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HomePod vs HomePod Mini: Which one among Apple’s good audio system is best for you?

A HomePod and a HomePod Mini sitting on a desk.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Apple as soon as once more has two good audio system in its product lineup. There’s the $299 HomePod and the $99 HomePod Mini. The 2 have almost an identical software-based options however are on the other ends of the spectrum in terms of {hardware}, which performs a serious position in sound high quality.

Additionally: I seemed on the high good audio system, and these are unbeatable

Determining which HomePod is the appropriate one for you is not as difficult as it could appear. However should you’re fretting over the choice, we’re right here to assist. I personally personal a number of HomePod Minis together with the unique HomePod — and I’ve two second-generation HomePods on my desk proper now for testing. They’re all implausible however have clear makes use of. Let’s dig in.


HomePod (2023) HomePod Mini
Audio Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos 360-degree sound
Tweeters 5 2
Woofer 1 x 4-inch 1 driver
Connectivity 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Thread, Extremely Wideband chip, Matter hub 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Thread, Extremely Wideband chip
Measurement 6.6 inches excessive, 5.6 inches vast 3.Three inches excessive, 3.9 inches vast
Weight 5.16 kilos 0.76 pound
Colours Midnight, White White, Yellow, Orange, Blue, House Grey
Value $299 $99

You can purchase the HomePod if…

Top of an Apple HomePod

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

1. Sound high quality trumps all

There is no comparability. The complete-size HomePod’s sound high quality is pretty much as good because it will get in terms of a sensible speaker — not simply audio system made by Apple, however I am additionally together with Amazon’s and Google’s audio system as properly. 

The HomePod has 5 tweeters and a single 4-inch woofer that mix to place out spectacular sound high quality. The HomePod helps Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. The previous means the whole lot goes to sound clear and crisp (and chances are you’ll even hear components of songs you did not hear earlier than), whereas the latter provides some depth to what’s taking part in. 

Extra succinctly put: It simply sounds higher. 

Evaluation: Apple TV 4K: Apple is lastly promoting extra for much less

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And that is simply when utilizing a HomePod as a stand-alone speaker. Each the HomePod and the HomePod Mini will be paired with a second of the identical mannequin of speaker to create a stereo pair. 

You’ll be able to even pair two audio system collectively and use them because the default output for an Apple TV, simulating a soundbar-like expertise. And when you have an Apple TV 4K, you should use the HomePod (and HomePod Mini) because the eARC default output for the TV and another gadgets linked to the TV, like a gaming console. 

2. You’ve got an enormous space to fill with sound

Comparatively, the HomePod is a big when positioned subsequent to the HomePod Mini, towering over it at 6.6 inches excessive. All of that additional house and weight (it weighs 5.16 kilos in contrast with 0.76 pound for the Mini) packs a punch in terms of filling an space with music and sound. 

I’ve listened to the HomePod Mini and the 2023 HomePod subsequent to one another in a number of rooms, and it is virtually comical how a lot better the HomePod is at filling an area with sound and making it really feel as if the speaker is subsequent to you and never throughout the room. 

Evaluation: Apple HomePod (2023): Approach higher sound high quality than HomePod Mini

Arguably, the HomePod Mini additionally will get the job executed. However in bigger areas like a front room or a kitchen or eating room space, it simply would not ship the identical degree of quantity mixed with sound high quality that the HomePod does. The HomePod Mini is made for a smaller house like a bed room, lavatory, or dwelling workplace. 

3. You are going all in on Matter

The complete-size HomePod has a sensible dwelling characteristic that is at the moment lacking from the HomePod Mini: It may possibly act as a Matter hub for appropriate good dwelling gadgets and equipment, facilitating quicker connections and response occasions for issues like turning lights on and off. 

Matter is a brand new good dwelling commonplace that was launched late final 12 months to make it attainable to regulate extra good dwelling gadgets throughout extra platforms. For example, gadgets that help Matter will likely be controllable utilizing both Apple’s Residence app or Google’s Residence app, even when the gadget is designed primarily to work with Apple’s HomeKit. 

Additionally: Matter has arrived: How a Google Nest Hub simply managed an Apple HomeKit good plug

And with the HomePod appearing as a Matter hub, your entire Matter-enabled equipment can have a better time speaking with one another inside your private home’s community. 

Whereas the HomePod Mini would not act as a full Matter hub, it does help Thread and acts as a border router for Thread-compatible gadgets. To not get too far into the weeds right here, however Thread is just one communication protocol that makes up Matter as a complete. So, it is solely going to work with Thread gadgets, however not all Matter gadgets. Complicated? I do know. It’s for me too. 

In different phrases, if you wish to future-proof your subsequent good speaker buy, and by extension your good dwelling setup, the HomePod is the higher selection as a result of it helps Matter.

You can purchase the HomePod Mini if…

HomePod Mini on desk

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

1. You need an reasonably priced good speaker

Sensible audio system are handy to have round the home. Not solely are you able to ask for random information and knowledge, just like the climate forecast or how tall Mount Everest is, however additionally they assist entertain you with issues like music and audiobooks when you’re cooking or preparing within the morning, and so they make for implausible hands-free timers. 

However that have is not value $299 to lots of people, and I can not say I blame you, particularly when the HomePod Mini exists at $99. Sure, you should purchase three of Apple’s smallest good audio system for a similar value as one of many bigger audio system. 

2. Sound high quality is vital, however not the whole lot

Above, I wrote a brief love observe concerning the HomePod’s sound high quality. However do not get me fallacious, the HomePod Mini nonetheless sounds good. It is probably not nice, nevertheless it’s darn good. 

Evaluation: The HomePod Mini is for Sirious Apple customers solely

I’ve HomePod Minis positioned round my dwelling and use them to hearken to all kinds of various content material. In my workplace, the Mini begins taking part in music as quickly as I activate the lights. In my bed room, we use a Mini because the audio output for the TV. In these environments, I’ve no complaints about how the Mini sounds. Wouldn’t it sound higher if I used to be utilizing the bigger, and costlier, HomePod? After all! However the Mini’s sound high quality is not a horrible expertise by any means.

Options to think about

Not bought on the HomePod or HomePod Mini? Listed here are some extra ZDNET-recommended options:

The Amazon Echo Studio is huge and loud, similar to the usual HomePod. And with Alexa inbuilt, you possibly can ask it to do all kinds of issues. 

Consider Amazon’s Echo Dot as much like the HomePod Mini. It has good sound high quality and a smaller design. 

For many who aren’t considering a sensible speaker from Amazon, there’s Google’s Nest Audio. It sounds good and makes use of Google Assistant for all of your voice interplay wants. 

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