Apple fulfilled long-term rumors by eventually asserting the HomePod Mini, a successor to the bigger sensible speaker that’s designed for smaller areas and extra private wants. Apple has modified rather a lot concerning the HomePod with the change to a small model — so, we’re having a look at precisely how the audio system are totally different and which iteration is best for you.


Pricing and availability

One of the vital frequent complaints concerning the unique HomePod (launched in 2018) was that it was probably the most costly sensible audio system in the marketplace. That’s nonetheless true: The unique mannequin will value $299 to order at this time. The speaker is obtainable in white or House Grey, however in any other case, there aren’t any customization choices.


The HomePod Mini, alternatively, is priced very competitively at $99, the identical because the fourth-generation Amazon Echo. It, too, is obtainable in white and House Grey.

Winner: The HomePod Mini wins simply on value alone. Nonetheless, these two audio system are so totally different and designed for such totally different areas that it’s troublesome to check them solely on the price.

Design

The design variations between the 2 HomePods are stark: The unique HomePod is designed to have a central location with its giant, cylindrical form, and the concentrate on competing with previous Amazon Echo gadgets is evident. The material materials helps shield the interior audio system, whereas the strong 5.6-inch base wants a little bit of house. There’s a easy LED gentle on the high to function an indicator and allow considerably complicated contact controls — faucet for quantity controls, press down for Siri, double-tap to skip songs, and so forth.

The HomePod Mini goes for a really totally different method. This rounded speaker sports activities a bulbous design and is way smaller — solely 3.3 inches excessive and three.9 inches vast. This enables it to sit down extra comfortably on slim cabinets or mattress stands, and also you don’t have to seek out as a lot house in your desk so as to add a HomePod Mini companion. The LED controls even have a colourful improve and extra apparent management buttons for quantity.

Winner: HomePod Mini. The little orb appears nice and is less complicated to place wherever you need.

Audio system and sound

Apple

The unique HomePod is supplied with a high-excursion woofer and 7 tweeters, plus spatial consciousness expertise to adapt sound for the room it’s in. Though the HomePod is just a few years previous now, these audio system nonetheless present a number of the greatest sound we’ve heard from a wise speaker.

The HomePod Mini is designed extra for accessibility than for sound. It solely has one full-range driver, plus a design that features twin passive radiators for amplification (Amazon’s latest Echo does a bit higher with a 3-inch woofer and twin 0.8-inch tweeters). The particular consciousness tech isn’t accessible on the Mini, both. That makes the smaller speaker designed extra for up-close, private sound for one individual — it’s one other indication that the HomePod Mini is most at house in your desk when you work (or in an identical location). Apple suggests organising HomePod Minis round the home for higher sound outcomes, however this simply raises the price as much as HomePod ranges with out as many advantages for audio high quality.

Each audio system have multiroom audio choices, too. That signifies that in case you have two HomePods of both mannequin, you possibly can hyperlink them collectively and play the identical music/sounds on each on the identical time. This can be a bonus for individuals who have already got a HomePod however are serious about getting a Mini (and it additionally works with AirPlay 2 audio system). Apple has an Intercom mode that permits HomePods to behave as two-way audio gadgets, too.

Winner: HomePod

Siri and sensible options

There’s no battle between voice assistant right here, as every speaker makes use of Siri and has all the identical Siri capabilities. They’ll each act as sensible house hubs for HomeKit house automation and assist AirPlay 2 gadgets.

Likewise, each audio system supply the identical providers. Each are suitable with Apple Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Radio.com, in addition to any Apple Podcasts.

Winner: N/A

Apple TV compatibility

Right here’s one other important distinction between the audio system for anybody who has an Apple TV 4K. The Apple TV 4K has the flexibility to sync up with the unique HomePod and permit it to reinforce your house theater expertise by taking part in sound for no matter you’re watching on TV. That method, you possibly can place the HomePod as an vital ancillary speaker with out the necessity to get a devoted speaker to your system.

The HomePod Mini doesn’t have this function — and it’s comprehensible why. The speaker is just too small and targeted on private audio to be a very good match for an leisure system. Even when it might join, it doesn’t have the spatial consciousness choice that’s essential for correct encompass sound.

Winner: HomePod

Which do you have to purchase?

For a private sensible speaker sitting beside you in your desk, the inexpensive HomePod Mini is your best option. For full-room sound and leisure, in addition to connections with your house theater, the unique HomePod stays your best option.

Contemplating the prices, if you happen to don’t have any expertise with HomePods, we propose shopping for the HomePod Mini (the identical goes for giving it as a present, too). This can be a nice entry-level decide, and you may add the bigger HomePod afterward if you wish to construct out your Apple assortment.

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