© In my home, we mostly use Amazon Echo for answering general interest questions, telling us about the weather, and playing a little music. is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. I tried this with Sirius. Lockly Vision Is an Effective, If Ugly, Smart Lock, America Has an Addiction Crisis. As shown in the graph below, the overall sound remains consistent regardless of the listening angle, which is logical (and practical! But being late is perfectly acceptable if you’re the life and soul when you arrive – and that’s pretty much the story with the HomePod. I had two listening parties with Apple HomePod, one that was all about music and another that was 75% music and 25% Siri. One other thing: We quickly discovered through testing that the HomePod leaves prominent white rings on unprotected wood, a potentially disastrous problem for owners of fine furniture. Similarly, the HomePod, or more accurately Siri, has impressive chops for quickly deciphering which Apple device you're speaking to and responding correctly, most every time. As shown in the graph below, the volume curve is not linear at soft levels, which of course slightly impairs the volume consistency sub-score. It’s poorly designed (there’s no real flow) and there’s no central place to learn about and manage all your HomePod activities. This is the best current speaker for Apple Music, and it’s a big upgrade over a Bluetooth option. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? The surroundings are only analysed when you use the HomePod for the first time or move it to a new position (there are accelerometers to let it know) and, unlike the implementation of most Sonos speakers, involves no manual measuring on the part of the user. Our dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, taking into account attack, bass precision, and punch. At any time you can see what’s playing on the HomePod and select new tracks or stations by consulting the Music app and choosing the HomePod from the AirPlay menu below the Play/Pause button. Although it's generally for a higher price, Apple also tends to bring the most stylish designs and most reliable tech to us all. It’s all pretty convenient. Finally, my wife informed me that I had lapsed into saying “Alexa.” No wonder HomePod wasn’t responding. We’ve added it to What to look forward to, and will test it soon. The HomePod’s bass precision was excellent when watching movies. And there are, of course, occasional stutters and misunderstandings which, even after a long sequence of positive interactions, can shatter the illusion. Also, there's no easy way to link the volume of both together. “I wish I could,” she said plaintively when I asked her to make a call, “but I can’t help you make calls on HomePod.”. However, the price will be a sticking point for most – far surpassing many smart audio rivals. The Apple HomePod is so, well, Apple in the way you’ll use it. With a diameter of 14 cm, a height of 17 cm, and 2.5 kg on the scales, the cylindrical speaker carries no less than seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier, and a high-excursion woofer. It blows away my first-generation Amazon Echo and is easily as good if not better than my Sonos Play:1 speakers. That just wouldn’t make sense. Assuming you are an Apple user (running at least iOS 11.2.5), setting up the HomePod is an absolute delight. It’s also capable of going very loud, though, and remains composed, clear and unflustered even at maximum volume. It would be nice to somehow have your intentions registered without the need for a key phrase. A scene is a way of controlling multiple smart home device settings with a single command. Apple clearly tailored it for music in the run up to launch, and in concert with Apple Music’s superior curation engine it makes for rewarding interactions in a musical context. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. There’s a screen about using Siri on the HomePod and then one about accessing settings for your iCloud account, including Wi-Fi. Pushing the speaker against a wall brings the best audio performance. I wanted to touch the HomePod, listen to it in my own home and, most importantly, talk to it myself. This really elevates the HomePod experience over that offered by Alexa and Google. But for scale, authority, drive and excitement, the Apple speaker is just superb. Don't Rush to Buy It, Apple HomePod Review: Super Sound, but Not Super Smart (subscription required), Apple HomePod Review: Great sound, but it's trapped in Apple's world, 10 things we just learned about Apple's HomePod smart speaker, The Best Bluetooth Audio Receiver for Your Home Stereo or Speakers, The Apple Watch Is the Best Smartwatch for iPhone Owners, The Best Smart Display for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This is what happens when you’ve been using one voice assistant in the home for years and you start cheating with a different platform. I got good answers for the weather (“Hey Siri, Do I need an umbrella today?”), sports scores and schedules, and the news. I think Apple made a mistake making the Home App the HomePod’s control center. As anyone who has spent time with more than one Alexa device will recognize, this intuition on Siri’s part is priceless: The constant misfires of one Alexa device in one room overhearing and acting on a request to another are maddening. Sorry about that.”. There’s no other physical connectivity on offer, which sadly means no aux-in port for connecting up a record player or other device. Next, it asked me to setup an Apple Music account. This 360° firing capacity must be distinguished from the wideness, however. The tweeters deliver good high-end extension and clear treble. In other HomePod news, the original smart speaker is getting a few new features of its own. Apple announced the new HomePod Mini smart speaker, arriving in November. Even though HomePod has access to my contacts for texts, it can’t use them to initiate calls. You of course get a far wider soundstage, with traditional left and right separation, but there’s also excellent panning across the front and impressive central focus for the musical elements that require it – the vocals, for example. However, be careful what kind of furniture you place it on. When I asked HomePod if I had any upcoming appointments, Siri responded apologetically, “I can’t access your calendar here. When I sought to go much louder, she asked me if I was sure because it could get real loud. Play Join the Dots by Roots Manuva and Charli 2na and you can revel in bass that’s superbly deep for a little speaker, but it's also tuneful, energetic and punchy, putting to rest any fears the HomePod might be a little too Beats-like in its delivery.
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