Apple announced a few weeks ago the HomePod 2. The second-generation smart speaker comes with some of the features available with the HomePod mini, some of the ones available with the original HomePod, and some brand new, such as a new S7 processor and less audio hardware.
Since this product launches this Friday for $299 in Midnight and White, reviewers just published their thoughts on the HomePod 2. Here are their impressions:
CNN talks about just that: the new HomePod doesn’t have all the drivers the first generation had, and yet so, the publication believes it sounds better:
Inside, the second generation HomePod has fewer drivers than the first generation model — five on the new one versus seven on the original — and yet it actually improves on the overall sound. The new HomePod has a better balance of bass, treble and midrange tones; the original HomePod was very bass heavy.
The Verge highlights how Siri, which is the main controller of the HomePod, has improved a lot since 2018 but still playing catch up with the other voice assistants:
Apple’s voice assistant is also still less helpful for general knowledge than Google’s Assistant with its direct conduit to Google’s wealth of information. I asked Siri who would play in the Super Bowl the day after the teams were decided, and it couldn’t tell me. Google knew immediately (for that matter, so did Alexa).
But for most needs in the smart home, being a know-it-all is not a requirement. I prefer my assistants a bit dumber over being buggy as hell or slow to control my home but hot on sports scores.
Digital Trends focuses on the stereo pair that users can create with the HomePod 2. The publication praises the sound quality for whatever situation, whether it’s watching a movie or listening to a spatial audio song:
From the perspective of sound quality, cinematic experience, flexibility, and ease of use, the HomePods stood up very well against the excellent Prime Wireless Pro, and all but blew the Sonos Beam out of the water. In a word? I was thrilled.
(…) A pair of Apple HomePods do an amazing job with Spatial Audio for movies and TV. Dialogue is crystal clear and perfectly centered, sound effects are spacious and enveloping — I definitely got the impression there were more speakers in the room — and the sound stage wraps just behind me and off to the sides, with a virtual dome overhead going toward the front. Sound effects were clearly defined and had punch. And the bass output with two HomePods is, dare I say, ridiculously powerful. Sure, a subwoofer could take the bass to a more visceral level. But for a two-channel system, the HomePods deliver enough bass to rival what I’ve heard from much larger speakers. Nobody’s going bass hungry, I promise.
TechRadar also praises the sound quality of HomePod 2, although it thinks Apple didn’t fix the issues available with the first iteration of the product:
(…) It’s energetic, bursting with detail, dynamic, and underlined with natural and resonant bass. For its price, nothing sounds quite as good for a single speaker – and combining two in a stereo system makes for even bigger and bolder sound.
But access to this power is frustratingly limited. The only ways to access audio are through the Siri voice assistant, or Apple AirPlay 2 system via Wi-Fi. There’s no Bluetooth, no Chromecast, no Spotify Connect, and no aux-in. The only way to send audio to it is from Apple devices, so if anyone in your house doesn’t have one, you’ll have to think if you want to exclude them from being able to use the speaker in the same way that others can.
You can also read HomePod 2 reviews by PCMag, Pocket-lint, Engadget, and Tom’s Guide.