Apple HomePod Mini Review: Music, Siri, and More
By Yvonne

Apple HomePod Mini Review - Music, Siri and MoreApple's HomePod Mini is a smart speaker that targets the market. Our expert reviewed it to compare its performance against the Echo Dot.

Apple HomePod Mini

Apple HomePod Mini

We like this

  • Round design

  • High quality sound

  • Great voice recognition

  • It integrates well with iPhone

  • Privacy is the main focus

The Things We Hate
  • Mini speakers are expensive

  • Smart home partners are fewer

  • The power cable does not detach with the speaker

  • No 3.5 mm jack

The Bottom Line

Although the HomePod Mini is a great product, you will need to make use of all Apple products in order to enjoy it. It also comes with a high price.

This article explains.
  • Design: Siri in the sphere form
  • It couldn't be easier to set up
  • Sound quality: Clear, but not strong
  • Four far-field microphones for voice recognition
  • Features: Your iPhone's companion
  • Price: A smarter, more expensive mini speaker
  • HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
  • Final Verdict
  • Specifications

The Apple Homepod Mini was purchased by us so that our reviewer could fully test it and evaluate its features. Continue reading to see our complete product review.

Apple is a little behind Amazon and Google Nest in smart speaker launches. Apple introduced its regular-sized HomePod early 2018, as an alternative to Amazon's Echo. However, the brand didn't yet have a mini speaker that could compete with Amazon's Echo Dot until last summer. The $99 HomePod Mini now has a first update, with new colors. But does this justify the double price tag of other smart speakers in the market?

Apple HomePod Mini

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Design: Siri in the sphere form

The HomePod Mini looks very similar to the Echo Dot at first glance. The HomePod Mini has a cylindrical shape and is made from eco-friendly materials. Although the HomePod Mini measures 3.9 inches by 3.3 inches, it is smaller than the Dot. Its dimensions are 3.94 inches by 3.53 inches and 3.53 inches respectively. Its grille has more holes than other HomePod Mini models, making it look like a speaker.

Apple's Mini speaker originally came in two color options—white or space gray, but the new version adds yellow, orange, and blue. The speaker's top surface has a smooth, flat surface which lights up rainbow-colored when Siri is contacted. This makes it more attractive. The flat top surface of the speaker has touch controls. You can tap to play, pause or skip and address Siri. You can adjust the volume by using plus or minus buttons.

Apple HomePod Mini's new colors

The HomePod Mini doesn't have any ports whatsoever—no 3.5 mm jack—and even its power cord is permanently attached. The brick's power supply is connected via USB-C to make it easy to locate a new power source. The Nest Mini has its own power supply. This contrasts with the Nest Mini. The rubberized base of the HomePod Mini prevents it from sliding on the table. Although there are no mounting holes on the HomePod Mini, the shape of the speaker doesn't allow for mounting so it was not a problem.

Apple's user-friendliness and clean interfaces have helped it gain a large user base. It fits perfectly in the HomePod Mini.

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It couldn't be easier to set up

It is one of the most simple setups I have ever seen. Simply plug in the speaker and move the iPhone near the HomePod Mini. Your mobile device will detect the presence of the speaker (provided that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on). It will then display a window that allows you to scan the HomePod Mini's top.

After placing the rainbow-colored surface on the window, the phone started the set up process. After following a few simple prompts, I was able to get the speaker up and running within five minutes. It was ready for me to use Apple Music.

HomePod Mini works with all modern Apple devices including iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and later, as well as the iPhone Pro (7th Generation with the most recent iOS), iPad Pro (5th Generation or later), iPad Air (2 or later), and iPad Air (4 or later). The HomePod Mini was connected to the iPhone XR.

Apple HomePod Mini

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Sound quality: Clear, but not strong

Sound quality is important for smart speakers as many users enjoy music. Although the HomePod Mini is a great speaker, it doesn't have the same sound quality as the Echo (4th Generation) and the Nest Audio ($100).

The HomePod Mini's full-range driver is powered by a Neonadium Magnet and has dual passive radiators that help to control airflow and force. Although it doesn't include a dedicated subwoofer, the Mini's audio hardware has a lot to offer in terms of sound quality.

Apple's S5 chip is embedded in the Mini, which allows the tuning software to seamlessly integrate with content to achieve the best results. The Mini can control everything, from volume to passive radiator movements and driver settings. This makes each song's sound the best. The HomePod Mini's sound is clear and has enough bass to produce even tones.

Siri can pick up your voice from a pretty significant distance—about 20 feet before you have to raise your voice.

My go-to songs for testing were 'Chains" by Nick Jonas and 'Titanium’ by David Guetta with Sia. I also listened to 'Comedown’ by Bush. The three tracks are from various time periods. They have good mix of high, low, and mid tones. I use them as my test songs. Also, I played "Dynamite" by BTS as suggested by my teens. There were also a couple of hip-hop songs such as Chance the Rapper or Eminem. The audio quality and clarity of every song that I played was comparable to high-end headphones.

HomePod Mini doesn't have headphones; it is a loudspeaker that can be listened to by more than one person. The quality of the HomePod Mini is excellent, however, it doesn't have the power or volume to overwhelm a large room. However, it can be used as a speaker to jam out during cleaning, or for listening to music when there are a few of your friends.

Apple HomePod Mini

Four far-field microphones for voice recognition

Siri can pick up your voice from a pretty significant distance—about 20 feet before you have to raise your voice. Siri will still pick up the word "wake" even in background noises such as TV, music or conversation. To engage in an interaction, Siri will respond to my wake words with a simple "uh-huh" response. HomePod Mini is equipped with a 4-mic array. It uses 3 mics for wake words and 1 mic to cancel noises. This allows it to distinguish between voice and music.

The Mini was able to hear me at much longer distances than the Echo Dot when I put the new Echo Dot beside the HomePod Mini. Siri is also funny. Siri will respond to me with an amusing remark such as "wow, awkward" when I say "Alexa" too fast after saying "Hey Siri".

The speaker is for people who are looking for a simple and convenient smart speaker to act as an extension of their Apple smartphone.

Features: Your iPhone's companion

The HomePod Mini can be used to create text messages using voice and make phone calls. You can also search the internet, locate your phone or set up intercoms in your home with several HomePod Minis. Two HomePod Minis can be paired for stereo sound. One of the most exciting features is the ability for audio to be seamlessly transferred from your smartphone to the Mini. You can instantly transfer audio from your smartphone to the Mini, whether you are listening to a playlist or podcast.

Apple also places a great deal of importance on privacy. Siri's questions aren’t linked to your Apple ID. They won’t try and sell you anything through customized ads. Messages and notes don’t get shared with Apple.

Apple also packed a lot smart technology into its mini version of HomePod. The Mini supports Thread protocol and the S5 chip. This allows devices to communicate with each other (this will be even more helpful in the future). You can still voice-control compatible smart homes devices using Siri. However, HomeKit does not have the same number of compatible smart home partners like Amazon or Google Nest.

Although the HomePod Mini is a great speaker, it doesn't have the same power or volume as the Echo (4th Generation) or Nest Audio ($100).

Price: A smarter, more expensive mini speaker

It seems expensive at $99 when you consider it against the Nest Mini or $50 Echo Dot. And it is more costly when you look at larger speakers such as the Echo (4th Generation) and Nest Audio. Although it doesn't sound as loud as the other smart speakers priced at $100, it can control many smart devices as well as play music, it has its own niche. It is an ideal speaker for people who are looking to extend their Apple smartphone's capabilities by using a smart speaker. Apple's user-friendliness and high build quality have helped it to grow its user base. It fits perfectly in the HomePod Mini.

Apple HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot

HomePod Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For those who value smart home automation, the Echo Dot speaker is the best choice. Alexa works with many smart home devices. The Alexa app also makes home automation easy. There are some downsides to this Dot: it's not as smart as the HomePod Mini and doesn't seamlessly work with Apple's mobile devices. It also doesn't offer the same level of privacy as the HomePod Mini. An Echo Dot can be made more secure and private by changing its settings and deleting vocal recordings. Apple privacy is a little more automatic.

Although it is an extension of your Apple device's capabilities, the HomePod Mini will not disappoint in audio and features. It is more expensive than most compact smart speakers and does not have the same smart home ecosystem.