Apple announced its newest smart speaker, the HomePod mini, earlier this year. It went up for pre-order last week, and launches Monday, November 16.
So, in light of the imminent launch, the reviews for the small speaker are now live. We’ve put together a quick roundup of some of the reviews out there for the more impact smart speaker, with the results being pretty positive across the board. The good news is that, despite its small size, the HomePod mini still sounds great, and activating Siri is quick, too. Best of all, it’s not as expensive as the larger HomePod.
Let’s get to it.
Reviews roundup of the new HomePod mini
Starting off a bit divergent from the general consensus, The Verge says that the small size of the HomePod mini is an overall positive, but it’s actually lacking in sound quality when compared to similarly-priced competitors. The publication also says it’s “hugely dependent” on Apple’s other services and devices, which could indeed be a negative for some potential buyers.
Still, The Verge does say that the HomePod mini offers “good sound”, and that Siri is quick to activate when needed.
Still, as far as sound quality goes, the publication notes that it’s not the size that makes it worth comparing to some larger speakers, but rather the price. The HomePod mini sounds better than other small speakers out there, but when it’s compared to smart speakers near the $99 price point, it’s a bit lacking.
I say “good” because, for its size, the HomePod mini sounds quite nice. It’s considerably better-sounding than the similar-sized fourth-gen Echo Dot, and it puts out more bass than other small smart speakers.
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. 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.
Still, sounds like the HomePod mini is a worthwhile investment for someone looking for a small (smart) speaker.
TechCrunch says the HomePod mini has “big sound” despite its size. Especially the fact it’s just over three inches in size.
Where Amazon switched to a front-facing speaker for the new Echo, Apple continues to focus on 360-degree sound. Your preference may depend on where you place the speaker, but this model is more versatile, especially if you’re not just seated in front of the speaker all day. I’ve used a lot of different smart speakers in my day, and honestly, I’m really impressed with the sound the company was able to get out of the 3.3-inch device.
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. From there, you can specify which one handles the right and left channels. If you’d like to spread out, the system will do multiroom audio by simply assigning speakers to different rooms. From there, you can just say, “Hey Siri, play music in the kitchen” or “Hey Siri, play music everywhere.” You get the picture.
The short of it from Brownlee, or MKBHD, is that the HomePod mini sounds great, it’s a small package, and the price isn’t too bad, either. I’ll just get out of his way and let him do his thing:
Fast Company comes right out and says it: the HomePod mini is a no-brainer for “Apple fans”. That’s due in part to its relatively low cost at $99, but also because it apparently sounds great. What’s more, the publication says the HomePod mini makes Siri “much more useful”.
Indeed, the sound blew me away when I first started streaming tunes. It didn’t sound far off from the quality you hear from the original HomePod, yet it sounded twice as good to my ears to the similarly sized sub-$150 wireless speakers I’m used to hearing. After listening to the HomePod Mini for only a few days, when I went back to my old JBL wireless speakers—and even the speakers on my 16″ MacBook Pro (which are fantastic speakers for a laptop)—both now seem tinny in comparison to the quality of the sound from the HomePod Mini.
Engadget points out that the HomePod mini is still a HomePod, which means it still relies on Apple’s services and other devices — again, not necessarily a net negative for many who are already in the Apple ecosystem. Still, the publication says the small smart speaker has “solid audio quality”, and that pairing two speakers together is a nice experience, too.
The HomePod mini improves on the original HomePod in a lot of ways. Audio quality is very good for a $100 speaker, and Siri is a lot more capable than it was back in 2018. If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem and want a speaker that’s both tiny and sounds good, the HomePod mini is a solid option.
And here’s Engadget‘s review in video form:
The video reviews
Below, you’ll find even more reviews from some of the big names on YouTube discussing the new HomePod mini, either as early hands-on or a full review.
So, do you plan on picking up a HomePod mini? Let us know!