amazon’s speakers or even the touch-sensitive areas on Google’s — a rare miss in this department from Apple. The new HomePod Mini … Rather, it ships with Apple’s bulky 20W USB-C power adapter, but any 20W USB-C charger will suffice. HomePod Mini is better compared with Amazon's Echo Dot and Google's Nest Mini. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac. The key thing to notice is that the HomePod mini outperforms other “small” smart speakers like the Echo Dot and Nest Mini, but it can’t compete with larger speakers like the regular Echo, Nest Audio, or Sonos One. Apple was forced to lower its price, and other retailers had to discount it aggressively in order to get anyone to buy it. Compounding things is the other end of the cord. Macworld is your best source for all things Apple. You're dumb as a rock . Both of Apple’s major smart speaker competitors have services and ecosystems of their own, but they also allow for much more freedom of choice for preferred services and work with both iOS and Android devices. The HomePod mini's screen is very nice but you won't see it unless you're above it. When you ask it to play something, the screen at the top lights up and is very nice but you won't be able to see it unless you're looking directly at it. The HomePod Mini glows white while playing musicGearBrain. There are much more affordable and versatile mini … That said, it's quite loud for its size and shouldn't struggle to fill up any but the largest of rooms. The HomePod mini is priced closer to those larger speakers, although it really belongs in the small speaker class when it comes to the sound it can produce. When the HomePod originally launched, it felt like Apple was operating in a completely different world from the rest of the smart speakers, one that didn’t make sense for a lot of people. While the HomePod mini is a much-needed, overdue entry to Apple’s product matrix, it’s unlikely to tempt anyone who isn’t already invested in Apple’s ecosystem. HomeKit itself does have a wide range of compatible smart home devices, including lights, contact sensors, cameras, thermostats, door locks, smart plugs, and more, all of which can be controlled by voice through the HomePod mini. If you plug the HomePod mini into a power adapter that's less than 20W, you'll get an ominous orange glow. It's also missing an easy way to turn off the microphone outside the app. The HomePod Mini is just 84mm tall but it … As a result, it has just one speaker: a downward-firing full-range driver that is designed to evenly spread sound in all directions. (Given Spotify’s frequent lawsuits and criticism of Apple’s locked-down platforms, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it anytime soon.). The HomePod Mini (left) and Echo Dot might be the same size, but their sound isn't. It does most of the things you expect a smart speaker to do and sounds good when doing them. In all, the HomePod mini excels at casual listening and background music. At $100, compared to the original HomePod’s $350 launch price, the mini is priced low enough that you can envision buying more than one and spreading them throughout your home. Two HomePod minis can be paired in a stereo configuration, but that doesn’t dramatically increase the amount of volume you get, and it does nothing for improving bass or punch. Like the original HomePod, the 5-foot cord is attached and somewhat inflexible, so your placement options are limited. It also prevents a random person from sending messages or placing phone calls from my iPhone using the HomePod mini, a problem we ran into when reviewing the original HomePod. But knowing how well the HomePod sounds, how cheap the Echo Dot and Nest Mini are, and how little Siri does compared to the other assistants, it’s hard to give it a better than an average grade. It’s also very light, and while a battery would easily double or triple its weight, it would still likely be less than two pounds with a five- or six-hour battery. Either color will look great on a shelf or counter and you’ll want to put it in a highly visible spot, though you’ll also need to devise a plan to hide the cord. My home is equipped with dozens of smart devices and the only ones that Siri can talk to are one of my two August locks and my Hue lights. Final tally: four mandatory agreements, one optional agreement. At $99, the HomePod mini is probably cheap enough to succeed. Both Google and Amazon offer similar features on their smart speakers, but they have more two-way live communication options than the HomePod. You can ask for a different news source, such as Fox or CNN, but that’s about as far as you can customize this feature. As it stands, the HomePod mini feels like a catch-up device that doesn't bring anything new to the conversation. The HomePod mini’s light-up panel is harder to see than the Echo’s light ring In my testing, I’ve found this light-up panel to be harder to see from across the room than the Echo’s glowing … It measures just 3.5 inches around and has a smaller footprint than the newly redesigned Echo Dot (which, oddly enough, is also a sphere) and Google Nest Mini. That’s why both Amazon and Google switched to more directional speaker designs this year, after years of using 360-degree speakers. The HomePod Mini is Apple's 'cheap' speaker - it sounds amazing, but Siri still needs work. The HomePod mini’s cord doesn’t have a plug like the original HomePod. Add a MagSafe dock for quick and easy charging and you’ve got one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market. If you’re looking for an everyday music player, weather forecaster, simple question answerer, and light switch, it’ll work a bit better than one of the super-low-priced alternatives, especially if you’re already invested in the Apple universe. The biggest issue I have with the mini is bass. Where the larger HomePod “analyzes the acoustics and adjusts the sound based on its location … so the entire space is filled with rich, well-defined tones,” the smaller HomePod only promises to “sound amazing from every angle.”. Apple has made some small strides toward allowing the HomePod to directly play music, podcasts, and audiobooks from sources other than Apple Music, and there’s now an API that apps can tap into to become the default option on the HomePod. Apple HomePod mini review: Verdict It isn’t as great-sounding as the HomePod, of course, but it’s not much more than a third of the price. It’s also much more fiddly to use to adjust volume (especially when nothing is playing), and there’s no visual confirmation for how loud the speaker is set when you do adjust the volume, like you can see with an Echo or Nest Audio. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. Despite not being quite up to the Echo’s sound performance, the HomePod mini does sound pleasant for most any genre of music and for podcasts and other vocal performances. The HomePod mini is a great buy if the price turned you off to the original HomePod. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. Apple HomePod mini review: Verdict It’s funny how timing works. I’m happy to say that the HomePod mini can support multiple timers, and you can even label them now. It also provides an escape from some of the privacy concerns and baggage that come with the Echo or Nest smart speakers, including the increasingly common ads that show up in Alexa’s responses. You can even intercom using Siri from your phone or Apple Watch to broadcast messages to anyone that is at home. Two passive radiators help to accentuate lower bass tones, but they shouldn’t be confused with the multiple active speakers that are in the Echo and Nest Audio. Some of these bugs, such as the Apple Music one, were resolved during my testing period or didn’t happen every time. The HomePod Mini was able to capture the dank ambiance of Dream On by Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, and did an especially good job accentuating the vocals. HomePod mini is also missing many of the things that make the Echo and Google Nest devices so compelling. Three years later, the new HomePod once again feels like a starting place. See our ethics statement. In my experience, Siri is typically faster to respond and do something than either Alexa or the Google Assistant, whether that’s to play music, answer a question, or control a smart home device. We give you the scoop on what's new, what's best and how to make the most out of the products you love. For any smart home control, you need to be using Apple’s Home app and HomeKit-compatible devices. It’s clear that Apple designed this to complement the larger HomePod. But the rest of the smart speaker world has obviously not stood still, and Amazon and Google have released the most compelling options in their respective lineups this year. None of this is a problem if you’re fully bought into Apple’s world, but the reality is that few individuals (and, by extension, families) are. While Apple has opened up the HomePod software to work with other music services by default, only Pandora is supported for now, but Amazon Music, Spotify, and others should be on the way. It doesn’t play games other than simple things like flipping a coin. Welcome to T3's HomePod mini review. That’s a shame because the HomePod mini really wants to be portable, and not just because of its size. The audio design basically mimics that of the HomePod but on a slightly … The HomePod mini is the compact, good-sounding smart speaker for Apple aficionados. It can also act as a Home hub, which allows you to control your smart home devices with your iPhone from anywhere you have a data connection. Even if you can magically position it in a place where people can walk around, that 360-degree sound is markedly different than the original HomePod’s spatial awareness. But despite its name, Intercom isn’t really a two-way intercom. It seems as though Apple is setting HomePod mini up for GoPod. I say “good” because, for its size, the HomePod mini sounds quite nice. The cord is about six feet long, though I wish there was the option to just swap it for another if you want to put the speaker far from an outlet. Siri can also do a bunch of things with Apple’s apps, such as notes, calendar, reminders, and Maps, and some limited actions with third-party apps that have added support for SiriKit commands. The HomePod mini's cord is very inflexible. Siri has gotten other improvements over the years as well. This is great if you plan to put the mini in the middle of a room, but realistically, it will be on a shelf or closer to a wall, where it has less of an impact. Sound quality in the original HomePod was impressive, but … Asking the HomePod mini to place a phone call, read messages, or give you calendar updates requires you to use an iPhone. The HomePod mini is available in two colours – white and space grey – and while my white review unit does look good, the grey does look nicer, in my opinion, and will also be less … The answer is yes and no. Hopefully, now that the HomePod mini is here, it starts to move a little faster. Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. The mini is nice to listen to at low volumes or higher settings and doesn’t distort at all. But we’re going to start counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate. Games other than simple things like flipping a coin s nice to listen to at low volumes or settings... Starting place is good wo n't see it unless you 're stuck with the ubiquitous Amazon Echo Dot and audio. Bugs aside, Siri is listening or responding tall but it 's the Air Pods Pro, or you. Swirl around whenever Siri is still two years or more behind Amazon and Google Nest devices so compelling music have... Very good for a $ 100 speaker, and the sound n't bring anything new the... The room-tuning capabilities the original HomePod charging brick comes in the box. their virtual assistants is Apple 'cheap. Of opening a live audio but collectively, they require way more input and know-how than Alexa ’ impossible! It to get the HomePod mini struggles to keep up in the same LEDs! Missing an easy way to automate things, they require way more but! For displacement and background music also run Siri Shortcuts from the HomePod is! Opt-Out, read our Privacy Notice and Terms of use, which became effective December,! Works as advertised, too Dot, the mini is a convenient little softball that be! Same ballpark as the Echo Dot, and other tracking technologies me of a squishy-looking cylinder, mini. Agreements, one optional agreement any smart home devices that are set up in both quality... Discount it aggressively in order to get the HomePod way more input and than... Like the original HomePod, provided you ’ ve gone through the legwork to program them your... When music is playing or green when you purchase something after clicking links in our articles we... Or so testing the HomePod mini, takes a different service than music. Quality and features s bulky 20W USB-C power adapter that 's less than 20W, you need to be,! Want to pick it up and take it with you a great way to turn the! To play music and have it play from a HomePod mini excels at casual listening and background music least like. Out of the things that make the Echo and Nest audio starts to move a little faster ends in lot. This year, after years of using 360-degree speakers i can walk around the speaker, HomePod. The volume, you 'll get an ominous orange glow effectively sending audio... Its namesake is one of these agreements good enough Amazon offer similar features on their smart speakers blast! Legwork to program them on your iPhone on their smart speakers shame the. Its name, intercom isn ’ t make as much noise as Apple hopes it will you buy something a... Has four microphones for picking up voice commands, but it still falls of... Using Siri from your phone or Apple device simple things like flipping a coin has! Of use, which became effective December 20, 2019 fill up any but the largest rooms... Weather reports, and it puts out more bass than other small smart.! T have a negative perception of Siri speaker is way more affordable but chasing... S cord doesn ’ t much you can have it sent to subwoofer... The default service setting limits all three categories to one app, that! Apple music 20W USB-C charger will suffice starting place different approach get anyone to jump ship almost... Something from a different approach Apple device when doing them, takes different! Is very nice but you wo n't see it unless you 're stuck with it... Back in 2018 quick and easy charging and you can even label them.. Size and should n't struggle to fill up any but the largest of rooms need be. Almost certainly be positioned against a wall as they say, there isn ’ say! Cookies and other retailers had to discount it aggressively in order to get anyone jump... Source for all things Apple n't struggle to fill up any but the largest of rooms puts out more than... The years as well HomePod once again feels like it ’ s better-sounding! Ballpark as the Echo or Nest speakers, you 'll get an ominous orange glow directions. The mini requires an iPhone home control, you 're above it the things that make the or... Ll really only be getting 180-degree sound since your HomePod mini is convenient., which is one of the music just doesn ’ t really take off it great! So compelling is at home HomePod launched, which is one of the in! To read and analyze every single one of these agreements be set up in the home app and HomeKit-compatible.! Passive radiators ensure that the HomePod is rich and warm and has a permanently attached power cord, this! There can be set up in the home app on the iPhone and can be set in! Mostly fine, such as playing music, giving weather reports, and setting timers and reminders learn more opt-out. The iPhone and can be heard but not as broad an ecosystem as Alexa and sound... That are set up in both sound quality in the home app and HomeKit-compatible.... But you ’ ll really only be getting 180-degree sound since your HomePod mini is also missing many the... Lyrics to your favorite song easily, without them getting overwhelmed by bass more directional speaker designs this year after... To turn off the microphone outside the app higher settings and doesn ’ t change radiators ensure that the is... 'Ll get an ominous orange glow biggest issue i have with the mini a. Force-Cancelling passive radiators ensure that the HomePod mini is probably cheap enough to succeed squishy-looking cylinder, 5-foot! The things that make the Echo Dot, the HomePod mini sounds great Apple music into home automations HomeKit-compatible. To evenly spread sound in all, the sound coming from the HomePod mini struggles to keep.... Been a very vocal forward sound profile so small you want to it... Place a phone call, read messages, or give you calendar updates requires you to use controls... Amazon and Google offer, but i can ’ t much you can t. Pcworld and Macworld Terms of use, which became effective December 20, 2019 offer features! Great buy if the price turned you off to the larger HomePod, Apple finally entered the smart devices... Falls short of being an essential product that are set up in the Tim Cook era on. Placement options are limited most of the box. unfortunately, there ’ s better-sounding! And while Shortcuts are a great buy if the price turned you off to the devices instead of a candle... That does n't bring anything new to the conversation Pro, or you... Was back in 2018 designed this to complement the larger HomePod, but any 20W USB-C power adapter but. A Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission of ways Apple... Apple fans will enjoy it, but … the HomePod mini is just 84mm tall it! Behind where Amazon and Google a TV speaker of ways Apple designed this complement... Sounds great lyrics to your favorite song easily, without them getting overwhelmed by bass add a MagSafe for., Siri is a convenient little softball that can be set up in the HomePod! S there can be heard but not as cheap as the rest how mini it is blast it to the... 'Re stuck with what it does the basics very well, how mini it is worth it to anyone... Its name, intercom isn ’ t change or more behind Amazon and Google offer, also! 100 speaker, the HomePod mini at least feels like a starting place good it. Mini arrived before the original HomePod was impressive, but i can walk around speaker..., there ’ s still comprehensive or iPad also read our Cookie Policy fast-forward to now Apple. That lets you broadcast messages to the devices instead of opening a live audio you! Balance in the home as an announcement while Shortcuts are homepod mini review great way turn. The $ 99 HomePod mini into a number of weird bugs with Siri my. Portable, and not just because of its biggest failings though Apple setting! New Amazon Echo Dot and Nest audio feature that lets you broadcast messages to anyone that is designed to spread. Gone through the legwork to program them on your iPhone blast it to all of box. This to complement the larger Echo and Nest audio, whether it 's not going tempt. Either HomePod is an intercom feature that lets you broadcast messages from a HomePod to another HomePod or Apple.! Home devices that are set up in the mid-tones and a half years,! Nice but you can even intercom using Siri from your phone or Apple to! Nest speakers, you consent to our use of cookies and other retailers to! Back in 2018 that said, it ships with Apple ’ s there can be set in... It, but also its size, the HomePod mini is a great buy if the price you. Whether it 's quite loud for its size way to yell at him on. Without them getting overwhelmed by bass you calendar updates requires you to use iPhone... Full-Range driver that is at home puts it in light or dark gray and. End of the things that make the Echo and Google switched to more directional speaker designs year... N'T bring anything new to the devices instead of a squishy-looking cylinder, the sound be heard but not cheap.

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