This is our HomePod mini review
More than three years ago, Apple released the HomePod. Unfortunately, this speaker was never officially released in the Netherlands, but you could still get one at home via detours. iPhone did the same and what we thought of it then you can read in our HomePod review.
The HomePod did things differently than competitors. The Apple speaker didn’t focus on affordability like the Google Home for example, but on quality. Many thought the HomePod sounded a lot better than its competitors, as long as you were willing to dig deep into your pouch.
With the HomePod mini, Apple is taking a different approach. The new speaker is smaller, simpler and, above all, much less pricey than its bigger brother. Where the original HomePod sold for $ 349, you pay “only” $ 99 for the mini. If you want to purchase the compact Apple speaker through a Dutch webshop, you pay an amount of between 130 and 140 euros.
Price is a stumbling block
The price is also the biggest drawback of the compact speaker. For tens of euros less you can get one Google Nest Audio or Google Nest Mini at home. If you are more in the Amazon ecosystem, the Echo Dot speaker is an interesting (and much cheaper) alternative to the HomePod mini.
Apart from the price, the speaker does a lot of things well. The HomePod mini focuses much less on sound quality than its bigger brother, but still sounds very good. In a direct comparison with the Nest Mini from Google, the Apple speaker undoubtedly wins the longest straw.
Sound quality is good, but not impressive
The HomePod mini is quite small and about the same size as a spherical candle in size. It is protected by a layer of mesh, a material that looks very stylish and fits into almost any interior. A small disadvantage is that you get a white power adapter with the HomePod mini, even if you order the dark version.
On to the specifications of the HomePod mini. The device has one driver that sends the sound to the bottom of the speaker, after which it spreads in all directions. As a result, the sound always sounds the same, wherever you are listening from.
Unfortunately, this is really only an advantage if you place the speaker exactly in the middle of a room. If the HomePod mini is placed on a shelf or in a corner, then you have more directional speakers.
Also included: two internal radiators that accentuate low bass tones. Furthermore, the compact speaker has an S5 chip. This smart chip analyzes the song you want to play and then adjusts the audio settings accordingly. Podcasts, for example, focus on the speakers, while house music focuses on the bass.
For the background
The audio quality of the HomePod mini is good, especially considering its size. The sound is clear, full and balanced. Even when you listen to music with a lot of low tones, such as hip-hop or house, the speaker does not get ‘upset’ or shrill. That’s nice, because this way you can hear the lyrics while listening to music without the bass being too present.
However, if we compare the HomePod mini with larger – but less expensive speakers – such as Google’s Nest Audio, then it undoubtedly draws the short straw. The competitor simply sounds better and fuller. The Google speaker can also be much louder.
The HomePod mini is therefore an ideal speaker for the background. It is ideal for playing music while working from home or when you have visitors. For a party (weather permitting), the maximum volume is too low.
Fist deep into the Apple ecosystem
The purchase advice for the HomePod mini is actually very simple. Do you love Apple and do you swear by iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches? Then the HomePod mini is great. Do you, or anyone else in your household, use an Android phone? Then leave the Apple speaker.
The HomePod mini is in fact fist deep in the Apple ecosystem. Almost all functions are only interesting if you already have other Apple products at home. It already starts with installing the HomePod mini: you need an iPhone for that. If you want to stream a song to the speaker via Apple Music (or Spotify), AirPlay comes into play.
Handoff: deliver music
Speaking of features, the HomePod mini features Handoff. This allows you to ‘deliver’ music via your iPhone by holding the device close to the speaker. Then the HomePod mini will start playing that music. If you then want to listen on your iPhone again, you do exactly the same. Handoff works very well and is very simple.
Siri plays a central role on the HomePod mini. You can ask the clever assistant to schedule calendar appointments, to put on music or to send a message. The problem with this is that Siri currently only speaks English: Dutch does not (yet) work on the HomePod mini.
That’s a big drawback for some. It feels unnatural to talk to your speaker in a foreign language. Moreover, Siri can still use some work, because it often happens that the voice assistant does not understand you.
Conclusion HomePod mini review
The HomePod mini is a pleasant speaker for the real Apple fan. It is nice and compact, fits into almost any interior thanks to its stylish design and above all, the sound quality is very good – especially considering its size. The Handoff function is also very intuitive.
However, as befits Apple products, the HomePod mini is anything but cheap. If you compare it with other speakers in its price range, which are admittedly less compact, then the small HomePod draws the short straw. Even if someone in your household is an Android fan, the HomePod mini is not recommended.
Buy HomePod mini
Do you want to buy the HomePod mini? The Apple speaker is available in two colors: space gray and white. The speaker is not officially available in the Netherlands and has an international suggested retail price of $ 99. For about 130 to 140 euros you can purchase the HomePod mini in the Netherlands via gray import.