Apple HomePod Review

Enrest Walugembe Profile image

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Updated December 20, 2022
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Expert Score (From 3 Experts)
75/100

Customer Score (From 6664 Reviews)
4.7/5

Overview

The Apple HomePod is a premium wired smart speaker released in 2018, promising intelligent voice assistant features for indoor users. Unlike most of the best speakers today, this device uses Apple AirPlay, connecting via Wi-Fi 5. It comes with Siri built-in, picking up voice commands from afar easily.

Apple HomePod at WWDC 2017 in white

This speaker has a pleasant, neutral sound profile and retains audio quality even at high-volume settings. Continue reading our Apple HomePod review and check out our Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 review if you prefer a Bluetooth device.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wi-Fi 5 tech with low latency
  • Outstanding 360-degree soundstage performance
  • Low compression at high volume
  • Balanced sound profile
  • Device gets loud

Reasons to Not

  • Poor low bass is not suitable for movies
  • Lacks speakerphone functions
  • Not ideal for outdoor use
  • No Bluetooth
  • It doesn’t support stereo

Market Context

Compared to the same brand’s similar models: The Apple HomePod has a more neutral sound profile, featuring a lower 0.19 slope than the -0.41 slope of the Apple HomePod mini. The HomePod also gets louder, boasting a higher 88.5 dB SPL that beats the 76.7 dB SPL of the mini. See our Apple HomePod mini review for details about the mini.

Compared to other brands’ similar models: The Apple HomePod has a more balanced sound profile, featuring a more neutral 0.19 frequency response slope than the -1.22 of the Amazon Echo Gen 4. However, the Amazon device supports Bluetooth, unlike the Apple device, which uses AirPlay. However, read our Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST review for another great Bluetooth speaker.

Unlike the Sonos One Gen 2, which struggles to pick up voice commands in noisy environments, the built-in Siri voice assistant in Apple HomePod picks up voice commands well. Although these two devices have a similar maximum SPL dB, the Apple has a lower 2.41 dB DRC sound compression than the 4.89 dB of the Sonos portable speaker.

Critic Consensus

Experts adore the Apple HomePod and recommend it for music, podcasts, and voice assistant use. Testers at TechRadar hailed its controls and speakerphone functions. Editors at RTINGS liked its portable 5.5-lb construction. It has a 360-degree design that boasts an outstanding 0.97 dB directivity index, providing excellent soundstage performance, although it lacks EQ settings.

See our Google Home Max review if you desire EQ settings. However, it does not support stereo. This device produces well-balanced sounds with a 53.4Hz to 19.1 kHz frequency response range and good 0.19 slope accuracy. However, it lacks low bass and is not well-suited to movies.

Testers recorded a good 88.5 dB SPL and great 2.41 dB DRC compression at maximum volume. With built-in Siri, this speaker’s voice assistant features are extraordinary, although it lacks a microphone mute button. Check out our Google Nest Audio review if you need a device with a mute button. It connects to AirPlay via Wi-Fi- 5, and testers liked its decent 37 ms AirPlay latency.

For a wall-mounted speaker, check out the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf.