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Apple HomePod mini Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Dec 15, 2022 at 09:51 am
Latest change: Writing modified Dec 15, 2022 at 09:51 am
Apple HomePod mini Picture
6.4
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
6.4
Podcasts
8.5
Voice Assistant
4.4
Outdoors

The Apple HomePod mini is a smaller, more lightweight version of the discontinued Apple HomePod (1st generation). It's a smart home speaker with a similar design to the original HomePod, with a 360-degree build that fills the space around you with your favorite tunes, and a sleek style that can fit in easily with your existing living room decor. Thanks to built-in Siri, you can control its output with only your voice, meaning you can enjoy hands-free listening around your home.

Our Verdict

6.4 Music

The Apple HomePod mini is acceptable for music. It reproduces voices and lead instruments with accuracy, so it's suitable for most genres. There's a little extra punch in the high-bass to bring bass-heavy sounds like EDM and hip-hop to life. However, you can't customize its output, and it doesn't get loud enough to fill larger and more open spaces with music.

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. It also 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 will match 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. Thanks to accurate reproduction of voices in the mid-range, it's easy to follow along with your favorite shows. You can even use its built-in voice assistant features to control it hands-free. It's loud enough for an average-sized living room; however, if you have a larger space in mind, it's not quite as suitable.

Pros
  • Not a lot of compression at max volume.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
8.5 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. While it doesn't come with a physical mic mute button, you can mute Siri using your voice and press and hold its control panel for a few seconds to unmute it.

Pros
  • Built-in Siri.
  • Excellent far-field performance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
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
  • 8.5 Voice Assistant
  • 4.4 Outdoors
  1. Updated Dec 15, 2022: Updated the review for clarity and consistency.
  2. 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.
  3. Updated Oct 13, 2022: Changed 'Call Answer/End' test result from 'No' to 'Yes (Tactile)', and 'Additional Controls' from 'No' to 'Yes' in the 'Controls' box after retesting the speaker. Also added information about muting/unmuting Siri. Minor adjustments to text for consistency.
  4. Updated Dec 13, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  5. Updated Jan 19, 2021: Review published.
  6. Updated Jan 14, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This speaker 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 (1st generation) with a lighter, more spherical design. It also has 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 doesn't get very loud. Unlike the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4, there's no physical mic mute button, but you can mute Siri with your voice when you want more privacy.

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 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.

Amazon Echo Gen 4

The Amazon Echo Gen 4 is a better voice assistant speaker than the Apple HomePod mini. The Amazon has better ambient noise performance, so it can understand you more clearly in noisy settings. It also comes with bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound, and can produce a deeper bass than the Apple. It comes with Alexa built-in, but if you prefer Siri, go for the Apple instead.

Google Nest Audio

The Google Nest Audio and the Apple HomePod mini are very similar speakers overall. The Google comes with Google Assistant built-in and offers bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound profile to your liking. That said, the Apple has a wider and more spacious-sounding soundstage.

Google Nest Mini

The Apple HomePod mini is a better choice for music and videos than the Google Nest Mini, as its default sound profile is better balanced with a more extended low-bass, and it has a better soundstage performance. That said, the Google offers bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound to your liking. The Apple comes with Siri built-in, while the Google features Google Assistant.

Sonos One Gen 2/One SL

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.

Sonos Roam/Roam SL

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.

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 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.

Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4

The Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is a better speaker for voice assistant support than the Apple HomePod mini overall. The Amazon 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.

Apple HomePod (1st generation)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

It's a fairly small, spherical speaker with a discreet design. It's wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric and 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

It 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.

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

This speaker has a similar feel to the Apple HomePod (1st generation). Its materials feel solid, with sturdy mesh around the edges and a sleek glass top. Keep in mind that this home speaker isn't meant to withstand the elements, and it isn't rated for water resistance. Be careful if you plan to use it near water, like in a kitchen or a bathroom.

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

The controls are great. There's a touch-sensitive glass surface on the top of the speaker that lets you play/pause your audio and adjust the volume. You can double-tap the top to skip to the next track and triple-tap the top to skip to the previous track. If you're receiving a call while you're already on an ongoing call, you can put it on hold by tapping and holding the green light on its control panel and double-tap it to switch calls. You can end a call by tapping the green light once too. Also, you can touch and hold the top of the glass surface to activate Siri. Since there's no physical control to mute Siri, you can mute it with a voice command. You can then unmute it by pressing into the glass and holding it for a few seconds. You can also dismiss an alarm by tapping the middle of the glass.

Design
In The Box

  • Apple HomePod mini (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

This speaker has fair frequency response accuracy. Thanks to its balanced mids, voices and lead instruments are clearly reproduced, making it suitable for listening to most types of audio content. You get a little extra punch in the high-bass, too, although, like most small speakers, it can't replicate the deep rumble in the low-bass.

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

This small speaker doesn't get very loud. It can fill an average-sized living room with sound, but it struggles in larger and more open spaces.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
9.1
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
Decent

It offers good voice assistant support. It comes with Siri built-in, which you can activate with your voice, and it does an excellent job of understanding your commands from far away. That said, unlike the Apple HomePod (1st generation), it may have a bit more trouble picking up your voice in noisier environments. While there's no physical mic mute button, you can mute Siri with your voice and unmute it by pressing into the glass and holding for a few seconds.

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
No
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
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
11 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

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