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Apple HomePod mini Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Dec 13, 2021 at 04:49 pm
Apple HomePod mini Picture
6.4
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
6.4
Podcasts
7.6
Voice Assistant
4.4
Outdoors
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi
Yes
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
No

The Apple HomePod mini is a smaller, more lightweight version of the discontinued Apple HomePod. It offers built-in Siri capabilities, and the microphone does an excellent job understanding you even if you aren't very close to it. It's compatible with the Apple Home app, which you can use to pair this speaker with other HomePod minis. However, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, and it doesn't get very loud. It also doesn't have a mic mute button, which may not be ideal for all listeners. As it's powered by AC, it isn't suitable to bring outdoors.

Our Verdict

6.4 Music

The Apple HomePod mini is passable for music. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly, though higher-pitched voices and instruments can sound a bit dark. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, struggles to reproduce low-bass, and there isn't a graphic EQ to tweak its sound. Also, it requires a second unit to play stereo audio and downmixes stereo audio to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive.

Pros
  • Not a lot of compression at max volume.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
5.6 Videos/Movies

The Apple HomePod mini is sub-par for videos and movies. This speaker doesn't get very loud and struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Also, it needs to be paired to a second unit to play stereo sound and downmixes stereo content to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive. On the upside, its latency over Apple AirPlay is low, so the audio you hear should match with the images you see.

Pros
  • Low latency on Apple AirPlay.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • No Bluetooth pairing.
6.4 Podcasts

The Apple HomePod mini is acceptable for podcasts. It has a balanced, neutral mid-range that can reproduce dialogue clearly, though higher-pitched voices may sound a bit veiled. Unfortunately, this speaker doesn't get very loud, and it doesn't have a very portable design. On the upside, its directivity is incredible, so its soundstage is open and spacious.

Pros
  • Not a lot of compression at max volume.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
7.6 Voice Assistant

The Apple HomePod mini is good for voice assistant support. It has built-in support for Siri, which you can activate with your voice. It can easily understand you from far away, though it may not perform as well if you're in a noisy setting. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a mic mute button, so you can't control when it's listening to you.

Pros
  • Built-in Siri.
  • Excellent far-field performance.
Cons
  • No mic mute button.
4.4 Outdoors

The Apple HomePod mini isn't designed for outdoor use due to its wired design.

  • 6.4 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 6.4 Podcasts
  • 7.6 Voice Assistant
  • 4.4 Outdoors
  1. Updated Dec 13, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Updated Jan 19, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jan 14, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Apple HomePod mini is a fairly small, spherical speaker with a discreet design. It's wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric, and it sits on a rubber base. There's a backlit touch surface on top, with the controls. It comes in 'Space Gray', 'White', 'Blue', 'Orange', and 'Yellow', so you can choose the color that best suits your home decor.

5.8
Design
Portability
Volume
48 inยณ (790 cmยณ)
Weight
0.7 lbs (0.3 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Apple HomePod mini isn't very portable. While it's small, lightweight, and easy to carry in one hand, it isn't battery-powered and needs to remain connected to a power source for it to work, so it isn't easy to bring along with you when you're on the move.

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

The Apple HomePod mini has an unremarkable build quality. It has a similar feel to the Apple HomePod. There's a glass top, a rubber bottom, and a mesh contour that feels sturdy and a bit spongy. Also, the non-detachable power cable is threaded. That said, this speaker doesn't have any IP ratings for dust or water resistance, so it's better suited to use in your home, away from sources of water like your kitchen sink.

7.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Tactile)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
No

The controls are decent. There's a touch-sensitive glass surface on the top of the speaker that lets you adjust the volume. You can also double-tap the top to skip to the next track and triple-tap the top to skip to the previous track. You can touch and hold the top to activate Siri, and you can tap the top once to play/pause your audio. That said, there isn't a mic mute button you can press when you no longer want the built-in voice assistant to listen to you.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple HomePod mini speaker (with built-in cable)
  • Quick start guide
  • AC adapter with USB-C port

Sound
6.5
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.41
Std. Err.
3.49 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
70.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.7 kHz

The Apple HomePod mini has fair frequency response accuracy. Like many small speakers, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music. However, its balanced mid-range makes it suitable for a wide range of audio content, though the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments may sound a bit veiled or dull. Unfortunately, there aren't any sound customization features like a graphic EQ or presets you can use to adjust its sound to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.3
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
1.30 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

This speaker's soundstage is decent. It has fantastic directivity thanks to its 360-degree design, so you can clearly hear your audio from all angles. That said, it needs to be connected to another unit to play stereo audio, and downmixes stereo content when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive.

5.9
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
76.7 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.36 dB

The Apple HomePod mini's dynamics performance is sub-par. It doesn't get very loud, so it isn't suitable to use in large crowded rooms or parties. That said, there isn't much compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds mostly clean when you push it to its maximum volume level.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
7.7
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
Built-in
Voice Activation
Yes
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Decent

The Apple HomePod mini offers good voice assistant support. It comes with Siri built-in, which you can activate with your voice, and does an excellent job of understanding your commands from far away. That said, unlike the Apple HomePod, it may have a bit more trouble picking up your voice in noisier environments. Also, there isn't a mute mic button, so you can't control when it's listening to you.

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

The Apple Home app is okay. You can use it to pair your speaker with other Apple HomePods to create a stereo pair, play your music through a large area, or listen to different audio in different rooms in your house. Unfortunately, there aren't any sound customization features available.

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

The Apple HomePod mini doesn't have any wired inputs other than its non-detachable charging cable.

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

According to the manufacturer, this speaker has Bluetooth 5.0, but you can't use it for pairing or playing audio. Instead, you can use it for audio handoff, which lets you transfer audio from your iPhone to the speaker by tapping your device on the top.

8.2
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 4
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
11 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

The Apple HomePod mini has impressive Wi-Fi connectivity. It supports Apple AirPlay, and it has low latency, so you can use it to watch videos or movies.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Apple HomePod mini comes in 'Space Gray', 'White', 'Blue', 'Orange', and 'Yellow'. We expect them to perform similarly. We tested the 'Space Gray' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Apple HomePod mini is a smaller version of the discontinued Apple HomePod with a lighter, more spherical design. It also comes with built-in support for Siri, and its microphone can understand you clearly even if you aren't close to the speaker. However, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, and it doesn't get very loud. Unlike the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4, you can't mute the microphone, either.

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

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The HomePod has a more neutral sound profile and it 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. That said, 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.

Amazon Echo Gen 4

The Amazon Echo Gen 4 is a better voice assistant speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The Amazon has a better ambient noise performance, so it can understand you more clearly in noisy settings. It also comes with a mic mute button and bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound. 

Sonos One Gen 2

The Sonos One Gen 2 and the Apple HomePod mini are similar speakers. The Sonos can produce a more extended low-bass with its Trueplay room correction feature enabled. Its companion app also features bass and treble adjustments you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. However, the Apple has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage. While it doesn't get as loud as the Sonos, it has less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volumes.

Google Nest Audio

The Google Nest Audio and the Apple HomePod mini are very similar speakers overall, but the Google is a better choice for voice assistant support. The Google comes with a mic mute button, so you can control when it's listening to you. Also, it offers bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound. That said, the Apple has a better soundstage.

Google Nest Mini

The Google Nest Mini is a better voice assistant speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The Google comes with a mic mute button, which gives you more control over when the speaker is listening to you. It also offers bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound. However, the Apple is a better choice for music and videos, as its default sound profile is better-balanced with a more extended low-bass, and it has a better soundstage performance.

Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The Sonos is more portable and better-built, and it also gets louder. Its voice assistant performance is better, and it has bass and treble adjustments. Also, it supports Bluetooth. However, the Apple has a better soundstage performance.

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 and the Apple HomePod mini are designed for different uses. The JBL is a portable, battery-powered Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It's designed to be taken along with you on the go and can get a bit louder than the Apple. The Apple is a Wi-Fi speaker with Siri built-in and is designed for use at home. It needs to remain plugged into an outlet to work. It has less compression present at max volume and offers a wider-sounding soundstage. Its Apple Home companion app is also only available with iOS devices.

Sonos One SL

The Sonos One SL and the Apple HomePod mini have different strengths. The Sonos offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass when its Trueplay tuning feature is on. You can even tweak its sound using the bass and treble adjustments featured in its companion app. That said, the Apple comes with Siri built-in and can understand your commands from far away and in noisier settings. Also, it has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage.

JBL Charge 5

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Apple HomePod mini or the JBL Charge 5. The Apple is a wired speaker designed for home use. It offers good voice assistant support with Siri built-in. It also has better directivity, resulting in a more open-sounding soundstage. That said, the JBL is battery-powered, making it portable. It can also get louder and has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Apple.

Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4

The Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is a better speaker for voice assistant support than the Apple HomePod mini. The Amazon offers a mic mute button, and it has a better ambient noise performance, so it can understand you better in noisy settings. Also, it has bass and treble adjustments for customizing its sound. However, the Apple is better for music and videos, as it has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and a better soundstage.

Amazon Echo Studio

The Amazon Echo Studio is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini overall. The Amazon can get louder with less compression at max volume, so your audio sounds mostly clean at louder volumes. It has Alexa built-in and can understand your commands from far away. You can connect your audio source to the speaker via Bluetooth, and the speaker also has a Zigbee hub built-in so you can connect and control compatible smart home devices like lightbulbs or thermostats using Alexa. That said, the Apple comes with Siri built-in, which some iOS users may prefer.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose SoundLink Revolve or the Apple HomePod mini. The Bose is a Bluetooth speaker that's Battery-powered and better-built, so you can easily carry it along with you when you're on the go. While it uses the voice assistants from your smartphone, it has little trouble understanding your commands from far and in noisier settings. The Apple is a home speaker that comes with Siri built-in, which some users may prefer.

Sonos Five

The Sonos Five is a better speaker for music than the Apple HomePod mini. It can get louder than the Apple and can produce a thumpy and rumbling low-bass which may please fans of bass-heavy music. It also comes with bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound to your liking. However, the Apple comes with Siri built-in and can understand your commands from far and in noisy settings. It also has significantly less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volumes.

Bose Home Speaker 500

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini overall. The Bose is a stereo Bluetooth speaker that can get louder and produce a more extended low-bass than the Apple. There are bass and treble adjustments in its companion app to tweak its sound to your liking. It also offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and has no trouble understanding your commands. However, the Apple comes with Siri built-in, which some Apple users may prefer. It also has better directivity, resulting in a more open-sounding soundstage.

Sonos Roam SL

The Sonos Roam SL is a slightly better speaker than the Apple HomePod mini overall, though they have different strengths. The Sonos is a portable Bluetooth speaker that's better built and is designed to be easy to transport with you on the go. It can get louder than the Apple. It also has a slightly more balanced sound profile out of the box, and you can customize its sound to your liking using the bass and treble sliders in its companion app. The Apple is a wired Wi-Fi speaker designed for use at home and comes with Siri built-in. Thanks to its 360-degree design, it also has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more spacious sounding soundstage.

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