Overview & Price

In this Apple HomePod review we go over everything you need to know about this smart speaker, as well as showcasing the best deals here in the UK.

The HomePod uses Siri as a voice assistant to help you keep control of your day, but there is fierce competition in the smart speaker world.

Competitors like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and many more are all fighting to claim that number one spot in the smart speaker world.

The Apple HomePod was released in the UK back on February 9th of 2018, but since then has had a couple of major updates that really upgrade this speaker.

The HomePod is iconic and a real symbol of how far Apple has come since the days of the iPod, hence why half of the name resembles Apples past.

To buy the Apple HomePod it is currently £279 here in the UK, making it a much more expensive alternative to the likes of the Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Something that is worth bearing in mind is that the Apple HomePod does offer better sound quality than the Sonos One speaker, which is nothing short of spectacular.

Lets take a closer look at what the Apple HomePod brings to the table..

Design

So when looking at the Apple HomePod design we see that it looks extremely similar to the Amazon Echo Plus, with a cylindrical shape coated in a mesh fabric to help with sound quality.

The HomePod is slightly smaller than the Echo Plus but it is chunkier, it surprising how compact this device is which makes it easy to blend into a modern, stylish interior design.

We were lucky enough to get a hold of the Apple HomePod for just over 2 weeks, and we have to say we loved our time with it.

We placed the device in our living room and from a design perspective it fit right in.

The HomePod comes in either a White or a Grey colour; we found most people tend to choose the same colour as they have in their iPhone.

The first thing we noticed with the speaker is that it is noticeably heavier than other smart speakers we have used; the HomePod weighs in at a hefty 2.5KG.

apple homepod design

Image: 9to5Mac

The reason for this weight is because it has so many speakers compact into such a small space, which makes it incredible for sound quality, but more on that shortly.

At the base of the speaker is one small power port that is actually built into the speaker, which means that it cannot be removed without a serious amount of effort.

Sadly there is no AUX input for any external speakers, or no other ports at all for that matter.

It did take us a while to decide where we were going to place the HomePod seeing as though it has a wire permanently connected, we opted for on a table as close to the plug socket as possible so you couldn’t see power lead much.

We wish that the HomePod was wireless as it would look much cleaner in our home, but for the most part if you find a way to hide that power cord then its not too much of a big deal.

At the top of the speaker is a glossy plastic display that lights up when Siri talks and hides the touch sensitive volume controls.

There is no haptic feedback from the buttons either but given that most of the time you will be controlling the device with your voice this wasn’t a big issue for us.

On the underside of the HomePod you will find a small piece of plastic that helps the device to stick to a surface, it even has the Apple branding in the middle.

However we would be careful as we did find that it doesn’t stick very well, even knocking the device slightly could cause it to fall of your worktop and be a disaster.

Overall the Apple HomePod design is extremely minimalist, there really isn’t a lot going on here.

Apple tend to do this with almost all of there devices, they keep things plain, simple and easy to understand.

Performance

The Apple HomePod is probably the easiest speaker we have ever set up, simply holding your iPhone to the speaker with Bluetooth enables will find your speaker, then simply input your W-Fi password and your good to go.

We did find that you need the most up to date version of IOS on your phone to be able to set up the speaker.

So set up is incredibly easy, that is providing you own an iPhone, the speaker wont actually connect with anything else, meaning you have to own an iPhone to be able to connect to this speaker.

We couldn’t really think of a reason to spend £279 on an Apple speaker if you didn’t own an iPhone, so most people will be just fine, but it does trim the target audience right down for Apple themselves.

At this point we don’t think Apple really mind if there eliminate anyone without an iPhone as they are top of the industry anyway.

One of the most stand out features of the Apple HomePod is just how well it can hear you, the array of microphones listening out for your voice is exceptional.

The speaker can hear you all the time, at great distances too and even over the top of loud playing music.

If you are an Apple music subscriber, then the HomePod integrates seamlessly with that and can play any playlist, song or radio station that you wish.

If you happen to be one of the 70 million Spotify users you can also connect to the HomePod, but unfortunately the voice controls wont work and you wont be able to ask for a certain song or playlist.

Apple HomePod performance

Image: 9to5Mac

The Apple HomePod can also be asked anything you would ask Siri from your iPhone.

So your classic “Hey Siri, what is the weather like in London today?” or “Hey Siri, what is the man-united football score?” all work just fine for the speaker.

The HomePod can also be used to set reminders, which we found extremely useful as we would often set reminders.

For example “Hey Siri, remind me to book a hair cut appointment for 4pm” which will set a reminder on your iPhone and remind you from the speaker itself when it comes to the time.  

Throughout this Apple HomePod review we found this feature to be exceptionally useful, as it helps us keep track of a busy day.

The fun doesn’t stop there, Siri can also read your last text message out using your speaker, just be sure that your home alone before you use this feature.

Siri can even send a text message from the speaker, which is extremely convenient and allows you to not stress when you have left your phone in another room.

 Just like most other smart speakers out there the Apple HomePod can work with other smart tech you may have in your home.

We own some Phillip Hughes light bulbs and smart sockets that allow us to turn on the kettle and toaster by a voice command.

These are of course sold separately but really enhance the experience of your smart speaker.

One thing we should note that is slightly annoying is that the HomePod is not able to distinguish individual voices.

So if you have someone else in the room that happens to say the word “Siri”, they could essentially read your texts our loud or worse.

This is a little disappointing, as you would think with Apples technology the device should be able to distinguish different voices.

Now one thing we love about the Amazon Echo is that it allows you to order products directly to your home simply by asking the device to, it will go through your recent orders and find the best suited product for you.

The Apple HomePod does not do this, which again is disappointing.

The HomePod doesn’t allow you to set multiple timers at once, or order an Uber with it either.

Another feature that the HomePod lacks is the ability to make phone calls directly from the speaker, instead you must engage the call from your phone and then airplay it through the speaker.

All in all the Apple HomePod performance is decent, but the likes of the Google Home Max and Amazon Echo definitely outdo it in many other areas.

Sound Quality

When it comes to the Apple HomePod sound quality this is where the device really shines.

The sound is of a premium quality and extremely clear even at high volumes.

This is thanks to the 7 tweeters which all face outwards and the woofer which is positioned at the top of the speaker.

This gives the Apple HomePod a 360-degree sound that can be heard exactly the same no matter where you are positioned in the room.

Another cool feature is that the HomePod uses the 6 microphones to figure out how close it is to other objects or a wall, and then adjusts the sound levels to give a better sound output.

So in theory if this speaker is positioned near a wall, it will ramp up the speakers that are not near the wall and dim down the ones that are.

The bass of the speaker is strong, but also balanced which makes for a crisp sound that isn’t going to rattle the HomePod to its core and make it fall off a worktop.

apple homepod sound quality

Image: 9to5Mac

The speaker is also super loud, and Siri even asks you “are you sure you want to do that?” when you ask it to crank it up to full volume.

We did find that when having people over to the house whilst playing music, the HomePod would sometimes pick up on what our guests were saying which results in random songs being played, so you do need to ask everyone to be quiet when choosing songs.

It does also get very annoying having to say “Hey-Siri” every time you want something to happen, we would much prefer there to be no activation word sometimes.

As a whole the Apple HomePod sound quality is great, and its right up there with the likes of the Google Home Max, maybe better.

That being said throughout this Apple HomePod review we were most impressed by the sound quality, it really is on a different level to other smart speakers out there.

Summary

So should you buy the Apple HomePod?

Well first of all you need to have an iPhone for this speaker to be able to connect.

If you do have an iPhone and are looking for a smart speaker that works exceptionally well as a speaker, but no so great as a speaker then yes.

However we do feel that the Google Home or Google Home Max would be a much wiser decision.

Firstly because of the price, the Apple HomePod is extremely expensive and it doesn’t have anything unique like the Google smart tech does.

Even the Amazon Echo or Echo Plus would arguably be a better purchase decision than the HomePod.

We do love the design of the HomePod and how nice it looks and feels, however for the price we really think the money could be better spent elsewhere.

We hope you have enjoyed our Apple HomePod review, feel free to check out the best place to buy the Apple HomePod in the UK at the top of this post.