This is an aggregated Apple HomePod review. I have tried to put together a lot of information based on my research and the information I have collected from various other reviews. Thus, you will not need to read any other review after reading this review. So, read this before you encounter a biased paid review that effects your buying decision.
Apple does not seem bothered by the walled garden label for its products. I say this because the Apple HomePod is no different than any other Apple products when it comes to compatibility with Non-Apple products. If you have felt like being in a mouse trap using Apple products, then the HomePod is only going to aggravate your feelings.
Apple HomePod Release Date
HomePod pre-orders had started on January 26’ 2018 and has started being delivered starting 9th February 2018. To start with the countries in which it is first available are the UK, USA, and Australia. France and Germany will be the next to make to the finish line. If you place an order now you must get it in about 5 business days.
Apple HomePod Price
Once again Apple has not compromised on the price even though the rival products are already selling in the market at much lower prices. Apple HomePod has been priced at $349 in the US. At the same time, the Amazon Echo Dot variants are priced at $ 179.99 and $ 49.99. Similarly, the Google Home is available at $ 129. This makes the HomePod stand nowhere at least in terms of the price.
You can buy it from Apple’s online store. So far I have not been able to find any other online stores selling the product.
Apple HomePod Review
There is no doubt that the Apple HomePod sounds great. It certainly lives up to Apple’s legacy in sound quality but the inbuilt Siri trembles in competing on smartness with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. To add to the misery, if you are an Android user this device is not for you. If sound quality is all that you are concerned about then you should consider buying a Sonos rather and save big.
Let’s us now talk about the pros and cons of the device.
The HomePod has 7 tweeters in its base and an upward facing woofer which makes it sound brilliant. Setting up the device is very easy as well and can be done in seconds with your iPhone. The only compatibility that you need is an iPhone 5 or higher with iOS 11.
The device can be configured for different rooms and does a great job in identifying the available space in different rooms to adjust the sound accordingly. Sounds amazing, however, it is yet to be seen when we start getting user reviews.
Power packed with 6 microphones the possibility of weak listening skills isn’t even a question. If you decide to use it as a chatterbox if you are home alone.
Looks like the AI engine is impressive and plays related tracks for you if you tell the device that you like a particular song.
You can buddy up with the Apple HomePod for more than just listening to music. From what we know, it is efficient in setting reminders, iMessaging integration, weather updates and controlling Homekit supported devices. Apart from that the UI and the UX are as impressive as always and lives up to the expectations you have from Apple products.
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What’s Not Good
With that bunch of positives, you might be swayed to buy it now, but hey! let’s look at what’s not so good before we get ready with our shopping bags.
Most of the shortcomings are associated with Siri. To begin let me tell you that Siri can assist you in playing tracks only from Apple music. If you want Siri’s help in playing music from a service such as Spotify, Siri will turn a sorry face towards you. Another problem that Siri has is more ethical in nature. Siri is heavily biased towards Apple’s own apps compared to alternatives. Siri in the Apple HomePod isn’t compatible with iPhones as well. Your virtual assistant cannot help you make phone calls via commands, you would rather need to place the iPhone on the HomePod after initiating a call. This is a major weakness compared to rivals Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home.
Home Pod can be paired with only one iPhone at a time. Family support is missing. Effectively the device can manage only one person’s music preferences. Google Home beats Apple here as well because it is smart enough to identify who is speaking.
Few other shortcomings that strike me are the inability to play the same track in 2 different devices in different rooms. Neither can 2 units be paired with each other in stereo mode. Bluetooth continues to remain a sore point for Apple like any other device. Yup, you are right, no support!
Having said that in all likelihood Apple will be releasing software patches and updates to make sure it does not disappoint its users. Some of those updates may also contain the ability to pair with third-party apps and devices.
Who has seen the future though you may dig a mountain and realize that a mouse is all that you found? Thus in my opinion at the moment it is not a great buy considering the current price and limitations. Apple fans may have their own opinion though.
I hope this Apple HomePod review has helped you in your decision making to a certain extent.