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Apple HomePod (1st generation) Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Feb 15, 2023 at 11:03 am
Latest change: Writing modified Feb 28, 2023 at 01:31 pm
Apple HomePod (1st generation)  Picture
7.0
Music
6.1
Videos/Movies
6.9
Podcasts
9.4
Voice Assistant
4.5
Outdoors
This speaker was replaced by the Apple HomePod (2nd generation)

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a wired smart speaker that's been discontinued and replaced by the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). It has a stylish design that's ideal for home use, with built-in Siri for hands-free control. Link it with other HomePods if you want to spread audio to other rooms in your house, or check out the Apple HomePod mini if you want a smaller version of this device.

Our Verdict

7.0 Music

The Apple HomePod 1 is decent for music. It offers an even sound profile out of the box, meaning that voices and lead instruments are reproduced with clarity and detail. It's suitable for listening to lots of different genres, with plenty of low-bass to bring out the rumble in EDM and hip-hop. However, there aren't any sound customization tools on hand, so you don't have any ability to switch up its performance.

Pros
  • Decently balanced sound profile.
  • Great 360-degree soundstage.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud, with compression artifacts at max volume.
6.1 Videos/Movies

The Apple HomePod 1 isn't designed for watching movies, but if you want to listen to videos streamed on your phone, it can get the job done. You can connect your devices over Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay, and its low latency means that the audio you hear is in sync with the video you see. Dialogue is clear, too, and there's some rumble in the bass for action-packed scenes, too.

Pros
  • Decently balanced sound profile.
  • Great 360-degree soundstage.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud, with compression artifacts at max volume.
6.9 Podcasts

The Apple HomePod 1 is fair for podcasts. Since dialogue is reproduced clearly, you can easily follow along with your favorite shows. Plus, it gets loud enough for an average-sized room, meaning you can hear every detail. It's not portable, but if you pair it with other compatible speakers, you can mirror your show to other rooms in your home.

Pros
  • Decently balanced sound profile.
  • Great 360-degree soundstage.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud, with compression artifacts at max volume.
9.4 Voice Assistant

The Apple HomePod 1 is excellent for voice assistant support. Built-in Siri provides hands-free control, meaning you can control the speaker with your voice right from the comfort of your couch. It can also hear your commands if you're further away or if you're in a noisier environment. Plus, you can mute the speaker when you don't want it to hear you.

Pros
  • Decently balanced sound profile.
  • Excellent Siri voice assistant distance performance.
  • Great 360-degree soundstage.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud, with compression artifacts at max volume.
4.5 Outdoors

You can only use the Apple HomePod 1 wired, and it isn't suitable for outdoor use.

  • 7.0 Music
  • 6.1 Videos/Movies
  • 6.9 Podcasts
  • 9.4 Voice Assistant
  • 4.5 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 28, 2023: Added a market comparison for the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) to the Frequency Response Accuracy box.
  2. Updated Feb 15, 2023: Minor updates to the text for clarity; no changes in test results.
  3. Updated Oct 18, 2022: Changed the 'Microphone Mute' test result from 'No' to 'Yes' in the 'Voice Assistant' box after retesting the speaker. Also added information about dismissing an alarm in the 'Controls' box.
  4. Updated Oct 13, 2022: Changed 'Call Answer/End' test result from 'No' to 'Yes (Tactile)' in the 'Controls' box after retesting the speaker. Minor adjustments to text for consistency.
  5. Updated Dec 14, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  6. Updated Apr 19, 2021: Updated Stereo from 'Yes' to 'No' thanks to user feedback.
  7. Updated Dec 15, 2020: Review published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) speaker comes in two color variants: Space Gray and White. These variants are only different in look, and we expect the white variant to perform similarly to our space gray model.

If you come across another variant of this speaker, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Apple HomePod first generation speaker has Apple's Siri built-in like the Apple HomePod mini, though it's a bit bigger. It has a mic with excellent far-field performance, meaning you can command Siri with your voice from another room. It also has a 360-degree sound, ensuring clear sound from any angle. However, its functionality is limited to Apple devices, so Android users are out of luck. It's also not very portable since it has a wired design. Its sound profile lacks low bass, and it doesn't get very loud.

See also our recommendations for the best smart speakers, the best home speakers, and the best speakers for iPhone.

Apple HomePod (2nd generation)

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is better than the Apple HomePod (1st generation). While both speakers have a similar design, the 2nd generation model can reproduce a more extended low-bass, so you hear more thump and rumble in the mix.

Apple HomePod mini

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The HomePod has a more neutral sound profile and gets louder, too. Also, its built-in Siri has a better ambient noise performance, so it does a better job understanding your voice in noisy settings. The HomePod mini has a smaller, more lightweight design that some listeners may prefer. It's also easier to find on the market since the Apple HomePod has been discontinued.

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is a better speaker for most uses than the Apple HomePod (1st generation). The Sonos is better built, and its portable design makes it suitable for outdoor use. Its sound profile is more neutral, and it has bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound. However, the Apple speaker has a better soundstage, and its voice assistant understands your voice better in noisier environments. It has been discontinued and may be harder to find in new condition.

Amazon Echo Gen 4

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and the Amazon Echo Gen 4 are both excellent speakers for voice assistants, but the Apple is more versatile overall. Out-of-the-box, the Apple has a more balanced sound profile, and it has a better soundstage. It supports Apple AirPlay, while the Amazon speaker supports Bluetooth. Also, it offers bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound. The Apple speaker may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued.

Amazon Echo Studio

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better smart speaker than the Amazon Echo Studio. The Apple has Siri built-in, better controls, a more neutral sound profile, and a wider soundstage. It also has low latency on Apple AirPlay. However, it's been discontinued and may be harder to find in new condition. That said, the Amazon is a Bluetooth speaker with Alexa built-in. It has bass and treble sliders, meaning you can tweak its sound profile. It also gets louder with minimal compression.

Sonos One Gen 2/One SL

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better speaker than the Sonos One Gen 2/One SL. The Apple has a better-balanced sound profile and has fewer compression artifacts at max volume. Its built-in Siri voice assistant can better register your commands, even if you're speaking in a noisy environment. That said, it may be harder to find in new condition now that it's been discontinued.

Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better choice for music, videos, and podcasts than the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4. The Apple speaker has a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and a better soundstage. It can get louder, and it supports Apple AirPlay. That said, it's been discontinued and may be harder to find in new condition. The Amazon speaker, on the other hand, supports Bluetooth and has bass and treble adjustments, unlike the Apple.

Denon Home 350

The Denon Home 350 is a more versatile speaker than the Apple HomePod (1st generation) and is easier to find in new condition since the Apple's been discontinued. The Denon has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and it can get louder, although with a bit more compression. It also has bass and treble sliders to adjust its sound, it supports Bluetooth, and comes with Alexa built-in. It also has lower Apple AirPlay latency. However, the Apple has Siri built-in and a wider-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design.

Sonos Five

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and the Sonos Five are two speakers with different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other, depending on your needs. The Apple speaker has a better soundstage and performs better at its max volume. It also has Siri built-in, which can be voice-activated and hear you from quite a distance. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. The Sonos is better for music since it can produce more low-bass, and its sound profile is better balanced. It also has a bass and treble slider via its companion app.

Google Nest Mini

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better speaker than the Google Nest Mini. The Apple has a more neutral sound profile and a better soundstage. It also gets louder, and its built-in voice assistant does a better job of understanding your voice in a noisy setting. However, the Google speaker's bass and treble adjustments offer more sound customization, and it's still a great choice for voice assistant capabilities.

Bose Home Speaker 500

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and the Bose Home Speaker 500 are very similarly-performing speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Apple has a better soundstage performance and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. However, it's been discontinued by the manufacturer and may be harder to find in new condition. The Bose offers bass and treble adjustment features to tweak its sound to your liking. It also supports Bluetooth, while the Apple speaker only supports Wi-Fi.

Google Nest Audio

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better voice assistant speaker than the Google Nest Audio. The Apple speaker has a better-balanced default sound profile and a better soundstage. Its latency over a Wi-Fi connection is lower, so it's more suitable for watching videos. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. Also, the Google speaker comes with bass and treble adjustments to tweak its sound profile to your liking, unlike the Apple model.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Apple HomePod (1st generation) or the Bose SoundLink Revolve. The Apple is better for music, videos, and voice assistant. Its sound profile is a bit more neutral and has a deeper, more extended low-bass and a better soundstage. Also, it comes with built-in Siri capabilities. However, the Apple speaker isn't meant to be used outdoors, unlike the Bose. It's also been discontinued and may be more difficult to find in new condition. That said, the Bose is more portable, is better built, and it's rated for water, dust, and impact resistance.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and Bose SoundLink Micro have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The Apple speaker has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. It has Siri built-in, which is great if you use voice assistants, and you can stream audio to the bar via Wi-Fi. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. The Bose is battery-powered, so it's more portable and better suited for outdoor use. It also has an IP67 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

Bose Home Speaker 300

The Bose Home Speaker 300 is a better speaker for most uses than the Apple HomePod (1st generation). The Bose has better controls, supports Bluetooth, and has bass and treble sliders, meaning you can customize its sound profile to your liking. It also has a better voice assistant performance. However, the Apple speaker has a better Wi-Fi performance, though the speaker has been discontinued and may be harder to find in new condition.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a slightly better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II, though they have different strengths. The Apple has excellent voice assistant support with Siri built into the speaker, while the Bose uses the voice assistants from your smartphone. It also has a more neutral sound profile with a more extended low-bass and better directivity resulting in a more open and spacious-sounding soundstage. The Apple is a wired speaker intended for home use, while the Bose is a battery-powered speaker with a built-in carrying handle that's more portable and better built. Also, while the Apple speaker supports Wi-Fi, the Bose supports Bluetooth connectivity. That said, the Apple speaker may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued by the manufacturer.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) is a better speaker than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2. The Apple gets louder and has a more extended low-bass and a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. It also supports Wi-Fi, while the Bang & Olufsen supports Bluetooth. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. That said, the Bang & Olufsen has a better build and a more portable design. There's also the 'Beosonic' feature and five EQ presets on its companion app to help you customize its sound.

Google Home Max

The Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod (1st generation) are two speakers with a voice assistant built-in, and you may prefer one over the other. While both speakers have a similarly balanced sound profile, the Google speaker has a companion app that lets you EQ its bass and treble and comes with Google Assistant built-in. It also supports Chromecast. However, the Apple speaker uses Siri and supports Apple AirPlay. Since it's a 360-degree speaker, it also has an outstanding soundstage. Both speakers have been discontinued and may be difficult to find in new condition.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Apple HomePod 1 is a 360-degree speaker with a very minimalist look. It comes in either a gray or white color, and its overall fabric look doesn't stand out, making it easy to blend into your decor. If you prefer a smaller speaker, consider the Apple HomePod mini instead.

4.2
Design
Portability
Volume
203 in³ (3,332 cm³)
Weight
5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
No

It isn't very portable due to its wired design. It needs to remain connected to a power source to work, so you can't take it with you on the go.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
No
Floats In Water
No

Its build quality is passable. Its top is made of glass that feels premium, and its body is tightly wrapped in fabric that feels a bit rough to the touch. It also doesn't have an IP rating for water resistance, so it's best to avoid placing it in areas where it may get wet, like near a kitchen or bathroom sink.

8.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Tactile)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Tactile)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

This speaker has great controls. Its glass top has touch-sensitive controls that appear when tapped to easily control music. While there's no physical control to mute Siri, you can mute it with a voice command and unmute it by pressing into the glass surface and holding for a few seconds. While you can't use its controls to accept an initial call, you can tap and hold the green light atop the speaker when you receive a second call to put it on hold, and you can double-tap it to switch calls. To end a call, tap the green light once. You can also dismiss an alarm by tapping the middle of the touch-sensitive surface.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple HomePod
  • User manual

Sound
7.3
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.19
Std. Err.
2.35 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
53.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.1 kHz

The Apple HomePod 1 has decent frequency response accuracy. Overall, its sound profile is quite balanced, so voices and lead instruments are reproduced with clarity and detail. As a result, this speaker is suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, from music to podcasts to audiobooks. There aren't any sound customization tools available, but you may find that you don't need them. That said, it still doesn't bring as much rumble in the low-bass as the Apple HomePod (2nd generation).

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.5
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
0.97 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

Its soundstage performance is good. Thanks to its 360-degree design, it has outstanding directivity, resulting in an open and natural-sounding soundstage. That said, you need to pair it to another HomePod speaker to play stereo audio and downmixes stereo content to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive.

6.8
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
88.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.41 dB

The speaker's dynamics are alright. It doesn't get loud enough to fill a large crowded room, though it'll be fine if you're using it at home. That said, there's some compression present at max volume, especially in the bass range, so your audio may not sound as clean during louder listening sessions.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
10
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Siri
Built-in
Voice Assistant
Yes
Voice Activation
Yes
Microphone Mute
Yes
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Excellent

The speaker offers excellent voice assistant support with Siri built-in. You can activate Siri with your voice, and it has no trouble understanding your commands from far away and in noisy settings. That said, while you can disable Siri, there isn't a physical button you can use to mute its mic, so you need to mute it with a voice command. You can then press and hold the glass surface to reactivate Siri. For smart speakers with physical mic mute buttons, check out the Google Nest Audio or the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
Apple Home
iOS
Yes
Android
No
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

Apple Home is an alright companion app. While it's easy to use, it's only available for iOS devices. It's pretty barebones in terms of features, and there isn't a graphic EQ or presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. On the upside, you can pair it with other Apple HomePods when you want to create a stereo pair or when you want to play different audio in different rooms across your home at the same time. If you're looking for a home speaker with an app that lets you adjust the bass and treble, check out the Google Nest Mini, Denon Home 350, or the Amazon Echo Gen 4.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

This speaker doesn't have any physical inputs other than the attached charging cable.

0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No

The Apple HomePod 1 is listed as having Bluetooth 5.0, but you can't use it for directly pairing or playing audio. It's used for audio handoff, which allows you to transfer audio from your iPhone to the speaker or vice versa by tapping your device on the top of the speaker. If you want to stream content using this configuration, your iOS device must be connected via Bluetooth to the same Wi-Fi as this speaker. However, if you're using an iPhone, you can also use Apple AirPlay to wirelessly play audio. If you're looking for a home speaker that supports Bluetooth, consider the Bose Home Speaker 300 or the Bose Home Speaker 500.

8.1
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 5
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
37 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker is Wi-Fi compatible. While it has very low latency using Apple AirPlay, it delays video to compensate for audio latency, so there's a noticeable delay between the time you press play and when the video plays.