Apple Smart Speaker Review - Second Generation HomePod 2023 Version

Contents of delivery

  • Column
  • Detachable power cable
  • Instruction


  • Dimensions - 168x142 mm (height x width), weight 2.3 kilograms
  • 4" woofer
  • Five neodymium tweeters
  • Internal microphone for bass correction
  • Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio
  • Four microphones for Siri
  • Multiroom with AirPlay
  • Stereo pair with the same speaker
  • Touch control on the top panel
  • Accelerometer
  • Humidity and temperature sensor
  • Smart Home Control Center (Matter protocol support)
  • Intercom
  • WiFi 802.11n, peer-to-peer device discovery from Apple
  • Ultra Wideband Device Discovery Chip
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Room space assessment


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The charms of smart speakers have been appreciated by many, because theyhelp voice control household items and sensors. Most people buy speakers for this purpose, almost never for use as a dedicated listening device. The first column from Apple appeared in 2019, a lot was expected from it, but it never became a breakthrough - neither in terms of smart home, nor in terms of sound quality. Expensive, massive, formally it should have sounded very good. But if we discard the rave reviews and the tone of the reviews, then the sound quality did not reach the same class of speakers from Sonos (I love them), and if we take the prototype in the form of Phantom, then the differences were striking. It is clear that Apple has a huge audience of those who consume the company's products without critical reflection as such. Product from Apple? So he's great. This is what we deserved the mediocre sound from all the company's headphones, why do it better if it does?

I read the first HomePod reviews with great interest.2023, as they often slipped the idea that the company has improved the sound quality and this is exactly what you should pay attention to. As a rule, exactly the same authors a few years before extolled the sound of the first column. Now it's time to face the truth and mention that it didn't sound very good. Here is such a dualism of informational noise.

We live in a time of crisis when companiestrying to reduce the cost of production, keep the price of products at an acceptable level. The cost of the HomePod in the US has not changed, the same $300 plus taxes. But inside there are plenty of differences from the previous version - before seven tweeters were responsible for high frequencies (now there are five of them), there were six microphones for Siri (now there are four of them). But added a humidity and temperature sensor. An attempt to achieve an optimal design and not bring down the sound quality too much.

I'll start with a simple one - such a column is ideal forfor those who use Apple Music, there is definitely a link at the level of the company's music service and file settings, read music. The built-in S7 chip is responsible for this setup, and it does a great job. And for anyone who enjoys the sound of AirPods of any model, this column will be a revelation - it sounds great against the background of Apple headphones, clearly a step in the right direction. But if you've listened to or used Sonos One, you won't be impressed by the sound. Users of speakers from Devialet (as a variant of those from Huawei) will also not understand the enthusiasm, the sound will seem simple and uninteresting. But everything in the world is relatively and directly dependent on your personal experience.

To begin with, the box with the column is voluminous, andthe column itself is heavy! Unusually heavy for this class of devices. On the other hand, you don’t have to wear it, just put it on once and forget about it.

On the underside there is a silicone insert in the color of the column. It does not slip on the surface, but traces may remain from the “legs” on glossy furniture or glass, which is normal.

The column is available in two colors - white and black.

Just like in the first HomePod, the speaker is covered with fabric material, it is practical and the dust on it is not visible, with the exception of the upper end, where there is a point of contact.

The top panel is touch-sensitive, unlike the firstgenerations have allocated volume keys (plus and minus) here, they are always visible. The panel is easily soiled, fingerprints always remain on it, so get ready to either not touch it at all (dust loves this panel), or put up with fingerprints, they are visible in almost any light.

From edge to edge, the panel has an LED, itblurry, iridescent depending on what you are doing. For example, you give a command to Siri and it pulses. Nice, but not always necessary. In general, the thing is good, it adds aesthetics to the column.

There are no physical controls on the speaker, you control it with your voice or from your phone or tablet. There is only one connector for the power cable, it is also braided.

If you have other Apple devices withsuch a cable, it will fit perfectly here, there are no problems (the cable is also white in the white column). The length of the cable allows you to put the speaker anywhere, but, as a rule, put it against the wall, and not in the center of the room.


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I like the fact that many technologies are hidden inthis column under the hood, the user knows at most that they exist, but cannot configure them. The first is an assessment of the size of the room and how sound is reflected off the walls. Moreover, this setting works both for one speaker and for a stereo pair (it can be configured only with the same speaker, the previous generation will not work).

Sound adjustment works according to the room onpractice imperceptibly, but effectively. I experimented and put the speaker in different corners of the room, forced it with things, it tried to give the sound that the developers laid down. Everything works, although the difference can not be called stunning. But it is still there (Yandex.Station announced this technology, but it simply does not work there).

Another hidden technology isa low-frequency microphone that is built into the speaker, it evaluates the sound of the bass and in real time adjusts the sound to the “correct” one. We must remember that there is no “correct” sound in the world, it's just the choice of Apple engineers who created the column. And just like with many of the company's products, you can either agree with their choice or deny it. There are no equalizer settings, those for the iPhone are not transferred to the speaker in any way. Spatial audio cannot be forced, which is relevant when using two speakers. There is support for Dolby Atmos, but again, you are isolated from all settings.

Although the number of microphones listeningthe outside world, here they reduced it to four, this is enough for the speaker to hear you (I tried it in a room of 35 squares, the speaker hears the sound from the other end of the room, no need to strain). There are no problems with this, in the settings you can specify that the speaker recognizes the voices of speakers, which allows you to access your SMS, other information from the same iPhone (it will be voiced for each user). If you do not plan to use this feature, then disable it, as it slows down Siri, commands are executed slowly.

When you first set up, you just need to turn on the speaker, go to the “Home” application, and then prompts will appear on the screen.

The column supports the Matter standard, can becomesmart home hub. So far, there are almost no devices on the market that support this standard, but you can connect the Aqara M2 hub, this is a beta version of the software. As a result, in HomeKit you will have all the devices available in M2. A good thing that expands the capabilities of Apple's smart home (it is not necessary to have the same Apple TV, you can set everything up in HomePod, the main thing is to update to the latest software version).

An acceleration sensor is built into the column (did not inventwhy is it needed, only to determine a fall or an earthquake, but so far there is nothing like that in the software). There is also a humidity indicator and a thermometer. Calibration takes from half an hour to several hours, so be patient (after turning off the light, these sensors also do not work immediately). They can be added to automation scripts, plus set up to work with other sensors or devices, for example, turn on the air conditioner when a certain temperature is reached, close the curtains, and so on.

I don't like Siri, the voice assistant fromApple is not the best. But there is simply no alternative to it on iOS, as a result, you will have to use it. A small number of commands, the most necessary are present. But no serious dialogues, the same Alice is a cut above, but in 2023 we also consider her not a very smart girl (I wonder if this phrase can be considered as sexism in our modern world?). To work with the Siri column is enough for the eyes.

Supports multi-room technology when differentApple speakers can play the same song or podcast. I like the intercom feature where you can send a message to one or all of the speakers, for example, call family to the table in a country house or "call" a child's speaker and ask what he is doing.

On the one hand, the column is very simple and thiscaptivates. The sound quality for this class of product is average, but when compared with the same speakers from Yandex, it is, of course, a cut above. But worse than the same Sonos 1. Such a speaker or speakers are excellent for those who live within the Apple ecosystem, another product that complements “Home” like a brick. And here everything is fine, no complaints can be taken into account. At $300 plus taxes, it's not that expensive of a product in the US, although many complain about the price. In Russia, the price of such a column is from 40 thousand rubles and this is already noticeable money, on the other hand, against the backdrop of the price of the iPhone, everything is fine here. Therefore, the advice is simple - listen to the speaker, evaluate the sound for yourself, see how attached you are to Apple and use Apple Music (all third-party services work worse here for a number of reasons). And if you're a dedicated Apple fan, then this speaker might be worth picking up.

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