Apple HomePod mini Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 19, 2021 at 09:19 am
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 Apple HomePod. It also 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 makes it easy to pair this speaker with other HomePod minis. However, like many small speakers, 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. Also, as it's powered by AC, it isn't really 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-frequency noises can sound a bit dark. Unfortunately, there isn't an EQ to help you customize its sound to your liking. Also, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, and it doesn't get very loud. It has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound 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 struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thumps and rumbles in action-packed scenes. Also, it has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound as immersive. It doesn't get very loud, either. On the upside, its latency over Apple AirPlay is quite 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-frequency sounds may be 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. The speaker can understand you even if you're far away, though it may not perform as well if you're in a noisy setting. It also doesn't have a mic mute button, so you can't really 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 has to be plugged into an outlet to work, so it isn't suitable for outdoor use.

  • 6.4 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 6.4 Podcasts
  • 7.6 Voice Assistant
  • 4.4 Outdoors

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' and 'White', so you can choose the color scheme that best suits your home decor.

5.8
Design
Portability
Volume
48 in³ (790 cm³)
Weight
0.7 lbs (0.3 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Apple HomePod mini has sub-par portability. It's small, lightweight, and easy to carry with one hand. However, you have to keep it plugged into an outlet for it to work, so you can't really bring it with you on-the-go.

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

This speaker 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.

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.

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
70.2 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.

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

This speaker has a decent soundstage. Its directivity is incredible, resulting in a soundstage that's perceived as open and spacious. However, unlike the Apple HomePod, it has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound as immersive.

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

The Apple HomePod mini has a middling dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, so it probably isn't suitable to use at parties. On the upside, there isn't a lot of compression present when you play it at max volume.

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

This speaker doesn't have a 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 has built-in Siri capabilities, which you can activate using your voice. The speaker can understand you clearly even if you're far away. However, unlike the Apple HomePod, it may have some trouble picking up your voice if you're in a noisy setting.

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. You can pair it with other speakers to create a stereo pair, play your music through a large area, or listen to music 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

This speaker doesn't have any physical inputs besides 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' and 'White', and we expect them both 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 so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Apple HomePod mini is a smaller version of the 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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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