This is not a voice assistant with good speakers, it can not be blindly compared to Google Home, Amazon Echo or other devices that are sharpened primarily by voice control. HomePod does not have a display for information display, there are no buttons for Siri control or other functions except volume control. But this does not prevent the device from being useful.
Apple HomePod Wireless Smart Speaker Review
Since the appearance of the first reviews and the beginning of sales, I have repeatedly heard that HomePod is a device exclusively for those who use only Apple products. That’s right: the speaker was created only for such people. You can not even set it up if you do not have an iPhone, iPad or iPod with iOS 10 or higher. Moreover, you can not use HomePod as a regular Bluetooth-speaker, but you can broadcast music on AirPlay from other Apple devices.
Previously, I tried several times to start using Google Home. The assistant at Google came out really smart: it is much more informative than Siri, besides, knows much more. However, Google Home does not bring such pleasure as HomePod. First, the device from Google also requires an ecosystem. For the normal operation of the assistant on the iPhone, you need to install a region in which the speaker functions (I installed the US) are available, and a special application with which Google Home is configured. To listen to music, you need a subscription to Google Play Music or Spotify. You can not connect the speaker by AirPlay or Bluetooth, you need to tie up one of the services to listen to music. Therefore, as soon as I hear that someone is talking about a closed ecosystem, I immediately cite my experience as an example.
I agree that both sides are in some loss because of their aspirations to reduce the entire user experience to exclusively their services. But it’s not bad: the owners of Google products will use Chrome, Play Music, Pixel and Home, fans of Apple-Safari, Music, iPhone and HomePod.
The entire smart house is configured in one application, as well as the actual HomePod, and managed by a voice. Here is an example: recently I bought an old AirPort Express and got Apple TV of the 3rd generation. By AirPort, I connected the audio system with a normal AUX cable and can broadcast music from iOS or Mac via AirPlay, and Apple TV serves as a conductor between the iPad and the TV: so I watch TV, movies and TV shows on Megogo and broadcast them to the TV. Conveniently. This made me think about buying “smart” lamps, blinds and sockets, and HomePod warmed up interest even more. Especially in a short time, Apple will finally release an update for the function AirPlay, which will connect several speakers and other devices in one network.
Judging by the feedback from users of HomePod, most of them sound quality HomePod liked. Me too. As I said, HomePod is primarily a speaker, and after a voice assistant, so over the sound of Apple had to work pretty hard.
There are no problems with quality: saturated low frequencies, clear enough medium and high, but I expected a larger volume of loudness. Very surprised by the speed of the simulation function, which causes the speaker to sound differently depending on the type of room, area and proximity to obstacles. As soon as you set up HomePod, it will automatically start a few sound waves and will be able to understand which specific frequency bands need to be played on specific speakers (there are seven of them in the circle of the speaker + subwoofer).
Interestingly, Siri recognizes speech even at the highest volume of music playback. Of course, the assistant does not always hear you and does not respond to the muttering from the other room, but if you say “Hey, Siri” is louder than usual, then the assistant will immediately listen to the commands, muffling the music. By the way, even muffling is special – an effect of sound is created in the large assembly hall with a distinct echo.
Siri does not speak any other language, except English. It seems that this is a failure, but sales of the speaker began only in three countries (English-speaking). So it was with Google Home, which still does not know any Russian, let alone the Ukrainian language. Therefore, one should not complain about the limitations in this aspect; I think Apple will soon add other languages, among which will be Russian. Another problem is the limitation of the assistant himself, who knows and knows less than the other assistants according to the results of the experiments.
In fact, it turns out that none of the people I interviewed (12 people) do not communicate with Siri in English in free form. Often affects insufficient knowledge of the language, less often – ignorance of the list of functions and opportunities. Usually the conversation with the voice assistant is limited to questions about the weather and related commands, such as “Put an alarm” or “Remind me to pick up a child from kindergarten.”