HomePod review: Your mileage may vary, but crank it up for the ride

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  • Reply 81 of 109

    Apologies as it is Monday and my brain isn't processing at optimal levels, but is there a clear cut answer as to whether my wife can use the HomePod when I am away, if I have setup the HomePod with my account?

    I'm not able to concentrate on the posts to see if this has already been addressed or answered.

  • Reply 82 of 109
    Basic question: I understand that HomePod connects via WiFi (using AirPlay) rather than Bluetooth, but does it otherwise work like a Bluetooth speaker? In particular, I use a Bose SoundLink Mini bluetoothed to my MacBook Pro to output all sound from the computer, including iTunes music but also streaming audio and video from other sources as well as all of the chimes and other sounds that the computer itself makes. Will HomePod work with the MacBook Pro this way as well, or will it just play output from iTunes (I don't subscribe to Apple Music)?
  • Reply 83 of 109
    Review needs to be split. 1. Music speaker qua speaker. How does it compare with other compact speakers in the same price range, never mind whether or not there is a voice assistant. Now, rate that how many out of five. 2. Voice assistant. How many out of five?
    It's surprisingly not to see many reviews like that, e.g. this isn't necessarily competing with an Echo, it's competing with a pair of Sonos Ones with Alexa or a Home Mini+Chromecast+Dumb (probably powered) Speakers. But it looks like Neil already has a Denon in his set up so I assume for him, this brings very little extra to his home besides always-on-Siri
  • Reply 84 of 109
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    edited February 12 tmay
  • Reply 85 of 109
    Homepod missed out on the connections front too!  No bluetooth, usb, digital in/out and rca input hardware wise and only works with Apple mobile devices!  No Spotify or other music services that not owned by Apple.  Very, very limited appeal for Homepod while it competitions are more open sourced devices.
  • Reply 86 of 109
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 
    edited February 12
  • Reply 87 of 109

    Apologies as it is Monday and my brain isn't processing at optimal levels, but is there a clear cut answer as to whether my wife can use the HomePod when I am away, if I have setup the HomePod with my account?

    I'm not able to concentrate on the posts to see if this has already been addressed or answered.

    She can listen to music and control HomeKit, set timers, and ask basic queries. Things that require your phone (your messages, your reminders, your notes) will be inaccessible. 
    bestkeptsecret
  • Reply 88 of 109
    chasm said:
    Obviously this is a very sincere review from a real HomePod owner, I've been paying attention to those. The things Neil singled out as the biggest issues, it seems to me, could all be fixed in future software updates, so I'm not particularly concerned about them -- to me it is obvious that you will eventually be able to set up a HomePod with an Android phone, since you can subscribe to Apple Music on those devices (as an example), but its not here yet. The first year, I predict, will bring a number of software updates to HomePod (starting this spring).

    I agree with Foggyhill that this review's overall score should have been broken out, primarily because of the "potential" as Neil called it. From every review I've seen, the speaker is a 4.5 or 5 out of five, and Siri is a 2.5 or 3 out of five. Since Siri will do nothing but grow (though I very much doubt it will ever be on par with the iOS version, since it's not really intended to do so), breaking the score out in this manner makes it clearer to skimmers who don't read much or any of the article that if you're buying it for music, it's a great deal for the money. If you're buying it to be as much of a vocal assistant as Alexa, look elsewhere -- or check back in a year or two.
    I wouldn't hold your breath for the HomePod setup with an Android phone thing. Because Apple has positioned itself as the company that pays attention to security, it's highly unlikely they will provide a non-Apple portal into HomePod's setup and security settings. Security is only as strong as the weakest link, so enabling a much more easily hackable device to be used to then set up an Apple device would represent an entirely unacceptable security hole. Because HomePod can serve as a HomeKit hub, keeping its setup secure is paramount. The whole point of a HomeKit hub is to ensure secure, encrypted connection from outside the home to inside the home so that there is no insecure point of entry that would allow surreptitious control of automated lights, locks and garage door openers. They're not going to risk a hacked Android phone being used to transfer hacked settings to a HomePod, which then opens the door (in some cases literally) for nefarious access to HomeKit controlled devices.
    foregoneconclusion
  • Reply 89 of 109
    newcode said:
    Puzzled  to read the comment in the review about “play the latest album by” not working as I’ve done that loads of times on my iPhone. So I tried it on my HomePod. “Hey Siri, play the latest album by Grandaddy”, and it came back “Here’s Last Place by Grandaddy”. Spot on. 

    I do have an Apple Music subscription, maybe that makes a difference?
    Perhaps that's the case, I don't know. But I make sure all of my albums have years on them and are properly tagged when uploaded to iTunes Match, so there's no real reason it shouldn't work.
  • Reply 90 of 109
    I remember being blown away when the Bose Wave Radio came out.  "3-feet of waveguide" looped around inside that little flat wedge shape.  Mother in law still has one, and when it's on, it's reminiscent of that initial reaction.  

    Also, I recall a ?Bowers & Wilkins? speaker sold in the Apple store five years ago or so.  $600 if I recall.  Shaped like a large, stretched out football.

    I assume the HomePod is way better than the wave radio.  Wonder how it stacks up against the B&W (audio quality/separation only, not all the beam-forming stuff)  $600 is "real money" in this space, and owners should expect at least 10-good years out of it, if not more.

    Any anecdotal thoughts on Homepod vs either of those home-devices?

    E.

  • Reply 91 of 109
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,569member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 
    "Apple made the HomePod too short for best sound" sure sounds like FUD. I'd speculate Apple engineers are quite capable of understanding their own product, and I'd guess that marketing didn't want to complicate setup with a bunch of arcane, and perhaps inconvenient. rules for placement for a compact consumer product.

    But now, the cats out of the bag; expect a lot of pedestals of various configurations becoming available over the next year. 
  • Reply 92 of 109
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 
    "Apple made the HomePod too short for best sound" sure sounds like FUD.
    I agree, doesn't sound right at all so not entirely comfortable with the med student testing. 
  • Reply 93 of 109
    Review needs to be split. 1. Music speaker qua speaker. How does it compare with other compact speakers in the same price range, never mind whether or not there is a voice assistant. Now, rate that how many out of five. 2. Voice assistant. How many out of five?
    Based on this logic, the first iPhone should have been reviewed three times: one score for its use as a phone, another as an iPod, and a third as a web browser. Or how about the Apple Watch? Is it a fitness tracker, a timepiece, or a new platform for apps on your wrist?

    The product needs to be reviewed as a whole, and readers are intelligent enough to decipher whether or not the shortfalls of a product apply to them.
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 94 of 109
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 

    Oh I’m sure they did, but they cannot control the material it’s resting on. This is one of those cases of a design compromise. Apple didn’t want a speaker that would be the visual focal point of the living room so placing it on a pedestal wouldn’t fly, especially since the difference is only going to noticed by:

    1. Real audiophiles with test equipment. 
    2. Fake audiophiles who read the reports written by real audiophiles. 

    Still, an amazing result for Apple’s audio team. One chap on Reddit said that with the volume cranked all the way up, the HomePod can still hear his instructions from the next room without him having the shout. I mean, how the hell…?



  • Reply 95 of 109
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 
    "Apple made the HomePod too short for best sound" sure sounds like FUD. I'd speculate Apple engineers are quite capable of understanding their own product, and I'd guess that marketing didn't want to complicate setup with a bunch of arcane, and perhaps inconvenient. rules for placement for a compact consumer product.

    But now, the cats out of the bag; expect a lot of pedestals of various configurations becoming available over the next year. 
    Ah no, I wasn’t being clear. The problem isn’t the height of the unit; it’s the material it’s sitting on. Foam is good, air is better. For people without an audio lab, a pedestal is not going to make a scrap of difference, even if they say it does. Most “audiophiles” reckon they have the hearing range of a Kryptonian sound engineer so we’ll soon see a lot of concrete pedestals being sold to idiots for thousands. 
  • Reply 96 of 109
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,271member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    foggyhill said:
    If someone is really interested in an actual in depth review from someone mainly interested in the incredible sound in this thing I recommend this review:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7wwtqy/apple_homepod_the_audiophile_perspective/?st=jdjh9a8i&sh=369b1c1d

    I was just heading here to post that very same link. It turned up on my twitter feed because Phil Schiller posted it. 

    Th reviewer carefully detailed his test equipment and his environment then asked other people on the group to peer review his findings. When he came across results that were too good to true he checked again and then again confirm. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn the chap is a medical student. 

    Possibly the best technical review of any gadget I’ve read in years. 

    The group seems to agree with his findings, but wonder if Apple might have even better results if the Homepod was mounted on a pedestal. 

    Anyway, I’m buying one (the HomePod, not a pedestal). 
    Yeah I saw advice a few days ago for those not hearing the great sound to put it on a stack of books rather than a bookshelf. If true tho it is strange that a medical student discovered Apple made the HomePod too short to get the best sound. Surely they would have tested for that. 
    Putting the HomePod on a pedestal that is elevated above an acoustically reflective surface doesn't make any sense to me, at least for the performance of the microphones. This could create multi-path interference for the microphones and reduce the effectiveness and accuracy of its listening reception. Perhaps the HomePod would compensate for the multi-path interference  during its tuning phase. On the sound production side you would also be introducing an additional reflective path for reverberation. Again, the HomePod could compensate during its tuning phase. The only potential benefit of mounting the HomePod on a pedestal that I can think of off the top of my head is to reduce the mechanical coupling of sound into the surface the HomePod is sitting on. This would require a flexible/resilient pedestal of some sort, like the ones that I are an option for the AudioEngine 2+ computer speakers. 

    I think Apple went to great lengths to ensure the HomePod sounds great wherever you place it in your living space. It will adapt to you rather than you having to adapt to it. But if you think it sounds better sitting on a book, perhaps even a particular book by a specific author - go for it. Whatever it takes to make you happy is just fine. 
  • Reply 97 of 109
    nhughes said:

    Apologies as it is Monday and my brain isn't processing at optimal levels, but is there a clear cut answer as to whether my wife can use the HomePod when I am away, if I have setup the HomePod with my account?

    I'm not able to concentrate on the posts to see if this has already been addressed or answered.

    She can listen to music and control HomeKit, set timers, and ask basic queries. Things that require your phone (your messages, your reminders, your notes) will be inaccessible. 

    Thanks Neil.
  • Reply 98 of 109
    OK, never mind the review, other than The Crystal Method I’ve never heard of a single song or group mentioned in the article. Now I am curious.
  • Reply 99 of 109
    OK, never mind the review, other than The Crystal Method I’ve never heard of a single song or group mentioned in the article. Now I am curious.
    Honestly, my first draft of this review didn't mention any songs at all, because frequently I find that it devolves into either a reviewer trying to show off their eclectic taste in music, or commenters complaining about said taste in music (see the YouTube comments on the comparison video Max did, or see comments here about how the review is poor because it focuses on my experience and point of view). My first inclination was to just avoid all of that, because it distracts from the review of the product itself.

    Conversely, I wanted to test out music that I listen to regularly and is in heavy rotation. So I went mostly with stuff recently added to my library, under the "Recently Added" list of albums in Music, because that's where I spend most of my time listening. I figure that's the stuff that's fresh on my mind and in my ears, so it gives the best assessment of how I good (or bad) I think the songs sound.

    In the end, obviously, I decided to give some examples where the sound stood out to me, just for the sake of transparency. And I also wanted to give examples of artist names where Siri was just way off base. You're the first person who brought it up, and for that I'm glad -- I'd say that suggests I achieved what I sought out to do (focus on the product itself).

    That said, I'm open to suggestions on how to do this better in the future! This review draft went through a number of different iterations before we ended up with what you see here. I also don't like to make myself the centerpiece of the review, I try to be relatively anonymous in my writing, but in this case it felt appropriate. In the end, I try to let each review be its own "thing" depending on how the product itself makes me feel. Don't want to get too formulaic.
    dtb200
  • Reply 100 of 109
    Neil,

    I think was a good review -- about as objective as it could be.  In order to evaluate a listening experience, at some point one has to listen to music that is familiar -- if only to compare it with ones other listening experiences -- the same, good, better, worse, and why.

    It does me no good to listen to unfamiliar songs that others prefer as I have no point of reference.

    However, if you suggest a song that sounds good to you -- I can try to find it, to see if it sounds good to me too (regardless of whether I like the song or not).  If it does, likely, I will play the song on other speakers (available to me) to see how it compares... That has value -- even if I never play the song again.

    Also, it is useful to play the song thru iTunes where one can avoid the Siri deficiencies and, optionally, adjust the EQ settings to suit one's listening preferences.

    The instrumentation and graphs provided in some reviews are of some use -- but it really comes down to what sounds good.

    I can't define what sounds  good, but like porn,  I know it when I hear it!
    edited February 13 nhughes
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