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Apple HomePod reviewapple tv review Great sound but its trapped in Apples world

Apple HomePod reviewapple tv review Great sound but its trapped in Apples worldThe HomePod sounds similar to Googles Home Max and better than the less expensive Sonos One.

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The glows white to tell you its ready for initial setup and green during a phone call. You cant place or accept calls directly from the HomePod, but you can use it as a speakerphone when youriPhone, at Cricket Wirelessis nearby. The various taps and LED status indicators have a slight learning curve at first, but the HomePod is easy to control straight from the speaker.

Unlike the Sonos and the Max, which are typical directional speakers that sound better when you listen from the front, the HomePod is supposedly more versatile. Apple talks up the speakers ability to sit anywhere in the room and create great sound, but I found performance on all sides hitandmiss.

The BadYoure stuck with Appleonly audio services when using voice commands and the HomePod only works on iOS. Siri and HomeKit lack the polish and device compatibility of Alexa and Google Assistant.

In other words, unless you have an exhaustive daase of music you purchased on iTunes, youre going to need an Apple Music subscription. Apple extends a free threemonth subscription to Apple Music when youre setting up your HomePod. After that day period ends, the service costs per month for one person or monthly for a mily plan. College students can sign up for just per month, but Apple will ask you to verify your student status. Those prices in the UK are , for mily and for students. In Australia its AU, AU or AU.

Does the stereo HomePod sound better than the stereo Sonos One? In some ways the HomePod is better, its a more relaxed combo with better extension. But in others the Sonos offers greater articulation and a keenlyhoned stereo .The Homepod is easier to listen to in the long term, and if you listen to lots of abrasive music this might be more important to you. You also dont have to wave your phone around your room for three minutes which is the worst/weirdest thing about the Sonos setup routine Apples microphones do it all for you.

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I listened to a number of different tracks comparing the Apple HomePod in stereo to the Sonos One in a pair from disco, to acoustic, to rock. On a whim, I started with the HomePod and The Replacements Nightclub Jitters and the testing room was immediately transformed into the smoky jazz club the song seeks to emulate. The sound was huge. Meanwhile, the song was offered better stereo separation on the Sonos One with the ride cymbal appearing in the right speaker even though the sense of space was lessened.

Your iOS device prompts you on setup to give your HomePod a dedicated location, sign up for Apple Music if you havent already, and enable something called Personal Requests.

The bric meshwrapped HomePod, available in either space gray or white, weighs a hefty . pounds . kg. Its . inches tall and . inches wide by mm petite compared to the .pound . kg and footwide Google Home Max. But the HomePod feels surprisingly dense when you lift it, as I learned while carrying it through the airport.

Apple says the speaker adjusts itself based on room position, and as I moved the speaker around I could hear the difference as it recalibrated. Overall I found that the HomePod sounded best placed against a wall or in a corner, which is fine since thats where most people will probably place it anyway.

Discuss Apple HomePod review Great sound, but its trapped in Apples world

For a compact speaker, the HomePod offers big sound, and in testing I found it pretty much unflappable no matter what kind of music I threw its way. Its hard to say that about many speakers, regardless of . From dance pop to guitar rock to orchestral pieces, the HomePod sounded excellent. It doesnt produce stereo sound by any stretch youd get more presence or you are thereness from a pair of stereo speakers. But the HomePod is a solid performer you can plonk in your kitchen without having to worry that it might distort at high volume.

Siri still has a lot of maturing to do before it can compete with Alexa or Google Assistant. Buying a HomePod also means youre signing up for a speaker thats built with the Apple Music streaming service in mind. You cant play Spotify and other thirdparty music services straight from the HomePod via a Siri command. Instead, you have to send that audio to your Apple speaker from the corresponding mobile app.

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Most of the time the HomePod and Max sounded similar, with Apple edging ahead for bass extension and balance, though there was one track where the les turned. Dont You by Amber Rubarth, with its rich, reverbdrenched vocals and languid drawl of the violin, sounded crisper on the Google Max. The pitterpatter percussion sounded more immediate on the Google speaker, though the HomePod was able to amplify the boom of the bass drum. Though the Apple device gave a better sense of the hall, it created a distance between the singer and the listener that Googles gadget didnt have.

Before you can start listening to music on your HomePod, you need to configure it. The good news It literally takes seconds to set up. Not unlike AirPods, just holding youriOSdevice next to the HomePod triggers the process. Follow the steps to start playing music and more with Siri on your HomePod.

You can also say, Hey Siri, move the music to the Living Room if you want to switch rooms or Hey Siri, play this song in the Living Room to add a room via voice commands.

What about the Spotify, Pandora, thirdparty podcast apps or any other audio source? Theyre all playable on the HomePod from iPhone,iPad at Amazon, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Mac but youll manually need to tap the AirPlay button on the screen of the source device. Windows PCs running iTunes can also be used as a music source. Thats a big step down from the Sonos One, which works with dozens of music services, as do theGoogle Home at Dell Homeand Amazon Echo speakers.

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With the HomePod in the center of the room, for example, I heard distinct wedges of good and less good sound around the speaker. Sometimes the front sounded great and the back not so much. Sometimes the best sound came from degrees to either side.

Charged with something more challenging, the bass underbed on WW by AltJ seemed more fully formed on the HomePod. The Sonos combo didnt go quite as deep or feel so full, but it is also half the price.

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That Apple Music prompt is important, because when it comes to voice control, Apple services are pretty much the only game in town. Heres what you can ask Siri to play as outlined on the Audio Sources section ofthis Apple specs

The bad news Youll need an iOS device for this. The HomePod and Apples Home app dont work on Androidphonesorlets. Scroll down to the bottom ofthis for a complete list of compatible iOS devices.

Touch and hold the center of the to get Siris attention without having to say, Hey, Siri. A miliar, bluegreenpurple LED status indicator will begin to glow on the to let you know Apples voice assistant is listening. Tap the to play or pause music or to stop Siri midsentence. You can also double tap to skip a song or triple tap to skip back and replay a song.

The HomePod doesnt have a button on the speaker itself to mute Siri, weirdly enough. Both Amazon and Google speakers have dedicated mute buttons so you can manually disable voice control. With the HomePod, you can only decrease the music volume from the speaker itself, which isnt really the same as muting Siri. Instead, you have to use the app or voice control to turn the Hey, Siri feature off or on.

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Apples 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.

One of the tracks that created some separation among the three speakers was Yulunga Spirit Dance by Dead Can Dance. Its the kind of song made for the HomePod the combination of airy vocals, deep booming notes and crisp percussion brought out the best in Apples speaker. The HomePod made the song come to life from its droning beginning, into the palatial vocal line and beyond.

Although the Max presented more of a stereo effect, the sound was a little harsh in comparison, and the Max just wasnt able to dig deep enough in the bass. Sonos, meanwhile, sounded more closed off.

Apple makes impressive claims about the design of its speaker and how that translates to better performance on its website. The tweeters are supposed to provide degrees of consistently good sound, while the microphones with help from the A chip ensure Siri can hear you over loud music from a ir distance, without you needing to shout. The woofer brings that rich bass.

You really need to be OK with these limitations to justify buying a HomePod today, unless you dont care about anything but its stellar sound quality. Everyone else should wait to see what Apple will add to this promising speaker in the months ahead, above and beyond the justreleasedAirPlay .

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The same is true if youuse two HomePods as a stereo pairin the same room. The speakers are supposed to take measurements to get a sense of the space theyre in, as well as where they are relative to each other.

The HomePods bass extension sounds great, but it wasnt always as tight as I expected. The kick drum in Girlfriend is Better by Talking Heads sounded a lot looser than Ive ever heard it before, for example, and resonated a little too long. If you like funk or other s with a prominent deep bass drum, this speaker may not give you the kind of quick response youre used to.

At the top of the speaker, youll find a touch . It isnt a screen, so it cant highres or video content like anAmazon Echo ShoworSpot, but it does have integrated plus and minus signs for adjusting the speakers volume manually. Tap or hold them to increase or decrease volume.

You dont even need to download an app to set up the HomePod.

The HomePod relies on a single, twoprong power cord, which you can plug into any standard outlet. Apple says the HomePod can go pretty much anywhere in your home, from the bathroom to the garage, either near a wall or in the center of the room. Just be aware that the cord isnt detachable as the HomePod doesnt have a battery onboard, so you might have to hide it under a rug if you want to show it off in the middle of a space.

The HomePod claims omnidirectional sound through a feature called spatial awareness. No matter where you put your speaker, a builtin accelerometer movement and motion sensor is supposed to kick in and recalibrate based on its location. This helps it determine how to direct sound and should help ensure consistently good sound quality no matter where the HomePod is and no matter where you are in a room relative to it.

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I really wish the HomePod had a dedicated mute button. It would be good to have another option beyond having to grab your phone or use voice control.

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On a track like WW by AltJ, with its deep bass bed, the HomePod has an authority that the Google Home Max and the Sonos One cant muster. Despite the tracks weighty synth bass, the Apple speaker never struggled. While the other two were balanced, they lacked heft especially the Sonos, which didnt even attempt to reproduce the deep notes.

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AirPlay enables multiroom audio, meaning you can play the same song or podcast in multiple rooms on multiple HomePods, or on a combo of HomePods, Apple TVs andadditional AirPlay compatible devices at the same time. Launch multiroom audio from your iPhone or iPad Control Center by selecting more than one HomePod. Saying, Hey Siri, play a song in the Living Room and in the Bedroom works, too.

Apples , AU Siripowered HomePod smart speaker produces awesome sound across a broad range of genres, it stand out, particularly compared to the Sonos One,Googles Home MaxandAmazons nextgen Echo. Its crazyst setup and excellent longrangeSirimicrophones also make it appealing. Offering multiroom audio and stereo pairing, courtesy ofAirPlay , helps the HomePod compete with Alexa and Google Assistant speakers.

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If you simply say, Hey Siri, play a song, only that HomePod will play. I like that it doesnt assume you always want to play audio on every compatible speaker. That means that you do have to specify in the Living Room and in the Bedroom, though.

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Apples HomePod has seven tweeters, all placed in the bottom of the speaker. Each tweeter has an amplifier and a transducer. Six Siriready microphones sit above that, followed by the woofer and Apples A chip at the very top.

In true Apple form, the HomePod has a sleek, minimal design. It looks good, but not distractingly so, and Im glad you get a couple finishes to choose from. We got a white HomePod and while I like how it looks, I can easily imagine smudging it with repeat handling. The HomePods mesh exterior isnt interchangeable like the Amazon Echos removable shell. What you buy is what you get. You can, however, clean it with a dry or damp cloth.

Its important to note that the HomePod doesnt work as a basic Bluetooth speaker, either. So an Androidtoting guest or mily member wont be able to send any music to the HomePod from their device.

The HomePods uniform sound across so many different s of music separates it from its two main competitors, the Google Home Max and the Sonos One. Most of the time in our tests at s Smart Apartment, the Max and the HomePod sounded similar, with both exhibiting a relatively open sound and good extension, while the lessexpensive Sonos One sounded slightly more distant.

The Bottom LineApples HomePod doesnt match the features offered on Alexa and Google Assistant speakers. But if youre an iPhone user who prizes sound quality above all, you should seriously consider this speaker.

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