Apple’s new HomePod mini is the second proposal of the company on smart speaker topics. And this time, it is also the first with a price that could make more than one think to bet on it. Because it must be admitted that the 329 euros of the original HomePod made more than one doubt about whether to buy or not. However, before talking about price and performance, let’s see how it is physically.
A design for any corner of the house
The new speaker proposes a different design, although with common details, to the first model that we already met a couple of years ago. It is now smaller and has a sphere shape where the upper part stands out. There we find a touch panel that lights up in various colors and offers controls to interact with the device.
Depending on the number of keystrokes you can perform different actions such as, for example, raise or lower the volume, play music, pause it or invoke Siri. Although the logical thing, when you are going to use Siri is to do it through the voice command that activates the Apple assistant.
Otherwise, the HomePod mini is available in two colors, white and space gray, and its dimensions are 8.45 cm high, 9.79 cm wide and weighs only 345 grams. It is, as its name suggests, a mini speaker. Although that does not mean that the company itself is very convinced of its capabilities when it comes to playing music.
The sound technology of the HomePod Mini consists of a full-range transducer plus two passive radiators that take care of reproducing and enhancing both deeper bass and clearer treble.
In addition, by its own design it also continues to offer 360 degree sound. So whatever your location, the experience should be the same if you move around the room. However, don’t expect the same experience that the top model offers.
The new speaker does not offer features such as the ability to adapt the sound according to the space nor the possibility of making 5.1 or 7.1 sound settings next to the Apple TV. What it will allow is to enjoy multi-room audio and a stereo setup next to a second HomePod Mini.
For the rest, it is important to know that at the service level it will also be just as limited depending on which ones you use. If you have opted for Apple Music you will have no problems and if you want to listen to radio stations such as iHeartRadio, Radio.com or TuneIn either. But in the case that you are users of Spotify will have to resort to AirPlay, which is still a bummer.
The positive part is that they are expected to open the door to new services shortly. Amazon Music seems to be the next to arrive and we will see if Spotify does too, although the latter does not have a great relationship with the apple company currently. But the arrival of Amazon’s proposal is already interesting in itself, especially knowing the increase in quality it offers now since adding HD audio.
Siri, HomeKit and privacy
At this point the HomePod mini may or may not have convinced you already. Therefore, what may end up determining whether or not you will buy is Siri, HomeKit, and privacy and security of which the company always boasts.
If you are a user of the rest of Apple devices, it is clear that the HomePod mini can be a good complement to your day to day. Not only to listen to music, but also for other uses such as domotic control of the house if you have opted for HomeKit compatible products.
However, if not, then it is clear that the HomePod mini will remain a want and cannot. Because for use as a smart speaker there are much more attractive proposals for price or that even a similar price also give more options to all types of users.
And yes, the issue of privacy and security is important, but you also have to know that both Google and Amazon also make a responsible use of data, no matter how much some say otherwise. What’s more, if they fail, any company can have problems because many of these recordings end up always being listened to by a team of people.
HomePod Mini vs Amazon Ech vs Google Home
Given all this, it is time to compare it with its direct competition. See what it offers and what it does not offer compared to the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. So to start a table where you can quickly see the main characteristics of the three models.
|Apple HomePod mini||Amazon Echo 4th Gen||Google Nest Audio|
|Size and weight||8.45 cm x 9.79 cm and 345 g of weight||13.3 cm x 14.4 cm and 970 g of weight||17.5 cm high|
|Sound||Full-range translator plus two passive radiators. 360 degree sound.
|76mm woofer plus two 20mm tweeters with support for Dolby Audio.
|75mm woofer and 19mm tweeter.
|Voice assistant||Siri||Alexa||Google assistant|
|Price||99 euros||99 euros||99 euros|
As you can see, the base of the three products is practically the same. All these companies seek to offer a product that for a price of 99 euros offer a superior sound experience and a series of extras based on the use of your voice assistant.
This is the point that will really make a difference with the integration of the different services and it must be admitted that the most advantageous of all is the Amazon Echo of 4 generation. Alexa is not only a very capable assistant, but also its home automation platform and compatible services the most complete of all. You can access Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, and even various podcast services.
Not counting how well using voice commands works for anything you can think of, from turning on lights to automating actions, etc. Therefore, in the end everything will be conditioned to your own needs and how you use the rest of the technology that surrounds you.
If you bet everything on Apple, go ahead. The HomePod mini can be a great buy. But if you combine other ecosystems, as much as we have no doubt that it will sound really good, the competition does it very well. And if you are looking for superior quality, then we are talking about other speakers with a price that exceeds those hundred euros.
So the only thing that remains one hundred percent clear is that Apple has succumbed to its rivals and that is why it launches this mini version with a price capable of competing with the good work of both Amazon and Google.