Hello, so I am facing a bit of a dilemma. I have an Amazon echo. And while I like it. I am strongly considering purchasing a HomePod. Especially because I am very deep into the Apple ecosystem. The question that I have is, is it worth the $300 that Apple is asking for? I do like how it sounds. Because I saw a demo at my local Apple store. So I definitely would like some opinions from people who have one. Or from people that I’ve ordered the new one but Apple released this week. All comments are welcome.
I’m in a similar boat.
I have also heard and very much liked the sound quality of the HomePod original which had an extra tweeter and microphone compared to this version but I’d imagine the new one still sounds excellent. I have Echo’s all around the house, about 8 of them. I don’t really enjoy the sound quality, it’s fine but not good, pleasant or remarkable. It’s just some sound. HomePod is just much better however HomePod is also very limiting. You can only stream from a few services including Apple Music or airplay from your apple device. No 3.5mm in or out and the biggest head scratcher, no Bluetooth. Siri sadly is another negative that means I’ll probably just stay on Amazon for now. Cost isn’t a factor here but convenience and functionality are. I have Echo’s plugged into amps, a B & W Zeplin and the rest in stereo pairs. Alexa is much better than Siri on my HomePod mini and if I moved to HomePods I’d lose the ability to plug them into really great audio equipment. If you just want a simple box you can plug in that makes pretty great sound and don’t mind Siri and the limitations of no Bluetooth etc I think you’ll be very happy.
I have the first gen HomePod…
I have the first gen HomePod and while I like it, I find I don't use it much. Since I have AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max, I pretty much always use those, especially since spatial audio came out. I thought about getting a second HomePod to make a stereo pair, but didn't before they got discontinued.
Since I don't use the one I have much, and since you can't pair the new one and the old one together, I won't be picking the new one up. It will be interesting to see how it sounds when it gets released.
I don't think a busy Apple store is the best place to demo the HomePod since it's supposed to adapt the sound to the room you put it in. My apartment recently got remodelled and I don't like how much more echoy it is now, which changed the way the HomePod sounds in my living room. Haven't tried moving in the my bedroom to see how the sound changes in there since it's a lot smaller and has carpet in there.
I also have an Amazon echo in the house. As well as a couple of Google homes. I really liked the 360° sound that the HomePod has. But I don’t know if it would be worth me spending the $300 that Apple is asking for. The echo studio is $100 less. But I am definitely deep into the Apple ecosystem.
Just get 2 home mini instead of 1 homepod second gen
Great Sound, Limited Functionality
Price is not an issue for me. Amazon echoes have a tinny sound. Amazon creates good, but not great technology. I bought a home speaker last year and in considering various options I found streaming music support to be very important. I chose a marshal Stanmore Voice that uses Alexa. The Amazon service nicely supports Spotify, Pandora, and Tune In. This enables me to just ask Alexa play xxx on Pandora or Spotify or whatever. I can just say a radio station’s call letters and Alexa finds the station on tune In. I can also give songs thumbs up or thumbs down on Pandora. The original Home Pod and Siri was notorious for not working well with streaming services other than Apple Music, like Spotify, Pandora, tune In, Iheart, deezer, and other services. Also, the lack of Bluetooth support killed my interest in the Home Pod. I wanted a device that could play music without Wi-Fi. In the year since buying my speaker, I have not needed to use Blue tooth for a lack of Wi-Fi. I have used it to stream whole albums or use specific music apps. Most of this could be used with airplay, but my speaker does not support it. The Home Pod is small enough to put into a backpack and take to a party or even a trip and vacation. Yet, with no Blue tooth, your Home Pod will be useless hanging out in a log cabin by a remote lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with no cell service and no Wi-Fi like I will have when I vacation up there this summer. The music may sound great, but today we need versatility in functionality.
A couple of things to…
A couple of things to consider through my own experience with the first generation HomePods:
1. They are super bass heavy. Not a problem in a detached property but if you're living in an apartment block, as I do, you'll have some annoyed neighbours.
2. The sound quality, especially two of them, is excellent.
3. Siri is crap. When she works, it's fine, but as it is the only means of controlling the device really aside from using your phone, it's an issue. I've had both HomePods and HomePod minis and when they are attached to an Apple TV, siri rarely plays music, usually getting a "I'm sorry, there is a problem with Apple Music"
4. ON that note, it is locked down to Apple Music unless you, again, take out your phone to use airplay. But if you are jus using airplay, there are better solutions.
5. Home theatre, where they work as the sound output for your Apple TV is good, though, with a pair, you lack a centre channel so speech is more difficult to follow than on a purpose built sound bar.
6. If they worked consistently, not dropping wifi which, as a note, has been downgraded in the latest ones, they are worth it. As it stands, I think they are over priced.
I too was considering them, but as there is no improvement in sound, siri will still be choosy, the wifi has dropped from 5 to 4, I've decided to give them a miss. I think there are better offerings out there from people such as Sonos that can work with google, Alexa or its own personal assistant that can play Apple Music as well as. a range of other services. Another thing to bear in mind, maybe, is that there are likely to be other HomePods in the future, there is talk of a sound bar with a camera and Apple TV built in which sounds far more interesting to me. This is old tech, cheapened for mass market. Personally I'd probably get a pair of Sonos 1s for slightly more, have a proper stereo listening experience. I think spacial audio is a bit of a gimmick.
though, saying all this, there are generous return windows. If you are thinking of going down this road, maybe leave it a couple of months, check reviews, there may even be some deals that show up, and then try them, return them if they aren't what you hoped. When they work, they are good speakers, when they don't, it is very disappointing. Just look on apple Reddits regarding siri and issues with them that simply don't happen with Sonos products.