Whilst the HomePod mini has been around for 2 years now it has continuously received updates (including Apple recently enabling temperature and humidity sensors) and is a fantastic smart speaker for your home. In our Apple HomePod mini 2023 review we share why this is a great smart speaker!
What is the HomePod mini?
The HomePod mini is Apple’s budget smart speaker retailing at £99 new but easily available refurbished for between £70 and £85. Whilst pricier than budget smart speakers from the likes of Amazon and Google it packs a far superior sound quality coupled with a modern design and a focus on privacy.
The HomePod mini Design
The rounded, mesh-covered design of the HomePod looks modern and the choice of 5 colours (black, white, blue, orange and yellow) lets you pick the colours that match your home. Apple have created a compact design that doesn’t compromise on sound quality and, the top has a touch sensitive panel for performing a variety of actions including volume controls, play, pause, skip and Siri.
The only downside of the HomePod mini is that the cable is built in which means if you damage it there is no way to replace it…it is however, a sturdy, braided cable so we don’t see it having any durability issues. This cable links to a USB C cable which requires a 20w or 18w charging brick (included with the HomePod mini)
Apple HomePod Mini 2023 Review: Specification
Inside this compact speaker you’ll find 4 microphones, a chip for enhancing the 360 degree audio and a variety of speakers. That fabric on the outside is acoustically transparent and audio adapts depending on where it’s placed in your room.
It connects to your phone thanks to it’s build in bluetooth 5 and Wifi (Note: it cannot operate as a bluetooth speaker).
Those microphones and speakers allow Siri to respond to you every time and for a fantastic audio experience in a tiny package. Whilst it’s not as good as my SONOS One speakers it’s really not far off in terms of quality at all!
How do you setup the HomePod mini
Apple have perfected the setup process for their devices over the last few years and you simply hold your phone close-by and follow the instructions on screen. Once setup, you can update software and tweak some settings via Apple’s Home app.
What does the HomePod mini sound like?
The HomePod mini packs a punch for such a small speaker and, in listening to everything from country to metal on it over the last month I’ve been really happy with the sound quality that packs in a great range of highs, mids and lows.
There’s also the option to lower bass in the options within Apple’s home app as well but no real EQ options.
Finally, it has a really good low volume as well which is great when you want to listen to music quietly late at night without disturbing your neighbours.
How does Siri work on the HomePod mini?
Siri has been ridiculed in the past for being behind other smart assistants but, in part thanks to Siri Shortcuts, we think Siri is really good these days! The only limitations come from which services are compatible with the HomePod mini.
If you want to stream music controlling your voice with the HomePod mini you’re limited to Apple Music, Pandora (USA Only), iHeart Radio and TuneIn radio. Other services such as Spotify can play on the HomePod mini but you’ll need to use the airplay/handoff feature from your phone. (Apple have opened up the option for third parties to introduce Siri integration but services such as Spotify haven’t enabled this yet).
For other tasks you can easily add things to reminders, ask information about maps, ask questions, find out what’s on your calendar, set multiple timers and a whole variety of other things. Tasks such as reminders and questions which require personal information can be turned on or off via the HomePod settings and, thanks to the HomePod’s voice recognition the right items will be added to the right person’s calendar, reminders etc.
There is also an intercom feature which allows you use HomePods to announce things around your house e.g. ‘dinner’s ready’. This is a nice feature but not something we’ve used much.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that some tasks such as recipes which assistants like Alexa will read out are simply met with a response from Siri for you to continue the task on your phone.
All in all however, for managing your HomeKit enabled smart home devices, playing music, questions and timers Siri on the HomePod pretty much does everything we want and, as matter gets rolled out this will get even better for smart home users.
Our Verdict on the HomePod mini
Even at £99 the HomePod mini is a great sounding, compact smart speaker for your home, however, with great refurbished deals out there allowing you to pick these up with 12 or 24 month warranties for between £65 and £85 the HomePod mini is the best smart speaker available for Apple users.