The smart speaker took a boom a couple of years ago. The market stands strong today with a number of options. One such notable name in this industry is the Apple HomePod mini. The device is the small version of Apple HomePod providing the same but limited abilities of Apple HomePod and that with a less cost. Are you mulling over to buy Apple mini HomePod? This detailed Apple HomePod mini-review will help you in making your decision. Read below to know more.
The major players in the smart speaker industry with their voice assistants are Amazon (Alexa) and Google (Assistant). Each company provides a plethora of smart speaker products to suffice pretty much any users’ requirements.
But Apple, along with its Siri, has also made attempts to get in the industry. Apple HomePod, the company’s original smart speaker, did not perform much in the market and failed to challenge the existing Amazon Echo and Google Home/Nest. The HomePod never managed to entirely take off and was a combination of lack of technical improvements and costly price tags, resulting in Apple’s failure in the market.
Apple HomePod mini is the second attempt by Apple and it has been successful so far. Trying to get hold of the industry, Apple majorly targeted the Nest mini and Echo dot. The HomePod mini Apple is the same in size as the Echo dot and comes with a lesser price tag of $99.
Launched in 2021, the Apple TV HomePod mini gets 3 new colors: orange, blue, and yellow. These colors join the white and black color alternatives that were launched with the precursor. The bigger version of the product had no such color alternatives. Hence, if you are tired of the same boring colors, then the Apple HomePod mini is the right choice for you.
After launching all three new color variants, the blue and yellow colors were favorites among the users. The orange HomePod mini just did not go for all the users. All three colors come with white touch surfaces, similar to the bigger version of the product.
The design was the major selling point during the Apple HomePod mini sale. The device has a gorgeous appearance that takes users into a future where everything is made of white. The device actually takes charge of the user, in a sense. Users can actually purchase the mini in space grey or white, but the Space Odyssey impact is the highlight of the product. On top of the speaker is a plane touchpad that allows users to change the volume, pause and play music, or call on Siri without increasing your voice. The device works sufficiently well, with a small repetition of actions sometimes required. However, users would hope that Apple might correct this error in the next-generation launch. Currently, the control pad does the job pretty good and looks smart.
Setting up the Apple HomePod mini is very simple. All you have to do is switch it on and wave your Apple device close by. The Home app is where users shop for all their smart requirements, managing any smart devices connected to the ecosystem. The app also allows users to switch off the permanent listening mode of Siri. The speaker is perfect in size and ideal for fitting easily anywhere. Its build quality adds a subtleness to the design that tells how versatile the product is. The mini has a forever-attached power cable, indicating that the most portability you will get out of it is almost 4-6 feet.
Apple HomePod min might be tiny, but it sure is enormous when it comes to sound. The mini surprises by the sound it can make. It can play any kind of music and offer users better sound as compared to rivals such as the Echo dot. For its size, it is a quality device, creating strong clarity and bass in the higher frequencies.
Even though it cannot fill the room with its sound, the Apple HomePod mini Spotify combination works perfectly to change the atmosphere in the room. The device perfectly plays music at the backdrop of your room. Voice commands are consistently and easily picked up, even while playing the music. The responses from Siri are usually quick if a little sluggish in comparison with Google Assistant. The speed of processing by Siri is something that Apple has focused on and is a real game-changer for the mini.
Apple HomePod mini white (or any other color, for that matter) makes an ideal companion for Apple TV 4K. The device can be used for the Apple TV as the default sound output. Users who are using their Apple TV with HomePod mini speakers are having a good time with it. Although the speakers do not offer much surround sound and cannot compete with proper home theater setups. However, it’s a good-quality product that works well for games, movies, and Apple Music.
Currently in beta, there’s even an option for eARC that permits users to use their HomePod mini as output for different inputs devices linked to their TV. Some of the users utilize this function with their TV to output devices such as Nintendo Switch audio directly to their HomePod mini speaker. Even though it’s in beta, the seamless experience that the feature offers with all audio aimed to the same output is commendable. Users can use the eARC feature and find it under Settings >> Video and Audio >> Audio Output >> Audio Return Chanel (Beta).
The HomePod mini can be used as a dedicated speaker for Apple TV and there are no wires required apart from the power cable. A pair of HomePod minis makes for a very good and clean speaker setup that can be heard miles away from your home.
One of the biggest problems with a smart speaker having a “always listening” mode is privacy. HomePod mini only keeps ears on for the “Hey Siri” keyword prior to it listening to your commands. Users also have the choice of entirely turning off the keyword, and using Siri manually with a physical button. When you ask Siri for something, the request is not linked with a user ID or email address. Rather, Apple uses random identifiers to link with your commands. And some commands, such as playing back messages, are done directly on the device together with iPhone, indicating no data goes back to Apple.
The HomePod mini, with the Apple S5 processor, comes with software based on iOS, and can get OTA (over the air) software updates just like Apple’s any other product. The company has already added different new functionalities to the HomePod mini that were not available initially when the device launched, and it will carry on to do so eventually.
One of the biggest selling points about HomePod mini is that it comes with four microphones that assist in canceling noise. This allows you to use the keyword (Hey Siri) when far away from the device or even when in a loud room. Sometimes Siri still causes frustration to users with its long wait times, confused responses, and occasional ineffectiveness, but there is no denying that the experience is much more enhanced as compared to what it was when the HomePod was first launched.
One of the most glaring oversights from the bigger HomePod was the absence of support for different timers. Apple eventually finally fixed this bug, and has carried on to enhance the experience. For instance, you can now use an Intercom functionality to talk with other family members, while personal requests have been enhanced to identify the voices of maximum 6 members in the family.
Other features include:
While Apple gradually lowered the cost of the original HomePod by $50, the speaker was launched with a huge price tag of $350. It was a lot to ask for a smart speaker that initially did not have much of features as now. The Apple HomePod mini price stands at $99 and is reasonable.
You can use the HomePod mini without Wi-Fi or Internet. However, users will lose most of the smart functions such as the Apple HomeKit and Siri integration. The min will only work without the internet through AirPlay that will allow users to play podcasts and music.
Users can play any sounds from Spotify, their Mac, and more, over AirPlay to their HomePod mini. However, they will need to make some changes in System Preferences. From here, select Sound and select your HomePod mini as the device as sound output.
Yes. You can use Siri on HomePod and you do not need your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to do that. You can use Siri to control your home, play music, or to ask questions.
No. The HomePod mini requires to be plugged in. Although the HomePod mini has wireless features, the speaker itself has no battery and is not entirely portable. It requires to be connected to a wall charger to get power.
Having said that, you just had a look at the detailed Apple HomePod mini review, which will help you in taking your decision.