Apple was delayed in entering the consumer-priced smart speaker market, but it has finally joined Amazon and Google with the $ 99 HomePod Mini.
Here’s what you need to know: The Mini is smaller than each of the Amazon Echo’s new 4G generation Loudspeaker And Google Nest Audio. And while it doesn’t sound great for Music As either of them, (it’s much smaller, after all) on the unscientific home ears test, it probably doesn’t matter. This is a really useful speakerphone for anyone who lives in the Apple ecosystem and makes Siri Personal Assistant more competitive with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The HomePod Mini looks great as a TV speaker. More on this in a minute.
Apple first entered the smart speaker market in 2018 with the original HomePod, initially priced at $ 349, but was stumbled by complaints that the speaker did nothing more than just play music. It’s dwarfed by sales of Amazon’s Echo, the # 1 best-selling smart speaker, and what was originally called the Google Home (now Nest Audio).
If you live in an Apple ecosystem, as many of us do, you will really appreciate some of the features of Mini.
- With HomePod Mini, you can dictate texts to send to contacts. Alexa and Google can’t do that. (Nobody can read the latest emails or allow you to dictate new messages, which seems like an obvious feature to add.)
- If you lose your iPhone, this is not an uncommon problem, HomePod will send a tone to the phone that will not stop until you find it.
- You can ditch the TV speakers, and buy two HomePod Minis and connect them to your TV over the Apple TV Streamer ($ 149 or $ 179). Amazon can do this with its Echo speakers, while giving you a Fire TV streaming stick ($ 25- $ 50) or a $ 119 Fire TV Cube for hands-free TV navigation. It’s possible with Google, but not as a stereo pair, just primary speakers.
The advantage of Apple is that with Apple TV, you can access a wide range of streaming services compared to Amazon, which hasn’t offered HBO Max since it debuted in May, or NBC’s Peacock, which opened for business in July. (Amazon changed gears on Monday, and said it will start offering Max on Tuesday.)
Since TV sound is so small in nature, having the extra sound by the bedside to hear it, rather than the sound coming from the other side of the room from the woofer or TV subwoofer is a really cool home theater like an addition, which is just mindless. I heard the sound of snakes in the old “Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie that I honestly wouldn’t have heard if I weren’t browsing the headphones.
A few caveats to know: Remember, many of the mini music features promoted on the Apple website require a $ 9.99 monthly subscription to Apple Music. Asking Siri to play Drake playlist or great songs from the ’90s won’t keep you away unless you subscribe.
In addition to Apple Music, the Mini plays music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn radio. Missing: Spotify, the world’s most popular music player, YouTube Music, Amazon Music and many more.
HomePod Mini is expected to be a big seller for the holiday, (“Would you like the Mini with this new iPhone?”) Based on its size and economical price and with over a billion people using Apple mobile devices, who wouldn’t want a speaker to listen to music and podcasts Smoothly? You can turn on Talking Tech from your phone in the car, go home, pause it, and ask Siri to resume playing it on HomePod.
Which do I buy – Pod, Echo, or Nest? It really depends on which ecosystem you feel comfortable in. The Nest is the best sound out of the three for these ears, but as good as it is, do you want a Google device in your home that listens and records your conversations? (Google, like Amazon, says it only does so when it hears the “Hey Google” or “Alexa” alert, but any conversation that accidentally mentions Google or Alexa can be recorded, stored, and mined.)
If you didn’t subscribe to Apple Music, would you feel comfortable with a smart speaker optimized for this service? Are you ready to switch from Spotify?
Are you at the Amazon home, with Amazon Fire TV broadcasts, and possibly a Fire TV version, where everything revolves around Alexa? In that case, you will probably like the new Echo, if you feel the need to upgrade.
Amazon and Google 2020 releases improve audio, while the best HomePod Mini enhancements are intelligence. If you buy any of these brands, here are some friendly advice: Not long ago, in the distant sound galaxy, people bought speakers in pairs, left and right, for great stereo sound. Don’t skimp on buying one of these kids. Tango takes two people after all.
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Apple HomePod Mini Review: Attractive Price, More Useful Than Google Speakers (2020, Nov 16)
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