Several reviews of Apple’s new HomePod mini were published today. The mini, which I covered following Apple’s October event, is considerably smaller and less expensive than the original HomePod. Although we learned a lot about the mini in October, today’s reviews are the first to judge the sound quality of the mini.
Marques Brownlee was impressed with the quality of the HomePod mini’s audio for such a small speaker. Brownlee points out that there are less expensive smart speakers available, ones that support more smart home products, and smart assistants that he thinks are better. However, for a seamless, integrated experience with Apple’s products and great sound, he concludes the HomePod mini is a good choice.
At The Verge, Dan Seifert takes the HomePod mini through its paces too. He concludes:
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. It does most of the things you expect a smart speaker to do and sounds good when doing them. If you’re already fully bought into Apple’s ecosystem, including services, it’s hard to fault the HomePod mini’s price or capabilities. 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.
However, Seifert also feels that Apple’s HomePod mini is behind the offerings available from Amazon and Google both in terms of smarts and sound quality.
Engadget’s Nathan Ingraham has a similar, although slightly more positive, takeaway:
The HomePod mini is a lot easier to recommend than the original was back in 2018. It’s significantly cheaper than the first HomePod, which automatically means more people will consider it. And it’s also a lot more capable than the original was in 2018, with more of the features you’d expect from a smart speaker. And, like the Nest Audio, it sounds very good for the price, making it a solid value for $100.
Brian Heater at TechCrunch concludes that the HomePod mini is a surprisingly good speaker for the price and size, noting about the audio:
It’s full and clear and impressively powerful for its size. Obviously that goes double if you opt for a stereo pair. Pairing is painless, out of the box. Just set up two devices for the same room of your home and it will ask you whether you want to pair them.
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop came away impressed after testing the HomePod mini, both in terms of its sound quality and ability to handle Siri requests:
I love the HomePod mini. It’s useful in accessing my personal information like lists, notes, and calendars, and it allows me the flexibility to play music wherever I want.
The sound quality of the music is really good for such a small speaker—or any speaker. HomePod mini fits almost anywhere you want to put it, and it looks great.
For more unboxing and hands-on videos, there are also videos available from Justine Ezarik:
and Rene Ritchie:
After reading and watching these reviews, I remain excited to try the HomePod mini. I have a bunch of HomeKit devices and have enjoyed the convenience of using Siri with the original HomePod, but it was too expensive to add them to every room in my house and also more speaker than necessary for many rooms. My hope is that the mini will fill in those gaps extending music to more of our home and bringing Siri into earshot in more circumstances.