HomePod Mini assessment: Apple followers will love this $99 Siri good speaker


The HomePod Mini is Apple’s latest good speaker.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Apple’s long-awaited HomePod Mini is lastly right here. The smaller Siri-enabled good residence hub bridges a wierd hole between good audio system, with a $99 (£99, AU$149) price ticket like Google’s Nest Audio and the Amazon Echo however in a small bundle just like the Nest Mini and Echo Dot. (Here’s how Apple’s HomePod Mini compares to the Amazon Echo and Nest Audio.) Apple unveiled its authentic HomePod two years after Amazon dropped its first small good speaker. Cumbersome and costly, it did not sweep the market. Now, Apple is again at it with the HomePod Mini, a smaller, extra reasonably priced good speaker providing. 

Briefly, for those who like Apple — and if Siri is your good assistant of selection and HomeKit is your most well-liked good residence hub — you are going to love Apple’s latest good speaker. For those who’re already dwelling with an iPhone, Apple TV or authentic HomePod the Mini is smart as your subsequent small good speaker. If not, nicely, we have now just a few extra concepts on how you can spend that $99. 

Learn extra: HomePod vs. HomePod Mini: Which Apple speaker is best?

Do not Like

  • Siri nonetheless is not the most effective assistant
  • HomeKit wants extra appropriate equipment
  • Different small good audio system are $50 or much less

Design

The HomePod Mini is small and spherical like its rivals. It is wrapped in an acoustics-friendly mesh cloth, and is available in white or house grey. The contact management pad with LED indicators is almost equivalent to the unique HomePod.

Briefly, Apple did not wow me with a rethinking of the small good speaker. Nevertheless, the HomePod Mini is handsome. It is adorably apple-shaped and predictably glossy. It matches the Apple aesthetic and at 3.Three inches, the HomePod Mini is so small it hides itself simply in your bookshelf, desk or kitchen counter.

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The HomePod Mini subsequent to the unique HomePod.


Chris Monroe/CNET

One observe: the material on the speaker and the spherical form are designed to boost audio high quality. I can not show that it does, however the HomePod Mini definitely would not sound prefer it’s being muffled or hindered by any design options.  


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Apple HomePod Mini is the small good speaker for Siri



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Options

We have reached a degree within the good speaker timeline the place there is a basic expectation of what good audio system can do. If I mentioned, “Nicely, it does all the essential good speaker stuff,” you’d just about know what I meant. Climate, commute occasions, basic information questions, making calls and enjoying music are all normal fare for good audio system from each model.

That is the story right here. The HomePod Mini does the Siri issues we have come to anticipate. Options are software-based and up to date as Apple sees match on each the HomePod and HomePod Mini. I will define among the options I examined on the HomePod Mini. A few of these are additionally coming (or already current) on the bigger HomePod. 

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The HomePod Mini is small and glossy.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Intercom

Apple’s new Intercom function catches as much as Google’s Broadcast and Amazon’s Drop In capabilities. On the HomePod or HomePod Mini, you possibly can ship a voice message to different Apple units in your house. Different customers can ship a voice reply again by saying, “Hey, Siri, reply…”

Intercom labored rapidly in my testing. You’ll be able to select to show off Intercom within the Residence app settings for every gadget. It’s also possible to choose when to obtain notifications. Your choices are “By no means,” “Once I’m residence” or “Anyplace.” Nice information for folks and horrible information for teenagers — Intercom can ship voice messages to all of the iPhones‌, ‌iPads‌, Apple Watches ‌and AirPods within the household. (That is nonetheless not almost as dangerous as when your father might walkie-talkie squawk you in your Nextel in 2005.) 

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Handoff transfers sound out of your telephone to your HomePod Mini and again once more.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Handoff

Sending audio out of your iPhone to your good speaker and again once more is straightforward with Apple’s handoff function. It really works with HomePod or HomePod Mini when your gadget has Bluetooth turned on and is on the identical Wi-Fi community as your good residence audio system.

Hover the telephone near the speaker and you will really feel haptic suggestions and see a notification seem to let the audio is transferring to the HomePod. If you’re able to put the audio again in your telephone, the method works in reverse. 

This could be my favourite HomePod Mini function. It is easy, and it really works with out tapping or asking Siri to do something. Because of the HomePod Mini’s U1 ultra wideband chip, handoff will get higher in future updates with improved visuals, haptic suggestions and audio results.

Stereo pairing

You’ll be able to pair two HomePod Minis collectively for stereo sound. I examined this with a third-generation Apple TV, and a nature documentary crammed with scurrying animals and majestic theme music. Left and proper channel separation is straightforward to arrange whereas creating the speaker pair and it really works nicely. 

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Two HomePod Minis might be paired for stereo sound.


Chris Monroe/CNET

This is not an Apple-only function. Google and Amazon good audio system can do that, too. I actually loved the sound and channel separation of two Nest Audio audio system once we examined them earlier this 12 months. Whereas two HomePod Minis won’t compete with a high-end surround-sound system, they’re definitely an improve out of your TV’s inventory speaker, particularly for those who can place them strategically in your leisure house to benefit from that channel separation.  

Audio high quality

Apple packed plenty of audio energy right into a small speaker. It is loud sufficient to fill a room with sound. Bass, mids and treble are all distinct and simple to detect. In comparison with the newest Echo Dot and Nest Mini, the HomePod Mini is clearer and fewer distorted. 

Evaluating the sound between the HomePod Mini and different $100 good audio system is a little bit of an unfair combat. Clearly an even bigger speaker just like the Echo or Nest Audio will ship larger sound. Whereas the HomePod Mini is unquestionably loud for its measurement, the comparability in audio remains to be a lot nearer to the Nest Mini or Echo Dot. Nevertheless, these audio system often value lower than $50. 

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From left: Amazon Echo Dot (2020), Nest Mini, HomePod Mini.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Relating to pure quantity, the Echo Dot was the loudest in our exams, however at full quantity it additionally generated sufficient distortion to distract from the listening expertise. The Nest Mini is not as loud, and it would not have the identical distortion points, however it lacks highly effective bass.

In the meantime the HomePod Mini hits the candy spot. It does a superb job of balancing audio. You continue to get loads of bass with out sacrificing readability. I even discovered myself noticing components in songs I hadn’t seen earlier than because of its clear sound separation. 

For those who’re actually into music, likelihood is you are not betting your listening expertise on any of those pint-size audio system. You would be proper to maneuver alongside. On your similar $100, you will get higher sound from the Nest Audio and Echo. For those who should have an Apple speaker, and should have top-notch sound, it could be prudent to search for a deal on the $300 authentic HomePod.

Residence candy HomeKit

The HomePod Mini, just like the bigger mannequin, Apple TV and iPad, is a Residence hub. Meaning you’ll arrange a whole Siri-controlled good residence with the assistance of this little speaker. The query is — do you need to?

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Arlo Professional and Professional 2 cameras work with Apple HomeKit. 


Chris Monroe/CNET

HomeKit nonetheless presents the fewest appropriate good residence merchandise in contrast with Google and Amazon. Your choices for cameras, thermostats and good locks are restricted. There are not any good show choices except your iPad can serve the aim.

For those who’re into DIY good residence experimentation, you possibly can create workaround with plugins from Homebridge, a server you possibly can run on your own home community that bridges non-HomeKit units to the iOS HomeKit API. That resolution is not going to be snug for everybody, however it does exist. 

Siri additionally is not probably the most intuitive, smartest or most private voice assistant. In our HomePod Mini testing there have been nonetheless basic information questions that Siri did not perceive or could not reply.

This is a latest, however admittedly trivial instance. I requested all three assistants, “Who performs Batman?” Siri’s response was, “Sorry, I can not allow you to with that, however for those who inform me the title of the film or television present, I can lookup the forged for you.”

In the meantime, Alexa solely supplied up Ben Affleck, and Google knowledgeable me, “Batman has been performed by 51 actors. Listed below are the primary three; Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck.” Certain, I need not know the chronological listing of Batmen in my each day life, however for those who’re making an attempt to settle a household argument, these type of smarts matter.  

For anybody who’s frolicked with Siri on their iPhone or Apple TV over time, these shortcomings won’t flip you off. Maybe you’ve got vowed to reside with, love and cherish Siri as your voice assistant, character flaws and all. In that case, keep on. Add a HomePod Mini or two to your life and luxuriate in nice sound with the Siri you already know. 

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HomePod Mini is Apple’s reasonably priced good speaker for nearly everybody.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Conclusion

For those who’re an Apple fan, you are going to love this $99 good speaker. It is as low-cost as Apple merchandise will probably ever be. It sounds nice, seems to be good and delivers the good speaker performance we have all come to anticipate because of its rivals. In case you have an iPhone and an Apple TV, it is a no brainer to go the HomePod Mini route for establishing your good residence. 

It is not for everybody, although. For those who’re an Android telephone person, the HomePod Mini will not invite you into HomeKit. That is OK, as a result of you’ve gotten a plethora of extra reasonably priced choices to select from. Spend the identical $100 and get two (and even three if a sale is occurring) Echo Dots or Nest Minis. Pair them in stereo sound, join 1000’s of appropriate units to them and luxuriate in. You can additionally splurge on the Nest Audio or Amazon Echo for larger, higher sound in a single speaker. 

For those who’re an iPhone person, however you haven’t any different Apple units, your soul-searching will probably be a bit extra difficult. You will want to think about what good residence units you really need in your house and whether or not or not Siri can assist them. Google and Alexa good residence apps work nicely on iPhones, so you’ve got received three succesful suitors searching for the keys to your good residence. 

The excellent news right here is that there’s lastly an reasonably priced Apple choice for HomeKit and Siri lovers. The HomePod Mini is as on-par as Apple desires to make it with Google and Amazon’s choices, and I would suggest it to anybody invested within the Apple universe. 



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Anil Kumar

Anil Kumar Gadgets writes for Review Tech smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers based in Delhi for 360 Tech News. Anil Gadgets is a reviewer for 360 Tech News and has written in detail about smartphones, software updates and upcoming devices.

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