Apple has lifted the embargo on reviews of its HomePod smart speaker. In general, reviewers are impressed with its audio performance but disappointed in its capabilities as a smart assistant and its demand that you live entirely inside Apple's ecosystem.
The HomePod is available for pre-order
now at $349 USD and arrives in stores on February 9th.
Take a look at our roundup of reviews below!The Verge:
The HomePod is a remarkable new kind of audio device. It does more to make music sound better than any other speaker of this kind has ever done before, and it really, truly works. But unless you live entirely inside Apple’s walled garden and prioritize sound quality over everything else, I think you’re better served by other smart speakers that sound almost as good and offer the services and capabilities that actually fit your life.The Wall Street Journal:
If you’re an Apple Music user, the HomePod is the best matching speaker. There is a very close second though. The Sonos One now comes with Alexa, and Google Assistant is expected to arrive this year. It already plays Apple Music via the Sonos app. And Sonos is now offering two Ones for the price of a HomePod. It really comes down to what you want your speaker to do. If you want the smartest smart speaker, this isn’t it. But if you prize music above everything else, the HomePod isn’t a dumb choice. CNET:
● The Good: Apple's $349 HomePod has excellent bass and consistently superior sound quality across a wide variety of music genres. The speaker is easy to set up and Siri can hear you from across a room.
● The Bad: You’re stuck with Apple-only audio services when using voice commands and the HomePod only works on iOS. Some key features, including multiroom audio and stereo pairing, aren’t yet available but are coming soon. Siri and HomeKit lack Alexa and the Google Assistant’s polish and device compatibility.New York Times:
Apple’s speaker is certainly an impressive piece of hardware. Audiophiles will appreciate that it has a woofer with a custom amplifier and seven tweeters. The result is a speaker with a deep bass and rich treble that is loud enough to fill a large room with superb sound. HomePod makes the Amazon Echo and Google’s Home sound muffled and tinny in comparison. But Siri on HomePod is embarrassingly inadequate, even though that is the primary way you interact with it. Siri is sorely lacking in capabilities compared with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Siri doesn’t even work as well on HomePod as it does on the iPhone.TechCrunch:
The HomePod sounds great but on the surface, it’s debatable whether it’s great enough to justify the limitations of its smart features when compared purely on those merits and not as a component of the Apple ecosystem. However, if you’re an Apple Music subscriber, the equation instantly plops in the other direction: it’s near useless to buy any other speaker and this one sounds great, so why not.USA Today:
Apple makes no bones that HomePod is a music-first speaker, and it sounds terrific, all the more notable given how small it is. Vocals were pure, bass deep. At the same time, the new speaker can be an exercise in frustration at times, especially when you request something of Siri that Apple’s digital assistant can’t deliver on HomePod. In answering to your “Hey Siri” vocal commands, Apple’s assistant can perform many of the same table-stakes tasks as Amazon’s Alexa on Echo's or the Google Assistant on Google Home speakers—from setting timers and reminders to informing you of the weather and traffic, turning on smart lights, or solving math. But Siri on HomePod cannot currently hail you a ride through Lyft or Uber, launch a trivia game, or arrange for an audiobook to be played.The Loop:
I’ve been very impressed with HomePod in the week I’ve been using it. The sound when playing music is incredible, and certainly many times better than any smart speaker on the market today. With its access to Reminders, Notes and Messages, HomePod was able to add some functionality, but for me its number one job is as an amazing music speaker. HomePod is smart, it looks great, and it sounds incredible. I don’t know what else you would want in a home smart speaker.