Apple HomePod test (2nd generation): our opinion –

An Apple
homepod the original was released in 2018, followed shortly by HomePod Mini. After a hiatus when the first generation HomePod was discontinued, Apple is back with the HomePod 2. The appearance of the speaker is almost identical to the original. But, in true Apple tradition,
real change inside. It incorporates spatial audio processing technology and sounds much more powerful than its size suggests. Its audio quality is also better than the original HomePod and its rival Amazon’s Echo Studio.

There is no shortage of connected speakers on offer, and Apple is always in stock. high class sphere. If you’re immersed in the Apple ecosystem, the new HomePod brings some welcome changes. On the other hand, if you are an Android user, it is not made for you: you must have an iOS device to set it up. Echo Studio or
Sonos One are the best options for nonApple people, and both cost less. And if you want a discount on most HomePod features, the HomePod Mini is the better of the two Apple speakers for the price.

HomePod 2: sleek design, Applecentric features

One of the HomePod’s strengths over the competition is its design. White or black, it is very beautiful and elegant than Echo Studio.

Apple’s connected speaker integrates the Siri voice assistant, and you need to use an iPhone or iPad to set it up. It’s AirPlay 2 compatible, which means it can stream from your phone and fit into a multiroom system.

HomePod works well with Apple Music, but not with Spotify

If you no longer want to use Apple Music as your default service,the alternatives are a bit patchy : iHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio, Deezer and Pandora. Only the last two allow you to listen to your chosen song if you are a subscriber.

On the other hand, Spotify cannot be set by default, and HomePod does not support Spotify Connect. For this streaming service, you need to press the “AirPlay and Bluetooth” button on the Spotify app to play music on the speaker. In other words, most HomePod users are better off opting for Apple Music.

You can link two HomePods to create stereo sound.. But you can’t pair HomePod 2023 with HomePod Mini or HomePod 1. The speaker can also be synced with the box.
Apple TV to play TV sound.

It is compatible with the Find Me app, where you can ask Siri to play a sound on a lost device, or request the location of friends or family members who share it through the app.

Improved speakers, spatial audio and new sensors

While aesthetically similar to the first generation, HomePod 2023 features several key improvements, including: redesigned speaker system with five tweeters instead of seven. These tweeters point upwards from the bottom of the cabinet and use beamforming to provide surround sound.

Spatial audio is Apple’s term for 360degree audio, and is used in most of Apple’s new products, from MacBooks to
AirPods via AppleTV. As for the HomePod, it mainly refers to
Dolby Atmoswhich is included with most streaming services as well as music available on Apple Music.

Temperature and humidity sensors for home

Another interesting feature that appears in the HomePod 2 is one that was also hidden in the mini version: temperature and humidity sensors. From now on, you can use the Home app or ask Siri for the indoor temperature as well as the outside temperature. This information will also help other smart devices in your home, including connected thermostats.

In addition to supporting Apple’s HomeKit, the new HomePod also supports the
matter, an open source protocol that works with many connected home devices. Also, a function called Smart Recognitioncoming with a software update in the spring, “can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send a notification directly to the user’s iPhone if a sound is identified,” Apple said.

HomePod 2 vs Echo Studio

We tested the speaker using Apple Music tracks (in Dolby Atmos where available), lossless Spotify files, and FLAC files played from a MacBook.

The first thing we asked Siri was to “play music”. The Wizard chose the planet Earth Duran Duran. We compared the sound on the new HomePod with its rival Echo Studio.. The latter developed more of an environment in the room, but the volume was a bit weak.

We continued with Alex G’s Runner, which sounded great in the Echo Studio, but the instruments weren’t well placed in space. HomePod created a sound bubble with greater clarity of the singer’s voice.

At Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, we preferred the Echo Studio rendering, which filled the room better.

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HomePod 2 vs Original HomePod

We then compared the new HomePod to the original across multiple genres. The HomePod 2 sounded better, with a more intimate vocal response.. More powerful bass gave the sound more relief. However, while the new HomePod has more trunk space than its predecessor, no one could throw a dance party. Echo Studio outperforms both in terms of power.

We also listened to several movie soundtracks, including a Dolby Atmos mix from Mad Max, what made the dialogue clear. The height effects of Atmos at the start of the movie were present with only one speaker, and the addition of a second speaker in stereo made the effects much more pronounced. The bass from the explosions was strong. The subwoofer is clearly not enough for a real home theater, but for films the result was still quite pleasant.

Finally, we compared HomePod to HomePod Mini. We were amazed at how well the cheapest speaker performed.. On U Got Yr, Spoon Mini’s Cherry Bomb emphasized the vocals and provided plenty of bass without overdrive. While it lacks spatial effects, the speaker sounds great for a third of the price. It’s perfect for those who only need a speaker for Siri and background music.

Balance sheet

Overall, the HomePod sounds great, but its high price and Applefocused features just rule out too many potential users, including Spotify subscribers and Android owners. And for Apple fans who need a speaker for Siri, the Mini is probably good enough. article adapted by CNETFrance

Images: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

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