HomePod Mini Review: $99 Siri Smart Speaker for iPhone Users

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HomePod Mini Review

Apple just launched a new product- HomePod mini. The new HomePod mini is half the height of Apple’s Homepod. Also, it has a different shape as compared to HomePod. Where Apple HomePod has a cylinder shape, HomePod mini comes with an oval shape. For instance, it looks like a ball covered with a soft fabric. The texture and available colors of Homepod mini are the same as the original Homepod.

With a small and portable height of 3.3 inches with a price of $99 HomePod mini seems a great deal. Especially, if you’re looking for a portable speaker to carry out for traveling etc. Moreover, except for the fabric-covered design, you’ll see a flat top with a backlit touch interface. You can use this to activate Siri or to control the music.

Apple also equipped it with the S5 chip- the same chip as you see in the Apple Watch Series 5. You can use this to listen to Apple music as well as particular radio stations and podcasts. Such as TuneIn, Amazon Music, or iHeartRadio.

Apple HomePod Mini Review

Overall, it seems a featureful Apple device with an affordable price. Although users are still confused to buy it or not. Therefore, I researched all the essential factors of it and compiled this post. Make sure to read the entire post before concluding HomePod mini. Let’s uncover all the features and specifications of it, individually.

Release date and Pricing

Apple launched the HomePod mini on November 16 and it is easily available for purchase. You can easily purchase it from the online Apple Store. However, it is also available in Apple retail locations.

You can buy HomePod Mini if you’re in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the United States. Also, people from China, Mexico, and Taiwan can easily buy at its launch.

Moreover, you can also look out for AppleCare+ for HomePod mini at a small cost of $15. In this package, you can get accidental coverage of two incidents. And, if you won’t buy AppleCare+ the repair costs you $79. And after adding just $20, you can buy a new HomePod mini.

HomePod mini Design

Dimensions and Body Texture

Like we already discussed in the starting- it has a different look than the HomePod original. It comes in a cylindrical shape with a length of 6.8 inches and a height of 5.6 inches. On the other hand, the HomePod mini has a body that is more rounded and bulging than the original HomePod. Also, it comes with dimensions of 3.3×3.9 inches. And it weighs only 0.76 pounds. Therefore, no worries about the space it covers. Moreover, it has a silicon bottom base to hold on to the same place.

Homepod mini vs Homepod original size

Besides the above differentiation, the body texture of the HomePod mini is the same as the original HomePod. It is a criss-cross net lacing which is known as white rings. It’ll be available in two colors- light or dark gray. At the top of it, you’ll a plain plastic touch-sensitive pad alongside volume up and a volume low button with a sign of [+] and [-]. Meanwhile, you can touch in between these signs to activate Siri.

Multicolored LEDs

Moreover, it has multicolored LEDs on the top of it. And these LEDs change the colors according to the task you’re executing right now. For example, it will glow up as a white luminous light while playing music, or light up the gradient swirling colors when Siri invokes and processing the given commands. All these colors have only a soft glimpse of their shades which looks really satisfying to me. Like the other Apple devices, Apple also launched the HomePod mini with a clean and calm look. So you won’t find any button or port on it.

top of Homepod mini

Non-Detachable Cable

On its lower side, you’ll see a 6 feet long non-detachable cable. This cable comes with a USB-C connector at the end of it including a 20W power adapter. You can’t detach the cable but use it as a power source by using your Macbook. However, at some points, the length of the wire will seem a little shorter while using the adapter.

The hardware of the HomePod mini

New A5 Chip

Apple launched the new HomePod mini with an A5 chip in it. It’s the same chipset you might see in the Apple Watch Series 5. Apple informed that the new A5 chip will allow HomePod mini to perform at its maximum sound capability, even at its small size. Also, it is said that this chip automatically tunes the music and adjust the loudness of it. Also, it has some features like adjust dynamic range and the capability of the driver and passive radiators control. In short, you’ll experience a better sound quality and music experience on HomePod mini as compared to a basic speaker.

Boundary-pushing computational audio hardware

If you’ll get an internal look, you see a neodymium-powered magnet, full-range driver. Alongside, it has two force-canceling passive radiators which Apple mentioned is to give a deep bass and clear high frequencies. Also, it is equipped with a seven tweeter array which has its own individual driver. Meanwhile, standard HomePod has not that many hardware parts as compared to HomePod mini.

U1 Ultra Wideband chip

Further, the HomePod mini comes with a U1 Ultra Wideband chip. Now, this chip is here to make better interaction with U1 chipset phones such as hands-off features. Apple also mentioned that the new HomePod mini has a three microphone array. Therefore, the voice detection of the HomePod mini will be improved. And it will be able to listen to the “Siri commands” even while playing a song on it.

Moreover, the hardware doesn’t mean it lacks the previous 360-degree sound experience. The sound will go through an acoustic waveguide and directs to the bottom of the speaker to bloom. According to Apple, you’ll experience the consistent sound on the HomePod mini no matter wherever you will place it in the room.

HomePod mini Integration Features

1. Add other Apple Sound Devices

HomePod mini can easily integrate with other HomePod minis. So you can add another HomePod mini to use them as a stereo set for both channels: left and right. Besides, you can add HomePod and even AirPlay 2 speakers. Although you can’t add standard HomePod to the HomePod mini.

Moreover, you can pair Apple TV with the HomePod mini. So you can use it as a speaker while watching your favorite content on Apple TV. Although when I researched a little about it I found users are having problems with this integration feature. You can visit this Apple forum to know more about it.

You can use HomePod mini as a speaker to talk with someone on the call. Just make or pick up a call and redirect it to the HomePod mini. Now you will hear the receiver’s voice on HomePod mini. Meanwhile, you can talk to them through the inbuilt mic of it.

2. Supported Streaming Services and Subscriptions

Further, if we talk about the applications and streaming services, HomePod mini works well with Apple streaming music service which is available for $9.99/month. You can connect to Apple Music over WiFi. And, it comes with access to the user’s music library alongside playlist and music preference. Moreover, HomePod mini supports iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn. And, we can also expect other music services to become a part of the list. For example, Pandora and Amazon Music.

Moreover, you can also use Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription to access the iTunes Music purchases, iCloud Music Library on your HomePod mini. Also, you can access Apple Radio, Airplay, or Podcast content on it from iPhone, iPad Touch, Apple TV, and Mac.

3. Control HomeKit Devices

HomePod mini is equipped with 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0. Therefore, you can use it as a control point for all of your HomeKit devices. Also, HomePod mini reacts with some of the HomeKit devices. For example, it’ll let you know when someone is on the door which has a HomeKit compatible doorbell. On the other hand, you can also execute a particular action by giving a voice command to Siri.

Moreover, it comes with a low-power thread networking technology. This is a mesh-based technology that allows you to connect the internet of things devices securely. However, you can only connect HomePod mini with a Homekit device which could be a little disappointing.

4. Siri Controls

Siri commands in Homepod mini

4. Music Playback

How can we expect an Apple device without Sir in it? In HomePod mini, Siri is an integral part of it. You can control most of the music playback through Siri commands. Also, Siri can create music recommendations based on what you listened to in past, or what you’re searching out the most. Plus, Siri will keep track of what kind of songs every user likes. Moreover, you can use other Siri’s commands to execute a particular action. For example, “Play something new” to find discover a new genre or a song.

5. Work as a Home Assistant

Besides, Siri also works as a home assistant like Google Assistant or Alexa. You can ask interesting questions on a broad range of topics just to kill your boredom. Meanwhile, you can command Siri to make phone calls, send messages, check weather updates, and to-do lists. Siri is capable of identifying each user by hearing his/her voice. It’s because each person is already linked up with their iCloud account, calenders, reminders, other music preferences.

Also, you can use Siri to get a quick overview or a personal update of your day. For example, ask Siri “What’s the schedule of Monday?” to know all the weather, meetings, and important reminders.

6. A Music Alarm and an Ambient Player

Siri can set up music alarms to wake you up with a song or a specific radio station from Apple Music. On the other hand, you can play ambient sounds to relax, meditate, or for having an afternoon sleep. These sounds count noises like rain, a campfire, and a fireplace.

7. Get Better Searches and Recommendations

You can also activate Siri Shortcuts on your phone from HomePod mini by using your voice. Moreover, you can do a Google search just by giving a voice command to HomePod mini. Also, you can send the results to the user’s iPhone. However, you’ll get Maps suggestions automatically on your iPhone when you ask for information about a location.

8. Find a Lost Apple Device

Above all, you can ask Siri to find a lost device through HomePod mini. In return, your iPhone will play a sound on it to aware you of where it is. Alongside iPhone, this feature is also available in iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Other Features

HomePod mini has a feature named “shared up next.” This feature allows all family members to contribute to the music playlist. All you have to add an Apple Music account. After that, any family member can command to HomePod mini.

Play your favorite music on your iPhone. After that, brought your iPhone close to the HomePod mini. Music will be automatically handed off to the HomePod mini. On the other hand, Apple also mentioned that the company will add extra touches to HomePod mini. As a result, the audience will feel the visual, audible, and haptic effects while transferring the sounds from one device to another.

Moreover, you’ll be able to see music controls and listening suggestions on the iPhone. However, it should be placed right next to the HomePod mini. And this feature works on the iPhone even if it is locked.

Alongside these features, Apple mentioned that the company will provide regular updates for the HomePod. And users will be able to install the latest updates using the Home app on the iPhone or the iPod. The updates will release usually alongside the iOS updates for iOS devices such as Macbook.

Privacy Policy of HomePod Mini

Now every HomePod user talks about this topic almost once- Is HomePod listening to our conversations? Well, what do you think a blogger can answer this question? Even a big publication.

Now talk about what Apple says, that Apple never records any personal conversation of any user. Yes, the microphone of HomePod will always be open to record. But it only starts recording when a user will say “Hey Siri.” After that what a user will say, send to the Apple server to execute the action. Moreover, Apple said that while performing a Siri action, the whole conversation will be encrypted and anonymous for user’s privacy concerns.

Siri privacy policy

However, when I searched a term on Google- “homepod privacy concerns apple.” I found this Apple official page of HomePod’s privacy and security. On this page, Apple talks about the HomePod’s privacy concerns and few tutorials such as “How to turn off Siri or Location in your HomePod.”

Intercom

Intercom is a new feature that allows you to communicate with your family members or roommates with the HomePod mini. It would be similar to a walkie talkie feature on an Apple watch. You’ll be able to send an Intercom message using your Apple device. Moreover, you can send a message to a particular person in a specific room. Also, it is capable to send one message to multiple rooms at once.

Intercom Feature in HomePod mini

Users can send messages from HomePod mini as well as standard HomePod. Alongside, HomePod you can use iPhone, iPad, Apple watch, Carplay, and even Airpods to send an Intercom message. Although you need HomePod to use the Intercom feature which you can control using the Home app on your iPhone.

To know how to set up and use Intercom properly check out Macrumor’s tutorial.

Compatibility

Now after knowing all the features you might curious about HomePod’s compatibility. Actually, it’s not a big thing. And, you can use HomePod mini with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, or later. Meanwhile, you can use the HomePod mini on iPod touch with the 7th generation as well as on iPad Pro with the 5th generation or later. Also, it will support the integration of iPad Air 2 or later, iPad mini 4. Although it should have at least iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 or later in it.

Conclusion

Apple made a budget move to people who want a smart speaker with great audio quality. Where HomePod has a price tag of $350, you can buy HomePod mini in less than half of it which is $99. It comes with useful features such as Intercom, Siri Assistant, new A5 chipset, and 360 degrees sound experience. Also, the Apple device and HomeKit integration is a bonus feature to it. And, if you already have acquired the Apple ecosystem or most of the devices you’ve installed are from Apple, you can surely go for it. Meanwhile, some publications also mentioned that HomePod mini has better privacy concerns as compared to its competitors- Amazon Echo, and Google Nest Audio.

In short, it has a clean, simple, handy design, produce a great voice, integrates well with the Apple ecosystem, and comes under a budget value. If you’re looking for all these points you can choose HomePod mini without any confusion.

So that was the HomePod mini review with all the detailed points I have found in it. Hope this review helped you in a good way. Let’s know about your experience with this Apple new audio product. And don’t forget to share this review with your friends or close ones who are looking for the best smart speaker under $100 bucks.