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We have tested for you the intelligent speaker of Apple, the HomePod. Will she seduce you?

Verdict

If you’re looking for a great speaker to play your iTunes library, or if you have an Apple Music subscription, the HomePod is a great option.

The bonus is that it integrates Siri, with which you can control the reading, make queries, etc.

If you were hoping that the HomePod was smart enough to call you a taxi, order a pizza, give you train time and buy bread, then you’ll be disappointed…

We believe that if Apple opens the HomePod platform to third parties then the HomePod could appeal to a wider audience.

Price: US $ 299

Test: the Apple HomePod connected the speaker

HomePod price

The HomePod costs 329 €, so it is much more expensive than its main rivals since the Amazon Echo is 74,99 €  and the Google Home is 149 €.

HomePod design

When we saw the HomePod for the first time, we found it quite imposing. It is 172 mm tall and has a circumference of 142 mm, which is larger than a CD. Perfect size to be placed on a shelf, rather solid to support its weight of 2.5 kg.

The HomePod is available in white or sidereal gray and is fully covered with a seamless mesh fabric to ensure good acoustics.

On its top is a touch screen to control the speaker, this is the same place that you will communicate with Siri.

We found the HomePod to be a little less sleek and stylish than the Google Assistant, but overall its design is not so unpleasant.

HomePod and Apple Music

The HomePod is primarily an audio speaker. Apple relies on the fact that you have subscribed to its Apple Music service ($ 9.99 / month ) which gives you access to a library of 45 million tracks, or that you have purchased music from the iTunes Store.

Know that Siri remains at your service even when a song is emitted. You can ask him to lower/raise the sound, pause it, play Cuban music (relaxing), etc. Siri is also able to give you the name of the artist.

What the HomePod can do

We asked Siri to set an alarm at 3:15 pm and the HomePod sounded it at the required time.

With the HomePod, Siri can program reminders, which will be added to the application of the same name (but no alarm will be issued).

It is also possible to take notes which will be recorded in the Notes app of your iPhone.

The HomePod can act as a speaker, for that you must first accept a call from your iPhone (Siri cannot pick up from the speaker).

We would like to be able to ask him “Say, Siri, who calls?” Then answer via the HomePod without having to go through our iPhone.

Siri knows how to program a timer and even tells you how much time is left before the bell.

Want to know the weather and the weather? Ask him the question! Besides, she responds very well to the question “Hey Siri, do I need an umbrella today?”

If you want to have dinner at the restaurant, ask him “Hey Siri, is there a Brazilian restaurant nearby?” or “Hey Siri, where is the nearest Brazilian restaurant?”

If you want to get the latest sports scores or information about an athlete, ask him “Say, Siri, who won the javelin at the Olympics?”, “Say, Siri, who is Roger Federer?”.

Speak to Siri

To activate Siri, do not forget to say “Hey Siri” or “Say Siri” before all your queries. These should not be too complex because Siri focuses only on keywords.

In order to make you more audible and understandable, we recommend that you pause for a moment after saying “Hey Siri”. The assistant will lower the sound (if you listen to music) to be sure to hear your instructions correctly.

These “problems of hearing” are not specific to Siri, indeed with Alexa and Google Home also it is necessary to be precise in which case the information sought is not found by the assistants.Speak to Siri

HomePod and HomeKit

The HomePod is a HomeKit device, just like the alarms and sensors, lighting and switches connected, so it works with the native application House.

If you have Philips Hue White Ambiance bulbs for example, then you can control them via the HomePod. It’s the same for the thermostat…

Be aware that the Nest Thermostat is not compatible with HomeKit.

Remember that Siri is integrated with the HomePod. This is the assistant who will control your heating, your lights, take notes … and not the HomePod itself.HomeKit

What about the sound quality of HomePod?

The HomePod is primarily a speaker. Apple focused more on audio quality than on Siri’s personification. Indeed, the HomePod was specially designed to play music with a sound worthy of a professional recording studio.

In Apple’s enclosure is a long-range woofer with a specific amplifier. This means that even if it’s a relatively small speaker, it can produce a lot more bass and volume than you’d expect.

For such a result, Apple has placed seven horn tweeters, each with its own amplifier. The speaker creates beams for direct, ambient sound, and with six microphones you can easily reach Siri from afar.

The HomePod can also broadcast high-frequency sounds in all directions (360 °).

HomePod’s spatial awareness technology allows it to scan the space in which it is located and optimize its audio output to accommodate size, shape and possible obstacles.

Apple does not just adjust the bass and treble according to the track that plays the HomePod but also depending on the location of the speaker.

It’s the A8 chip (iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPad Mini 4) that gives it all this sound power in high definition.

We listened to the live version of Hotel California from the Eagles group and we really felt like we had the group in the room with us.

The HomePod, thanks to AirPlay 2, can play multiroom (several pieces at the same time).

All styles of music, from jazz to classical to hip hop and pop, have a superb rendering with the HomePod.

Part of the audio processing is to separate the instruments and voices so that you can hear them individually (if you listen carefully).

It also provides a much more dynamic and accurate sound compared to other connected speakers.

Whether you are an audiophile or a music lover, you will have trouble finding a better speaker at this price. Not to mention a system that also offers intelligent speaker functions.

Technical characteristics of the HomePod

  • Dimensions and Weight: 172 mm in height, 142 mm in diameter, 2.5 kg
  • Colors: white or sidereal gray
  • Audio sources: long-range woofer with an amplifier, 6 mics, 7 horn tweeters with an amplifier
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2

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