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Apple HomePod

Apple HomePod

4.0 from 9 reviews

See the Best Portable Speakers in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.

Great sound!

I bought the HomePod so I could listen to music and the radio, mainly in the kitchen. I’m a musician and a hifi enthusiast, so sound quality was my main requirement. The HomePod sounds great. Far better than something this size should. It sounds better than the PMC-DB1 speakers I had setup in the kitchen with a little amp (that system was worth around $2,000!). I took it into the lounge room for a shootout with my proper sound system where it did pretty well despite being both mono and about 1/10th the price.
I use Apple Music, so Siri has been pretty good at “playing something I like” or “something relaxing”. It works great calling up radio stations or podcasts. I’m listening to a lot more now that I don’t have to use my old iPad in the kitchen.
I’m not really interested in using it to send messages or do more challenging tasks, so haven’t run into any problems with Siri except when pronounceing obscure bands or song names (try pronouncing any song by Autechre for example :lol:)
Loving it overall.

Purchased in May 2019 at JB Hi-Fi.

Great sound!

Can not fault the Apple HomePod. I have two in a stereo pair with an Apple TV. Sound is amazing and works really well with Apple HomeKit where I can control some of the lights in my home.

Purchased in February 2019.

Hey Siri only works 50% of the time

AUD499 for what really is a piece of poo.

The positives:
The sound quality is amazing. That's it. There's nothing else good about it.

The bad:
The software is GARBAGE!
"Hey Siri" only works 50% of the time (if that).
Works fine when you press the button to force it to listen but otherwise you could be screaming at the stupid thing from 1 metre away and still no response. If I wanted to scream at things I'd have more kids.
Sometimes "Hey Siri" will respond on my iphone instead when the Homepod and iphone are sitting 1m from each other. This shouldn't happen.
It's not a network issue. I've tested this extensively. Apple Support has looked into this and they don't have any idea either. Google this. It's a known issue worldwide.

Another annoying thing is that Siri is a mouthy little turd. You can tell she was programmed by a smart arsed American teenager, especially as she only responds 50% of the time as well!
Sure she's funny the first time, or even the first 10x, but after that it gets tiring.
When I ask you to do something, just do it. Don't give me lip. Don't talk. Just do it. I'll know whether you did the right thing or not. If you did the wrong thing, I'd ask you to do it again. I don't need feedback and opinion for every little thing!
When I say play some bedroom music, just play it. Don't tell say "Boom chica wow wow" or "Don't mind me".
When I say play relaxing music, just play it. Don't tell me to "lay back" or "sit back and relax".
When I say play rock music, just play it. Don't say "rock on" or "let's get this party started".

With Siri being an inattentive and mouthy little turd, it's simply not worth the money.
AUD299 = yes as an AirPlay speaker. I could live with this.
AUD499 = no way as a smart speaker. Not a chance.

PS Apple is still investigating my "Hey Siri" issue but it's been 2 weeks now so the device is going back for a full refund.

Date PurchasedJan 2019

Amazing sound and integration let down by Siri

The sound on this speaker has to be heard to be believed, its seriously worth the $499 alone. Pair it with a second now AirPlay 2 has been released, its just mind blowing. The ability to stream from any apple device instantly, in conjunction with multiple room support to other Homepods or Apple TV's is fantastic. I use my HomePod to control my Philips Hue lighting system, its great for this, very fast and responsive. The microphone can actually hear me from upstairs so controlling my upstairs lights is easy too (ok, so I may have to repeat myself on occasion)

Siri has improved since it's release slightly, but still lags far behind Google Assistant on the Google Home for example, I keep one of each and use the one I think will give me the best answer (hint: usually Google!)

Date PurchasedFeb 2018

Great Speaker

The sound quality is excellent and being a house that's heavily Apple-centric it was the logical choice for us.

- The sound quality is outstanding.
- Aesthetically it's pleasing. Surprisingly heavy and feels quality built, looks good, and tucks away unobtrusively or can stand alone as a point of interest.
- It's ridiculously easy to set up (plug it in and place your iPhone next to it.)
- Siri makes it very convenient to play your favourite song or podcast (via Apple Music) or you can stream from a device.
- You can also control HomeKit powered smart devices with Siri, but we don't have any so can't comment on that.

In any case, as a voice powered speaker, it gets 5 stars.

But you do need to have realistic expectations approaching this smart speaker, however.

First of all, it's best suited to people already in the Apple things-verse. You need an Apple iPhone or iPad to set up the HomePod (it's a really easy process) and an Apple Music subscription to make the most of it, but it will stream from an Apple device without the subscription.

Think of it as primarily a speaker and you'll be fine. Think of it as a digital assistant and you'll be disappointed. It's no secret that Siri lags behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (Siri offers greater privacy but less convenience), and it's further hampered in a home with multiple people if you don't want everyone accessing your messages and so on. Siri occasionally doesn't catch what you said, but usually it's very good (amazing actually) and you can use touch controls for basic functions if you need.

There are also features that, at the time of posting this review, are promised but not yet delivered. Notably multi-room streaming and stereo mode. We only have one speaker so don't miss multi-room and this is the best speaker we've owned - the sound is surprisingly spacious - so stereo mode isn't missed.

As a digital home assistant, it loses stars, but since I didn't buy it for that, it's really good at what it does, and it's lived up to my expectations, I'm leaving this as a 5 star review.

Our biggest complaint is when our kids have "Hey Siri" wars.

Date PurchasedMay 2018

Superb quality speaker, Siri not so great

You can either buy a great home assistant (google home, amazon alexa) with mediocre sound or you can buy a great sounding speaker (apple homepod) with a mediocre assistant (siri). I mainly wanted a speaker that produced stunning sound and the homepod does this.

It's no secret that Siri is a bit thick, but hopefully future firmware updates can fix this. Siri on the homepod works great for setting timers, alarms and alerts. Beyond that it's was a bit useless.

After trialling apple music for a couple of months as an accompaniment, I cancelled the subscription and use the speaker with Spotify. Spotify does a much better job if picking music I like than siri and apple music did and half the time Siri couldn't understand what I was asking.

So summing up, if you care about the quality of the sound over being able to get a restaurant review. Then homepod is the speaker for you.

Date PurchasedSep 2017

Fantastic sound quality makes for revolution in home stereo use

The sound quality is very impressive, subtle notes and a clean thumping bass possess the clarity of high end audio. The $500 price tag makes the home pod a serious investment I think is worth every dollar. The build quality is typical of Apple products, even the power cord is a superior quality. The unit includes a powerful processor which is yet to provide the full potential of Siri with plenty of scope for major updates. Indeed this is a sound system that is currently dependant of Apples ecosystem and enormous collection of music. The natural speaking interaction with Siri far exceeds the robotic sounds of the rival smart speaker systems. With enough power to fill a small house with a massive array of music delivered on demand with such clarity is impressive. Buy it and you won’t be disappointed unless you can’t wait for the Siri upgrades. I have smart lighting and also use the HomePod Siri to control the lights with voice command. With a new software update coming soon, you will be able pair 2 HomePods for true stereophonic sound.

Date PurchasedFeb 2018

Sound is awesome, Siri needs work

We have both a Google Home Mini and an Apple HomePod. Being able to compare them highlights strengths and limitations of each.

The Google Home Mini is not really supposed to have great sound. It's small and cheap, so don't bother too much about playing music through it. However it hooks into a whole bunch of things that Siri doesn't. For example, we have a thing called Sensibo which acts as a remote for our non-wifi air conditioner. I can ask Google to turn on and off the aircon, which is great because our small kids hide the remote. I can't ask Siri to do that, unless I use a third party solution. I can also ask Google to add things to my Woolworths shopping list. Again, Siri can't do that.

Siri also has certain things that it can't do from HomePod, but it can do from your phone. This means a fragmented Siri experience for us - we have to remember what we can and can't do through HomePod.

But there are certain things that you can do through HomePod that are great. I can handoff a phone call to Siri so I can wander around the room doing things, and unless my toddler is screaming, the other person can usually hear me pretty well.

No matter how loud your music is, Siri seems to hear you, even if you speak softly. That's quite impressive.

Siri doesn't always get it right. My oldest son loves to hear Rubber Ducky by Ernie. We can ask Siri to "Play rubber ducky by Ernie" and Siri will say that she doesn't know that song, or something similar. We'll repeat the request two or three times and eventually she'll get it. We've said the same words each time. So there seems to be a bit of a limit in terms of her comprehension. No doubt that'll be improved with future updates - I think Apple now acknowledges that Siri has fallen behind a bit.

But the standout feature of HomePod is the sound quality. Apple is mixed in the sound quality department. Their headphones (the wired ones and the AirPods) are generally acknowledged as not having amazing sound. Part of this is because they don't form a seal with the ear, but also, particularly for the wired ones, they're relatively cheap headphones, so you don't expect much. The sound quality on their laptops and desktops is pretty good, and on the recent iPad Pros and iPhones, the external speakers are getting pretty good indeed. But the HomePod blew be away. Sure, there might be some other speakers for the price that could subjectively be seen as better, but far out I love the sound out of the HomePod. Especially when I can pump it up when the kids aren't home! And having access to my Apple Music account is the icing on the cake.

So, for music, if you're an Apple Music subscriber, HomePod is awesome. I really love it.

For the smart assistant stuff, Siri is patchy and certainly limited compared to the competition. This can (and no doubt will) be updated.

Still, having a smart speaker that doesn't require me to connect my phone to it to play music is wonderful, because it means that it's easier to play music more often. I want a house full of music, because I'd love our kids to grow up with music, so it's made that a lot easier for us. I can see the potential to fix its failings, so all in all, I'm very happy with the purchase.

Date PurchasedFeb 2018

Siri has rough edges, but it's a breathtaking speaker

They say good things come in small packages, and for the HomePod, that's certainly the case. For a relatively small speaker, it certainly punches way above its weight. It filled up a large room effortlessly, with absolutely no distortion - very impressive. Siri is still a bit "air-headed", and doesn't stack up to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa - so if you're looking primarily for a "personal assistant speaker" then this isn't a good fit - but it's not bad at all. It's the first speaker that I don't have to shout at to hear me (it has a scarily enormous mic pick-up range), and it does the basics well - play playlists, turn up/down lights, read me news, check store times, etc. It replaced a Bose SoundTouch speaker nearly twice its size and price, and it ran circles around it. If you know what you're buying with the HomePod - that is, a top-notch speaker with wireless capabilities - than this is a very strong performer.

Date PurchasedFeb 2018

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Bluetooth ConnectivityYes
Price (RRP)$499

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