Homepod REVIEW: Alexa and Google Home can't compete with Apple's all-new smart speaker
Apple's first smart speaker is here and it sounds like it was worth the wait.
The HomePod joins the ever-growing revolution of devices that are controlled via the power of speech and it’s taking aim squarely at Amazon, Sonos and Google.
But the HomePod isn’t just about being smart, as audio quality is top of Apple’s agenda.
StarTech has been putting this all-new smart speaker through its paces and here’s our full review.
Apple is making big noises about the HomePod’s sound quality and they have every right to be chuffed.
Music from this circular speaker is astonishingly good with it able to produce booming bass while keeping the mid-range and vocals as crisp as a February morning.
Its clever 360 degree speaker design also means that wherever you stand in your room you get the same exceptional audio quality.
This speaker performs impeccably and it makes some of its cheaper rivals sound embarrassingly poor.
Along with its stunning sound Apple has also managed to produce a speaker that looks pretty good as well.
Covered in a unique mesh fabirc, and with simple touch controls on the top, it’s sleek and easy to use.
Just take the speaker out of its box, plug it in, hold your iPhone nearby and it does the rest.
This includes instantly logging into your Apple ID, setting up wi-fi and accessing your Apple Music account.
It’s so incredibly simple and certainly beats the usual nightmare of switching between apps, typing in usernames and trying to remember your internet router’s instantly forgettable password.
Every smart speaker we’ve tried in the past needs a certain amount of patience to setup but the HomePod takes all the pain out of this laborious task.
Once you are up and running it’s then just a case of asking Apple’s Siri smart assistant to get the party started.
As long as you use subscribe to Apple Music you’ll have more than 40 million songs ready to play.
HomePod can also access music stored on iCloud, bought via iTunes or synced across devices with iTunes Match.
Sadly, unlike most smart speakers the HomePod can’t currently access popular radio stations via voice search which is irritating and there's no compatibility with any other music service such as Spotify or Amazon Prime Music.
Along with being the focus of music the HomePod can also perform numerous smart home tasks via Apple's Siri assistant.
These include setting timers, alerts, alarms and the ability to create instant shopping lists.
Local weather reports, latest news, sports scores and how long it will take to drive to a destination are also included.
Like most smart home devices, the HomePod can also be used to switch on lights simply by talking to it.
There’s also a nice feature which allows text messages to be sent and read by the HomePod and you can even use it as a giant speaker phone.
THE STAR TECH VERDICT
Apple’s HomePod has left a seriously good impression on us. It looks great, has a vast array of useful smart features and can finally bring Apple Music to your living room via voice control.
However, it’s biggest selling point is simply the way it sounds. We’re pretty smitten with the HomePod but we do have some niggles including the fact there’s no way to ask Siri to play popular radio stations.
It’s also worth remembering this is not a Bluetooth device and you’ll need an iPhone or iPad to use it.
It is also pretty expensive. However, sometimes you get what you pay for and if you want the best sounding smart speaker money can buy the HomePod is definitely top of the pops.