Apple has recently launched the HomePod. The device is a “smart speaker” and works in a similar fashion to Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It combines a powerful speaker with the Siri assistant allowing it to perform tasks and respond to requests.
The device comes with a hefty £319 price tag in the UK which is far beyond most of the competing products. This left us wondering what the devices offer that makes it worth the price of admission.
The initial setup for the HomePod in remarkably simple. All you need to do is make sure you have two-factor authentication and keychain enabled and then hold your iPhone close to the device. It will then automatically connect to your home wifi and then you’re ready to go. The makes the setup process significantly easier than both Alexa and Google Home.
One of the biggest points of focus in Apple’s description of the devices is the inbuilt speaker. It is designed to offer a much greater level of quality than other smart speaks, including the Sonos One which is specifically designed to appeal to music enthusiasts looking for high-quality sound output. As for the HomePod, it seems that the opinion online is very positive in regards to its audio. It provides crisp and clear sound with impressive bass across all genres of music that can be played.
The device makes use of seven beamforming tweeters that allows the HomePod to provide great directional control. This means that you will be able to enjoy rich and full sound no matter where you are positioned in a room. The excellent speaker is one of the best aspects of the HomePod and the closest it comes to justifying the £319 price tag.
The device makes use of Apple’s smart assistant, Siri. You activate the device by saying “Hey Siri”, along with your command. Sounds simple enough, however, this is unfortunately the devices biggest failing. Siri is good for the most basic commands such as playing music, adjusting volume or informing you of the weather, which is great. However, it fails to live up to the standards of its competitors. Most notably Alexa and Google Assistant. It generally lacks the ability to carry out the more complex commands.
Another issue is the limitations on how you can play your own music through the device. It does not have a analogue input and it does not support the ability to stream music to the device via Bluetooth. iTunes, Apple Music and AirPlay are your only options when it comes to playing music on the device. This means that you are going to need to have an iPad or iPhone handy. You also need to ensure that they have been updated to a least iOS 11.2.5 to perform the setup. These restrictions really harm the overall functionality of the device.
Overall if you are looking for a high-quality speaker then the HomePod might be a good choice for you, as it provides superior sound quality when compared to the competition. However, if the smart aspect of a smart speaker is more important to you then you may be better off going with one of the cheaper alternatives.