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Hands-on: HomePod 2 exceeds expectations, but there’s one thing you should know

Published May 28th, 2023 8:18PM EDT
Pair of HomePod 2 features
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Earlier this year, Apple released the HomePod 2. After an unsuccessful first iteration, the company bet on a simpler, cheaper model which would be able to attract more customers: the HomePod mini. Eventually, it decided to give the larger model another run, as many customers wanted a speaker more powerful than the tiny one the company was selling.

As an owner of the first-generation smart speaker as well as a pair of the mini models, I was thrilled when Apple announced the second version of the bigger HomePod. Since it’s unavailable in Brazil, I had to wait for a London trip to get my hands on a pair of HomePod 2. After a few days of finally owning them, here are my impressions of these devices as a pair and what you should know before buying them.

Two are better than one

One of my greatest regrets regarding the first generation of the HomePod was not being able to get my hands on a second speaker. While the sound quality has always been superb, it wasn’t enough to use as my TV speaker.

When I finally got the HomePod mini pair, I was underwhelmed by the lack of bass and the profound sound that was part of the first model. Although I would still recommend someone to get the HomePod mini for their office, small bedroom, or kitchen, I would strongly advise you to get the HomePod 2 – and a pair.

Experiencing a pair of HomePod 2 for the first time

Image source: José Adorno for BGR

Although the HomePod 2 has a few hardware drawbacks compared to the original model, such as fewer microphones and horn-loaded tweeters, and lack of a custom amplifier, it is made for Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for music and video with a focus on advanced computational audio.

In my tests, I feel like the HomePod 2 doesn’t get as loud as the original model, but I was very impressed with using a pair to listen to my favorite songs. After trying some Beatles, ABBA, Sigrid, and others, I noticed that Dolby Atmos tunes truly shine with smart speakers.

It might sound cheesy, but I could listen to layers of songs I hadn’t heard before. Personally, I think Keep An Eye on Dan by ABBA is a great tune to prove that. By the end of the song, the music is sung by Björn and Benny while Frida and Agneta are in the back vocal. It’s hard to hear the men singing with most AirPods models, but with a pair of HomePod 2 is crystal clear who is singing which part.

It feels like rediscovering a dear song to me in most cases. For watching the local news, TV shows, movies, or playing Tears of the Kingdom on Nintendo Switch, I also think the pair of HomePod 2 is a great option, although I don’t think it can always correct the bass.

So if you are watching a TV show with background music with lots of basses, you’ll hear a few “tum, tum, tum,” which might make it challenging to understand what the characters are talking about.

Wrap up

Besides the sometimes-weird-bass, I’m totally amazed by the HomePod 2. I know there are many smart speakers out there, but for integrating with Apple Music, Apple TV 4K, and my general usage, I think I nailed it by purchasing this pair.

In addition, unlike the original HomePod, this new generation can be restored using the Mac, so if something goes wrong, I don’t have to throw it all in the trash.

Each HomePod costs $299, and they are available in Midnight (which usually looks Black) and White (please, don’t choose this color, as it will get smudged/grimy with time).

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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