HomePod Mini sounds excellent
Apple’s smart speakers have been around for a while, but have only recently become available in the Netherlands. In our tests, the HomePod Mini sounded a lot better than its Google competitors, but Spotify subscribers might be better off ignoring it.
The HomePod Mini is a small ball with a touch panel on top, on which you can tap to pause music or adjust the volume. You activate the voice assistant with the command “Hey Siri”. Then you can ask the HomePod to, for example, turn on a smart lamp, start music or look up the current weather forecast.
Also nice is the possibility to pass on your music from an iPhone. Tap on top of the speaker and the track on your iPhone will play automatically.
That also works the other way around, so that you can, for example, send a played audiobook on the HomePod back to your iPhone, to continue listening outside the door.
The first HomePod dates back to 2017, while the mini variant has been sold since 2020, but all the while the Dutch market was avoided. Voice assistant Siri seems to be the reason why Apple only now sells its HomePod Mini in the Netherlands.
Because although Siri on your iPhone just speaks Dutch, that was not the case on the smart speakers for a long time.
The voice support works since the last update for the speakers in any case fine in Dutch. We have the idea that Siri always understands our commands well, even when we speak to the speaker half-shoutingly from about ten meters.
Review: The HomePod Mini sounds excellent, but works poorly with Spotify
Smart speaker without Spotify
In terms of basic functions, Siri seems largely similar to the competitor at Google, except for one important point: the smart assistant on the HomePod cannot play music via Spotify. Those who want to start music directly with voice commands are limited to Apple Music or Deezer. It’s unclear why Spotify doesn’t support the HomePod, as the music service does integrate with Siri on the iPhone and iPad.
That doesn’t mean you can’t play Spotify music on the HomePod at all. You can always grab your iPhone, start a track on it and then send the sound to the HomePod via AirPlay. But that is more cumbersome than control via your voice, which is what the speaker is intended for.
It will make little difference to those who already have a subscription to, for example, Apple Music, but we live in a country where Spotify is the market leader.
For many Spotify users, the HomePod won’t be very useful unless they want to switch music subscriptions. Also inconvenient: the speaker can only be set up from an Apple device, so that an avid Android user actually has nothing to do with it.
The HomePod Mini sounds excellent, but works poorly with Spotify
Best sounding smart speaker at this price
The problems with Spotify are annoying, because many people will ignore an excellent sounding speaker. The music sounds full and loud despite the small size, and never seems to come from one small device. Instead, it sounds like the audio is coming from a larger sound system.
According to Apple, this is due to a built-in chip, which constantly analyzes your music and adjusts the settings accordingly.
In any case, it ensures that the cheaper Nest Minis from Google are blown away, and the Nest Audio also sounds less good as far as we are concerned.
There is of course a higher price in return. Apple sells the HomePod Mini for 110 euros, although you can often find it cheaper at stores for a tenner cheaper. The Nest Audio is a lot cheaper with a price between 60 and 85 euros.
The Sonos One sounds a bit fuller and purer, but it costs twice as much as the HomePod.
The HomePod Mini is an excellent sounding smart speaker, which is convenient to operate with its voice assistant and tap control on your smartphone. However, the biggest drawback is the lack of Spotify support.
That makes the HomePod especially interesting if you want to switch to Apple Music or Deezer, but not everyone will just make that step.
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