The first hands-on experience of HomePod has been detailed by Refinery29 which provides insight into some more features of the Siri-powered smart speaker from Apple.
Writing for Refinery29, Madeline Buxton notes that the HomePod looks “really good” and “surprisingly smaller” in real life than what they look in photos. The size of the HomePod is much smaller than Google Home Max.
The sound quality of the HomePod is also better than Google Home Max, Amazon Echo Plus, and even Sonos One, with a punchier bass and clearer sound output.
When I listened to the speaker next to Google Home Max, the latest Amazon Echo, and Sonos One, the vocals were consistently crisper and clearer on HomePod. The pluck of guitar strings pops, and bass notes have the robust thump-thump you want from them.
Apple had given a lot of emphasis to the sound quality of the HomePod in its press materials and it looks like the speaker will live up to its claims. Even more impressively perhaps, the HomePod’s sound quality will automatically tune itself according to the size of the room to ensure that the sound quality remains the same irrespective of where you are.
Coming to Siri, Apple has made improvements to its virtual assistant which is evident from its improved pronunciation and voice quality. However, the integration with Apple Music and lack of integration with other services is a bummer. Due to this, you can only ask Siri for detailed music information for songs that you playback using Apple Music.
An interesting thing to note from the article is that while everyone in your home will be able to use the HomePod, only the person who sets up the speaker using his or her iCloud account will be able to use it to send text messages, check on their unread notifications, set up reminders, and more. This is in stark contrast to Google Home which can recognize multiple voices and do actions that are linked to their account. While HomePod will also be able to read the notifications you receive on your iPhone, it will only do so when your iPhone is also on the same network. This ensures that the smart speaker does not end up reading your notifications when you are not in your home.
The HomePod will go up for pre-orders in the US, the UK, and Australia for $349 from January 26. It will hit the retail stores on February 9.[Via Refinery29]