Apple’s Latest HomePod Mini: A Hands-On Review
Apple’s HomePod Mini returns with brighter colors and smarter features.
Apple’s powerful and versatile HomePod Mini smart speaker has returned in time for the holidays with a few new tricks up its sleeve and three new colors. While it’s not the complete overhaul Apple put forth with their new MacBook Pro or iPad Mini, it does replace the larger HomePod and supplant its own Mini predecessor entirely. Here are all the goodies packed into the new HomePod Mini.
Colors are the immediately noticeable change here. There are now blue, orange and yellow options joining the original white and space gray colors. Otherwise, the form factor remains unchanged with the speaker taking the shape of a friendly looking ball that’s surprisingly weighty. The HomePod Mini is still topped with a color-changing control panel that gives a small visual cue when Siri is active.
The speaker is still wired and must be plugged into an outlet at all times which undercuts any potential for portable use but does make it a consistently reliable staple of home entertainment and personal assistance. Apple appears adamant about not wanting the HomePod to be confused with lesser bluetooth speakers that have become ubiquitous but don’t have the same smart functions.
The lack of bluetooth connectivity and portability in the HomePod Mini is a shame because the sound that this thing pumps out is genuinely impressive given its diminutive form. Apple’s latest audio devices are damn impressive. From AirPod Pro to AirPod Max to integrated speakers in their computers to HomePods themselves, Apple’s innovations on both the hardware and software side are yielding incredible results like 360 degree sound and spatial audio. These improvements must be heard to be believed, they’re that much of a difference maker.
Of course, like most Apple products, the HomePod Mini actually does more when it’s surrounded with other Apple devices. AppleTVs can use the Mini for entertainment audio in a home theater setting. iPhones will hand off music that’s actively playing once they come into proximity with a Mini. Siri will deliver reminders and notifications as well as make HomeKit voice controls available anywhere within earshot of the Mini. Now that Apple has integrated Shortcuts into their latest software, Mini’s can be used for even more macro-style functionality that’s only dependent on the creativity of the user.
The new HomePod Mini is available now in-store and on Apple’s site for $99.