The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is a stylish home speaker with built-in Siri for hands-free control. It has a similar design to the original Apple HomePod (1st generation), with lots of sound features to enhance your listening experience. For example, it automatically analyzes the unique acoustics of your room and adjusts the speaker's output accordingly. Its bass-EQ microphone is designed to maintain a steady response in the lower frequencies, even when you listen at low volumes. That said, it still doesn't offer sound customization tools like other smart speakers on the market.
The Apple HomePod 2 is decent for music. Like most premium devices on the market, it has a room correction tool that automatically adjusts its output based on your room's unique acoustic characteristics. Voices and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, with a touch of extra brightness in the treble. It can reproduce a more extended low-bass than its predecessor, which is great for fans of bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. That said, you can't customize its sound, which is disappointing if you want a different sound.
The Apple HomePod 2 is adequate for watching videos from your paired device. Dialogue is reproduced with clarity, and its extended low-bass ensures you feel some rumble in more action-packed scenes. However, this speaker doesn't get as loud as other models on the market, and it has some latency over Apple AirPlay. Depending on the app you're using, you may notice some lip-synching issues.
The Apple HomePod is fair for podcasts. Dialogue is reproduced with clarity right out of the box, meaning you can follow along with your favorite shows with ease. It gets loud enough to fill an average-sized room with sound, too. However, due to its wired design, you can't bring it with you to different rooms in the house, so you're limited to one spot when you listen. You'll need to buy multiple units if you want to spread sound to different rooms in your house using its multi-room function.
This speaker is fantastic for voice assistant use. Built-in Siri lets you activate the device using only your voice, meaning you can enjoy hands-free control of your smart devices. The speaker easily understands your commands, too, even if you're further away or in a noisier environment. While there isn't a physical microphone mute button, you can ask Siri to stop listening when you want more privacy.
This wired-only speaker isn't meant for outdoor use.
This speaker is available in Midnight and White color variants. While we tested the Midnight variant, we expect the White variant to offer similar performance. You can see the label for the model we tested here.
However, if you come across another version of this speaker, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
This is the second generation of the Apple HomePod with a similar design to its predecessor. However, it can reproduce a more extended low-bass, so it's better suited for listening to bass-centric music genres. However, compared to other smart speakers on the market, it doesn't offer a lot of sound customization tools. Plus, many of its features, like its companion app, are only available on iOS devices, so Android users can't access them.
The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is better than the Apple HomePod mini. The 2nd generation HomePod speaker is larger, so it can reproduce a lot more rumble in the low-bass, and it gets louder. Plus, it has a built-in room correction microphone to automatically optimize its audio based on your room's unique acoustics, which the mini lacks.
Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Amazon Echo Gen 4 or the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). Both smart speakers offer excellent voice assistant support through their respective assistants. Only the Amazon speaker can playback stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and its bass and treble adjustments make it more customizable overall. That said, the Apple speaker brings more rumble in the low-bass, which is great for fans of EDM and hip-hop.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 and the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) are both wired smart speakers designed for home use. Only the Bose supports Bluetooth audio playback, and its bass and treble adjustments make it more customizable than the Apple. However, its low-bass isn't as extended as the Apple's, so you don't hear as much rumble in bass-heavy music. The Apple speaker is well-suited to users who already own products in their ecosystem.
Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Amazon Echo Studio or the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). These speakers are designed to be integrated with products that are in their respective ecosystems, like Amazon's Zigbee hub or Apple's AirPlay. Apple's Siri does a bit better at hearing your commands in noisy environments, and it brings more rumble in the low-bass. However, the Amazon speaker is more customizable thanks to the bass and treble adjustments in its companion app.
Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Google Nest Audio or the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). Both smart speakers offer great voice assistant support through their respective assistants, though Apple's Siri does a bit better in noisier environments. The Apple has a more extended low-bass, which is great for listening to bass-centric music. However, it doesn't come with bass and treble adjustments like the Google speaker, so you can't customize its sound.
The Apple HomePod (2nd Generation) and the Sonos Era 100 are both very premium smart speakers, and depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. First, if you already own products in either the Apple or Sonos ecosystem, you'll find it's easier to integrate them with their respective speaker. For example, the Sonos speaker is designed to work with Sonos soundbars. Also, the Sonos is more customizable, with bass and treble adjustments on hand, and it supports Bluetooth, unlike the Apple speaker. However, the Apple can reproduce a better low-frequency extension, so you feel more thump and rumble in your audio.
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.
Overall, this speaker looks pretty similar to the Apple HomePod (1st generation). It has a sleek cylindrical design that blends right in with your existing home decor, available in a couple of different colors to suit your style. The top glass plate illuminates in different colors when you activate Siri, but you can always turn this feature off.
Due to its wired design, this speaker isn't portable. It's pretty lightweight, so you won't have any trouble carrying it from room to room, but it's meant to stay in one place.
Overall, the speaker's materials are of good quality. It sits on a plastic base, and there's a glass plate on top. The mesh fabric wrapping gives it a similar look to the original Apple HomePod (1st generation). Unlike the first-generation model, though, you can remove the power cable, which is handy if you want to thread the cable through a hole in your desk, for example.
On top of the speaker, there's a glass panel that you can use to control the device. You can adjust the volume or tap the buttons twice to skip to the next track or return to the previous track. You can also take calls on the HomePod and answer them by tapping on the top of the speaker. That said, the speaker is designed to be controlled with your voice, so you can command it using built-in Siri. If you want to mute the microphone, for example, you need to ask Siri to stop listening, as there isn't a physical control for this function.
This speaker has very good frequency response accuracy. Its room-sensing feature works like a room correction tool, using built-in microphones to analyze your room's unique acoustics and optimize its audio reproduction accordingly. It's always active, too. Overall, its sound is relatively even with a touch of extra brightness, making it suitable for listening to many different types of audio content.
While listening to the speaker subjectively, we found that the bass holds nicely, so you get a good round sound even at lower volumes. It's likely because of Apple's bass-EQ microphone, which they say is designed to dynamically tune lower frequencies in real-time. To test this feature, we ran a pink noise file at different volume levels, the results of which you can see here. In the graph, the louder the volume, the less of a bass range difference we see. At higher volumes, the bass tends to align with the treble.
We've received some feedback from users interested in whether it would be worthwhile to pair two 2nd Gen HomePods or to purchase the premium Bose Smart Soundbar 900. Ultimately, we found that the Bose soundbar gets much louder, and its soundstage is cleaner and more defined. The HomePods, meanwhile, have a pleasant soundstage, though it isn't as precise, giving a slightly veiled feel. There's somewhat of a hole where the center channel would usually be located, too. That said, the HomePods bring an impressive amount of bass for their size, and their Siri capabilities are a definite advantage. Depending on your preferences, you may opt for one setup over another. Adding on a sub to the Bose soundbar is a good option if you want bass with that setup, too.
This speaker's soundstage performance is good. Thanks to its 360-degree, it has fantastic directivity, meaning that sound is perceived to be wide and open-sounding. It has to downmix stereo content into mono, but you can always stereo pair it with another 2nd generation HomePod if you want.
There's been some chatter in the community about whether the HomePod is truly a mono speaker. To demonstrate why we categorize it in this way, we decided to compare it to a true stereo speaker— the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST. We started by playing a left-driver-only pink noise audio file, then connected a microphone to pick up the audio. As you can see in this video, there's about a 10 dB difference when we move the microphone from the left side of the speaker, which is playing sound, to the right side, which isn't. Then, we used our hands to cover and uncover each side of the speaker to confirm that all sound came from the left side. Finally, we repeated the same process on the HomePod. This time, there was only about a 1 dB difference between the left and right side of the speaker. Even when we use our hands to cover one side of the speaker, audio is still heard without issue.
This speaker gets loud enough to fill an average-sized living room with sound. However, it's not suitable for listening in larger or more open spaces. While our graph shows some compression in the bass range at max volume, we suspect that this is due to the bass-EQ dynamic tuning, as in actuality, you don't notice much compression in the mix.
Built-in Siri offers excellent voice assistant support with this speaker. You can activate the speaker using your voice, and it has no trouble hearing your commands clearly, even if you're further away from the speaker itself. While there isn't a physical microphone mute button, you can ask Siri to stop listening when you want privacy. To turn Siri back on, just press and hold the top of the device.
The Apple Home app lets you control the speaker from your phone or mobile device. Only available with iOS, it helps you manage other Apple speakers in your ecosystem for stereo pairing or spreading audio throughout multiple rooms in your home. Also, you can set alarms and timers, which is handy. However, there aren't any customization features on hand like with the Sonos Era 100, which is disappointing.
Given the interest from the community, we decided to stereo pair two HomePod speakers and subjectively evaluate the sound. We also launched an Apple TV 4K and added the device to the same Room as both speakers in the Apple Home app. With stereo content such as music, we found speakers offer a balanced sound with a solid amount of bass. The soundstage is wide, and sound effects are accurately localized to the left and the right, as you would expect with stereo speakers. With movies and videos, dialogue and other details are reproduced with clarity. There's a good amount of bass, but not as much as you would find with a dedicated subwoofer. Similarly, Atmos content is clear and engaging but not as immersive as a 5.1 setup. There's a sense of elevation towards the front and the sides on some scenes, but no real sense of height over your head or behind you. You can also ask Siri questions while watching movies or listening to music, which is handy. Siri's only functional on one of the two speakers, though.
While this speaker is advertised to support Bluetooth 5.0, you can't stream audio to the speaker over this connection. Rather, it's used in the initial setup process.
This speaker is Wi-Fi compatible, and you can stream audio from your mobile devices over Apple AirPlay. Its latency is a touch higher than with the Apple HomePod (1st generation), but some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience can vary.