Apple HomePod review

Apple HomePod review

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Replace: We’ve loyal purchased our review machine for the HomePod in – however clearly we’ll want a few days to test it out earlier than turning in a definitive TechRadar verdict.

On the choice hand, if it is possible you’ll per chance per chance’t wait that long, we’ll be keeping this review updated with some early thoughts to tide you over.

Effectively, we’ve waited a brief while for this one, haven’t we? Nonetheless Apple’s HomePod   is in the end nearing a originate, and we managed to get some time prolonged time paying consideration to it and attempting out out the sound.

Sadly, we weren’t ready to amass photos, nor widely take care of the devices on display hide (that could per chance fair nonetheless be coming quickly, even though) – however we did get to hear all manner of sound and Siri tests with the devices in numerous eventualities, as nicely as some ‘gentle fondling’ of the speaker.

In relation to the use of the Apple HomePod, it’s so, nicely, Apple within the manner you’ll use it. Fancy with the AirPods, merely withhold your phone end to the unit and your handset will ship over your Apple ID, Apple Song preferences and enter your total long-winded Wi-Fi passwords you’re proud that you simply remember however fortunately don’t savor to form in.

After that, it is possible you’ll per chance per chance lag away the dwelling along with your iPhone and your household or housemates will nonetheless be ready to utilize the speaker – even though it is possible you’ll per chance per chance flip off ‘private requests’ consistent with your files if you don’t prefer folks meddling along with your little enterprise.

(Happily it is possible you’ll per chance per chance additionally end requests to the speaker messing along with your music listening historical past too – if you’re attempting to create first price computerized playlists on Apple Song, then your housemates playing Justin Bieber and Moana on repeat won’t execute that).

Apple HomePod stamp and originate date

The Apple HomePod stamp is $349 / £319 / AU$499, and fortuitously we in the end savor a HomePod originate date to lag with that stamp: pre-orders went stay at 13:30 on 26 January, with the unit beginning transport on 9 February. 


Establishing the HomePod is a truly straightforward affair – so long as you’ve got got purchased an iPhone or iPad. Whenever you happen to’re thinking of shopping for Apple’s speaker however save no longer beget no doubt this sort of, save no longer danger. Or no longer it is Apple-most efficient, we’re haunted.

We spent some time updating our iPhone – it is possible you’ll need iOS Eleven.2.5 to construct the HomePod work – staring on the sunshine pulsing on high of the ‘Pod while we waited. Or no longer it is oddly hypnotic.

After that, it couldn’t had been more efficient. You withhold the iPhone end to the speaker, and esteem with AirPods or newer iPads your complete settings are copied over with a few taps.

This shares your Apple ID, your wireless settings and your total other bits that the HomePod must know who or no longer it is hearing from… as nicely as your Apple Song files.

Everytime you talk to Siri from there on, a little colored save of lights dance all the scheme thru the reflective plastic surface of the speaker, which is useful to create belief the speaker can impress what you’re asserting.

The hardest fragment of the setup was as soon as truly loyal discovering a characteristic to roam it in – the lead is long ample for most issues, however it is possible you’ll are attempting to shriek it end to a wall to let the sound reverberate nicely.

Apple HomePod Sound nice

It would in most cases be exhausting to evaluate sound nice in a demo, because it’s clearly going to optimized for the dwelling around it.

No lower than Apple demonstrated the HomePod in genuine rooms with furnishings and rugs to give a system of how this could per chance sound, and the tech interior is designed to carry out pretty a few stuff to the noise springing out the speaker.

Location the HomePod within the center of the room and you’ll get a 360-degree sound spreading all around, however lag it to a wall and the speaker will work out what surfaces are end by and sever up the sounds accordingly. 

This way the background devices and accompaniments will be mirrored relieve, and the predominant vocals and devices will be given a more powerful, notify path to your ears.

In educate, it loyal sounded comely factual… as you’d save a query to from a speaker of this price. We listened to Ariana Grande, Gregory Porter, songs from the Hamilton musical soundtrack, Frozen, and Ed Sheeran and all of them sounded comely first price.

The vocals on all of them had been very certain, with heavy bass (it nearly slipped into muddy at times, even though the attain was as soon as minimal).

These items are loud, too, with impressive sound nice coming at increased quantity. Extra vocally-dominated songs sounded certain and authentic, and all the scheme thru the test it was as soon as impressive loyal how huge the audio popping out of the HomePod was as soon as.

In actuality, it every so continuously sounded esteem the speaker was as soon as attempting to carry out too unheard of, with nearly too unheard of energy attempting to get out. Not when it involves distortion, however loyal pretty a few vitality popping out of a truly little unit.

We additionally had been shown a test between the HomePod and the Sonos One ($199 / £199 / AU$299), Harman Kardon Enchantment ($250 / £250 / around AU$four hundred) and recent Amazon Echo ($Ninety 9.Ninety 9 / £Ninety 9.Ninety 9 / AU$149).

Apple instructed us that your total speakers had been save up to producers’ specifications and sound matched to guarantee that the identical quantity. Unsurprisingly, as the most costly, the HomePod sounded the ideal all the scheme thru the stay recording of The Eagles’ Hotel California.

On the choice hand, the Enchantment stacked up comely unheard of, with the Alexa-enabled speaker offering identical bass levels and a effective differ. The Sonos One was as soon as additionally high nice, however had a narrower differ and didn’t savor pretty the identical energy on the amount we listened to.

What was as soon as entertaining was as soon as how nicely the recent Amazon Echo performed. It wasn’t within the identical league as the Enchantment or HomePod when it came to bass, however the sound nice was as soon as comely nicely off enraged about it prices a 3rd as unheard of as those on provide here… and could join to scheme more apps and companies and products.

We additionally purchased an early understand at stereo mode, which involves pairing collectively two Apple HomePod speakers to make a bigger sound in a room. A feature for the more nicely off, per chance.

They sounded loyal as factual, except for loyal somewhat louder – the use of two speakers didn’t appear so as to add any extra smarts, they loyal created a wider sound that stuffed the room more comprehensively.

They clearly sync collectively, which scheme pausing or altering the amount on one unit has the identical attain on the choice – however the demo was as soon as loyal a outmoded tune, in preference to something that made use of the stereo alternatives.

It would be entertaining if two HomePod speakers would be inclined as a sound system for an Apple TV, however the viability of that wasn’t confirmed to me.

HomePod hold

The hold of the Apple HomePod is compact – a little, however weighty, speaker coated in a end mesh that nearly feels rubbery below the hand. The mesh is gentle-weight to enable the sound out more effectively, and the white and dwelling gray devices are comely delicate and rounded in an understated scheme

The controls are hidden on the cease, with the amount + and – buttons lights up when pressed and the predominant ‘glow’ within the center exhibiting when the speaker is in use. Right here is white for identical previous operations, however turns multi-colored esteem the Siri logo if you happen to’re chatting to the assistant.

The touch controls are somewhat responsive, even though it can per chance be effective to savor haptic suggestions when tapping the cease. On the choice hand, double-tapping to skip tracks is useful and it is possible you’ll per chance triple tap to skip relieve a be conscious, too.

In relation to what’s interior the speaker, you’ve purchased rather a lot going on – six microphones for Siri, seven tweeters, a woofer with a custom amplifier, a motor driving the diaphragm, and the Apple A8 chip interior.

On the choice hand, there are a few significant absences: there’s no Bluetooth connection on provide here, nor an audio in port… even though Apple adding a headphone jack to this, however no longer its telephones, would had been a yarn in itself.


Whereas music playback is the critical thrust of the HomePod for Apple, Siri additionally has a gigantic fragment to play.

Simply asserting ‘Hiya Siri’ to the speaker at any point will activate the provider – although you’re paying consideration to a tune at high quantity. That was as soon as a formidable thing to understand, and testament to the effectiveness of the six microphones being inclined.

You are going to be ready to additionally seek files from Siri to flip down the music, play another playlist, or save the amount to a definite percentage to construct issues somewhat more straightforward to hear if you’re attempting to savor a conversation.

In actuality, with music it feels esteem Apple is attempting to carry out somewhat unheard of, because it is possible you’ll per chance per chance seek files from for files on the singer, the tune or a review of the album. The latter is a little pointless as the robotic express learning out files on Ed Sheeran’s album felt, to us, somewhat habitual – it’s the roughly thing that’s unheard of more straightforward to learn on the phone that most listeners will savor melded to their fingers.

Nonetheless as a orderly speaker controlling your beget dwelling, it’s comely comprehensive and picks up voices nicely. Within the demo, merely asserting “Upright morning!” opened the ‘Morning Scene’, which grew to change into on the lights, lifted the blinds and started the kettle boiling. Achieving something esteem this requires serious investment for your orderly dwelling, even though.

On the choice hand, it is possible you’ll per chance save it to merely flip on a orderly kettle if you’ve spent the money on no doubt one of those, or flip on the lights if you’re too inactive within the morning.

You are going to be ready to hunt files from for a files readout, with three companies and products on hand within the UK, and dictate and listen to messages if your fingers are pudgy.

Texting any individual this vogue looks impractical even though – while it’s pleasing to ship a brief message to any individual, having to affirm ‘learn my messages’ and verify you are attempting to answer quick descends into “Oh, I’ll loyal get my phone out and carry out it”, unless for some motive it is possible you’ll per chance per chance’t use your fingers within the within the meantime.

One thing that Apple has been hot on is privacy (your total requests are nameless and encrypted), and there are more than one ideas to guard your HomePod from being inclined nefariously (by likelihood or in any other case) by those around. 

You are going to be ready to disable the ‘Hiya Siri’ whisper from the Home App for your phone, or by merely asking Siri to end listening. Even supposing Siri will double test you are attempting to carry out this and it is possible you’ll per chance re-enable the provider by pressing the button on high.

Early verdict

The HomePod is slack to the sport, alternatively it does what Apple save out to carry out: provide a top price listening abilities that combines very nicely with Siri.

Whereas it’s no longer going to publicize the identical thing, it has a increased stamp esteem other Apple products to give it an air of better nice – even though the create nice and audio carry out match the price point.

It’s a little bit more costly than a similar products, and lacks issues esteem Bluetooth playback or the flexibility to savor interplay with many companies and products outside the Apple ecosystem, even though, so that is, as expected, a speaker for the actual person that has a Macbook, iPhone and Apple Check out and wants high-class sound to lag along with that differ.

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