I’ve been using my HomePod everyday since I got it at launch and am finally ready to share some of my thoughts on it. Spending a good amount of time with it is the only way I could get my head around who it’s for and why you should or shouldn’t get one.
For some context previously to using the HomePod I’ve been using a SONOS Play:1 in my home office. This was unplugged and put away and in its place the new space grey HomePod.
My ordering process was easy, just ordered in the Apple Store iOS app for in store pickup. I also added Apple Care + to my order.
First off setup was a lot more straightforward than the SONOS. I simply put my iPhone near it and hey presto. It saw my iPhone needed an iOS update first then once this had applied allowed me to setup HomePod. I always felt like I was fighting with SONOS in its own app and getting it onto my WiFi took a few attempts. With HomePod I was done in about 15 mins, remember I had to apply a software update.
There’s two ways I operate HomePod
1. Apple Music direct, so I ask SIRI to play something for me
2. AirPlay from an iOS device (no Bluetooth support for other devices)
I’ve found that I’m tending to do the latter option the most. I’ll be working in my office with an iPad running Music. This is using AirPlay to stream to HomePod and I select manually. I guess it’s what I’m used to with SONOS so not gotten into the habit of using my voice to do it yet.
The sound quality immediately impressed me. I fired up The Last Jedi soundtrack (I’m a big John Williams fan) and started hearing elements (especially bass) that I hadn’t heard before. I actually thought my neighbour was banging on the floor at one point until I realised it was coming from HomePod. In my daily use I listen to everything from metal to classical and HomePod does it all, very well.
I tried the SONOS again to get some perspective and it just sounded muddy. Bass heavy with no clarity, especially voices just blended into the background.
You really do need to get yourself to an Apple Store and give one a go.
I’m using it but in a limited fashion. First off, the microphones are amazing. You can talk at normal volume across the room and HomePod picks you up. I’ve tested using it for calendar (doesn’t work), Reminders and timers. The only uses I’ve found are setting timers and changing music.
That’s where SIRI stops for me.
So, should you get one? Only if you want a great speaker. As a smart assistant it’s very limited but if like me you don’t want Alexa or Google listening in then this is the only option.
I’d recommend only buying one if you want a great speaker in the house. For my money I’m pleased with it, my SONOS is for sale and as soon as AirPlay 2 comes along I’ll most probably be picking up another one for the kitchen.
Regarding Apple Care +, if you live with others and it’s in a family environment then I would recommend getting it.
Let me know what you think of HomePod in the comments.