HomePod – the verdict

Delay

After more than a month of delay caused by DHL Germany, my HomePod finally arrived half a month ago. The cause of this delay was a missing letter in my name and because of this DHL Germany returned the package to the UK. This process alone did take 25 days. But then it finally arrived in the UK and it was again sent back to my home in Germany via Hermes UK, which delivery was much more pleasant and easier.

Arrival

Well, it finally arrived.

Unboxing

The unboxing of the HomePod is as simple as any other Apple product. Just slide up the package and there it is. Well presented and crazily beautiful. The mesh of the HomePod just feels amazingly natural and modern. The design as expected minimalistic and truly apple-like, although it is not an aluminium-body. The cable is as well high-quality fabric.

Setup

Setting up the HomePod is as easy as setting up a new pair of AirPods. Just hold your iPhone near HomePod and a popover will appear on your iPhone. After some steps, the iPhone transfers the Apple ID specific information onto the HomePod, following a quick but quite entertaining introduction of Siri. If Siri cannot connect to the internet or cannot recognize your voice, which happened to me once, it will just skip the last step and instantly play your favourite music mix. The whole process takes up less than two minutes.

Cons

Firstly we will take a look at the cons of the HomePod. Despite being a high-quality speaker, the price of the HomePod feels a lot in the first place if you have not experienced it by yourself. In my opinion, the costs of this device are apple-like a little bit overpriced but compared to other speakers as capable of this one, the price is really competitive. You might now think the HomePod cost almost double of the SONOS One. That’s true however

the sound of the HomePod is twice as good and the abilities of AirPlay are much more convenient than the abilities of the SONOS. You can’t even stream the sound of a Netflix episode to a SONOS without experiencing a delay of 5 seconds.

Another con of the HomePod is the lack of integration in non-apple systems. This problem does not occur to me, but if you don’t own an iPhone you just cannot use the HomePod. (Just buy an iPhone xD)

Siri on HomePod sometimes also conflicts with your other devices. Because of the communication between Apple products you sometimes do not summon the expected Siri by saying „Hey Siri“. Sometimes the HomePod responses even if it is a command that can only be handled by an iPhone, sometimes your iPhone or Apple Watch responses where you cannot really interact with the media played by the HomePod.

Lastly, the worst cons of the HomePod is the lack of intelligence provided by Siri. You cannot even schedule new calendar events or ask her some basic stuff. She can answer stupid questions or tell you a joke if she is in the mood of doing so, however, the difference between Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant is tremendous. You cannot use the HomePod to make calls and additionally most questions follow no response, the way of HomePod saying it does not know what to do.

Pros

The setup will play your favourite music mix at the end, immediately convincing you of the amazing sound produced by such a small piece of tech. The highs are phenomenal, the lows on point and the medium levels perfectly balanced. I never experienced such an amazing sound from a device this small. In my opinion, the sound is better than the sound of our SONOS Play:3 we already had at home. The music feels much more life-like and natural than on the SONOS. The bass is softer

and does not feel like somebody is hitting a barrel with a baseball bat.

Talking with Siri has never felt as natural as on the HomePod. Her voice is on point, it almost feels that someone else is in the room, because it does not sound like a mechanically produced voice. If she answers your question then her response is fluent and mostly short and on point.

Another benefit of the HomePod is its integration in the Apple ecosystems. This may be also a negative aspect but in my opinion, this integration offers a huge amount of quality of live improvements compared to other smart speakers. You can use the HomePod as an individual device or stream the sound of a movie or any other media right through airplay. The delay of the intranet connection is handled by the systems of Apple with ease, so the experience watching a movie feels excellent. Unpairing and pairing are done almost immediately.

You can even control your HomePod by your iPhone while not being connected to the same internet. This comes handy if your home internet provider fails to provide your home with internet and you want to use your iPhone cellular internet instead. If that is the case you can stream to HomePod without having to connect to your Wi-Fi.

Lastly, the HomePods hardware is just amazing and the design perfect. The only cons that appear are software side issues which can disappear with the next iOS update. And yes the HomePod runs a special version of iOS. For example stereo pairing or Airplay 2 which will be released hopefully soon. These features will enable new experiences.

Conclusion

The HomePod is another great addition to the Apple family. It is not as a quality of live improvement as the AirPods where two years ago, but it is still a well-engineered device with awesome sound and great integration in the Apple ecosystem. I am pleased by the interaction with Siri, although her lack of intelligence and I look forward to the improvements to software Apple will take in the next years. I am sure that the HomePod is a great device and if you are an Apple user you should definitely add this device to your home. For me, I will buy another HomePod if stereo paring is available later this year.

Please tell me your opinion in the comments.

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