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Review: HomePod

Over the last week, I have had the opportunity to use the HomePod. The HomePod was originally released in February 2018 and has been the only version Apple has made, in terms of smart speakers so far.

The first thing I like about the HomePod is the size and sound of it, specifically the great bass. When you’re listening to it, you literally feel like you are at a concert without the crowd near you, which for me is a good thing.

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When I say the bass is great, I mean it is the best thing about the audio of this product. It adds another dimension to your music-listening experience and is an aspect of this product I have not seen or heard from the competition.

Its size makes it portable, which is a big deal. This means if you want to take it to someone’s home while throwing a party, this is the speaker to do it from.

Another feature I was also impressed by was the clarity of phone calls when putting them on my HomePod. It makes it so that I can be in the kitchen cooking and still be able to have a good conversation with whoever is on the other end of the call.

HomePod 2
A green dot appears on the HomePod when you are using it for a phone call. 

Additionally, when it comes to the kitchen, it’s good for timers that I can ask for Siri to set up for me. This might sound like a simple request, but it’s the attention to detail that gets the credit. When a timer goes off on my HomePod, it does not go to my iPhone or Apple Watch. That in itself is great because if all of my Apple devices went off, my neighbors might think there was a bomb in my apartment.

A feature of the product I did not see coming is that I can tell Siri on my HomePod to turn on my Apple TV and it will do that, which then turns on my regular VIZIO TV. I can tell the HomePod to pause and play the Apple TV too.

I should include that the HomePod is really sensitive to the phrase “Hey Siri,” which when said, enables you to ask Siri a variety of different questions. There was a night where someone in a YouTube video I was watching said the phrase from my bedroom, and Siri on my HomePod could still hear it in my living room.

Where the product has its problems is mostly with Siri.

HomePod 3
The Siri icon pops up when you say “Hey Siri” on it. 

Since the speaker primarily deals with Siri, and that Siri in itself is a selling point for the product and company, it’s still not all that intelligent.

An example of this is when I ask Siri for a weather report. On my iPhone 8 Plus, I have Siri getting me my weather from CARROT Weather thanks to Siri Shortcuts. However, on the HomePod, Siri gets weather data from the default Apple Weather app.

The HomePod should be mimicking the iPhone 8 Plus in this case, so why would it not be possible for Siri to get my weather information from CARROT Weather?

Essentially, Siri is just not that smart and it shows when compared to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Now.

The last thing I will mention is a problem from Apple, which is the box the HomePod comes in. Normally, this is an area where Apple does well, but for this product, it’s confusing.

HomePod 4
The box my HomePod came in. 

After taking the HomePod box out of the cardboard box it came in for shipping, I initially thought that Apple had sent the wrong one. The box has this shade of white on it that makes you think it is the white HomePod. But no, thankfully for me, it is the Space Gray HomePod.

Still, I would think that Apple, especially Apple, would be able to see this, but they do not. The HomePod comes in the same box it started with when it was released in 2018 and it probably won’t change anytime soon.

Overall, for what it’s worth, the HomePod gets 3/4 stars from me. Siri is still not all that bright to me, but that part is forgiven since the sound quality and bass are what you buy this product for and Apple delivers on it without a question.

If you’re looking for a true smart speaker, I’d say go with an Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot because of how smart Alexa is and how, for the money, they have decent sound quality. If you want a smart speaker specifically for great sound quality, look no further than the HomePod.

Rating: 3/4 stars

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