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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

HomePod Mini long term review: Small but incredible

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We have been using the HomePod Mini for several months now, and we have to say that this smart speaker fits perfectly into any Apple fan’s home. It features a sleek minimalistic design and has an excellent audio quality for its size and price. It costs only $99, making it one of the cheapest Apple products. Plus, it includes technology built-in for Siri and your smart home ecosystem.

Roughly the size and weight of a softball coated in mesh fabric, this tiny device has an excellent audio quality for its size. It features an omnidirectional speaker emits sound downwards and out in a 360-degree field. A full-range driver and dual passive bass radiators are built with sufficient loudness to fill a room.

The speaker goes much louder, and its bass seamlessly integrates into the overall audio waveform. There’s an excellent overall tonal balance and consistency with no exaggerated frequencies. It has no problem filling an average size room with clear, beautiful balanced sound quality.

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There are four microphones built into the chassis. Three listens out for the “Hey Siri” command, and a fourth uses echolocation to ensure you can be heard over background noise or loud music.

The HomePod Mini is the small version of the original Apple HomePod, which Apple has discontinued. It measures just 8.4cm tall and 9.8cm wide. It can stream music and audio media from your iPhone or directly from services like Apple Music.

The small yet stylish HomePod Mini will look good in any room.
The small yet stylish HomePod Mini will look good in any room.
You can pair your HomePod Mini to create a 2-channel stereo speaker.
You can pair your HomePod Mini to create a 2-channel stereo speaker.

You can pair multiple HomePod Minis for stereo playback or multi-room audio that fills your house with a synchronized sound. This also enables the intercom feature where you can send instant voice messages to specific rooms or a subset of rooms.

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The HomePod Mini also has Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, built into the device. You can set reminders and shopping lists, send messages or have it read the news for you. It also controls your smart home devices like turning the lights on and controlling your house’s thermostat.

The brain of the HomePod Mini is Apple’s S5 chip, also found in the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE. The chip allows for great computational audio, which analyzes and optimizes the audio performance over 180 times per second based on the speaker’s position and what’s being played.

This chip also allows the HomePod Mini to support Apple’s Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless audio quality. Meaning users can play CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) tracks from Apple Music. There’s a U1 chip built-in where you can tap an iPhone to the top of the HomePod Mini to transfer whatever you’re playing on your phone to the speaker and then tap it again to move the audio back to your phone.

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The glass panel on top is opaque when the speaker is inactive, and lights go on as the music plays, which is a pleasant ambient light touch to any room. The HomePod Mini is designed as a hands-off device. Though you can tap the center of the panel, which will pause or resume your music, double-tapping skips the music forward while triple-tap skips back. A long press sets Siri into listening mode, ready for your command.

Apple includes a removable 20W wall charger in the package.
Apple includes a removable 20W wall charger in the package.
Setting up the HomePod Mini is a breeze. Just plug it in and hold your phone near the device and it will automatically set it up for you.
Setting up the HomePod Mini is a breeze. Just plug it in and hold your phone near the device and it will automatically set it up for you.

It connects via Airplay 2, and there are no physical audio connections. The 2-m power cable is fixed to a USB-C plug that slips into a 20W wall charger.

The HomePod Mini comes in white and space grey and three bold new colors – orange, yellow and blue.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Apple HomePod Mini Review

SUMMARY

Apple's HomePod Mini punches great balanced audio for a small footprint and is relatively cheaper than most Apple devices. It has several intelligent features and pairing it together makes for a great sound quality that is comparable to many other soundbars in the market today.

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HomePod Mini long term review: Small but incredibleApple's HomePod Mini punches great balanced audio for a small footprint and is relatively cheaper than most Apple devices. It has several intelligent features and pairing it together makes for a great sound quality that is comparable to many other soundbars in the market today.