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Apple's HomePod

Early Looks at Apple's HomePod Praise Audio Quality, Speaker Design

January 26, 2018

With preorders beginning for Apple’s HomePod, two early looks at the smart speaker have hit the web.

Digital Trends was impressed with the sound quality from the speaker and its design. Comparing the HomePod, Sonos One, Amazon Echo, and Google Max, the publication ranked the HomePod as the best sounding speaker with the Sonos One second:

So how does it sound? After all, Apple is positioning the HomePod as a speaker first, with smarts second. We listened to songs from various genres ranging from Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” Ariana Grande’s “Side to side,” “Let it go” from the movie Frozen, Tom Petty’s “I won’t back down,” and the Eagles’ “Hotel California.” The HomePod sounds great, and easily fills the room even with the volume at only 65 percent.

Audio quality is beautifully warm, yet the bass is not overpowering, even though it was still quite rich. If you close your eyes, it’s easy to feel like you’re at a live performance. We could pick out the vocals and instruments clearly. The speaker allows each instrument to shine through; you can hear precise guitar plucks. No, it doesn’t have that crisp sound you’d hear from very expensive high-end speakers, but then again, the HomePod doesn’t cost thousands yet still pushes brilliant sound quality out of a single, small enclosure.

Lance Ulanoff said the speaker’s technology that adapts to each listening environment shines through:

The matrix of audio components is not inconsequential. In my listening party, songs like Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You picked apart the track, letting me hear both Sheeran’s guitar picking and the clarity of his voice. It was like he was playing in a small café for an audience of me. The bass notes on songs like Gregory Porter’s Holding On and Ariana Grande’s Side by Side were deep and resonant.

The speaker, available in space gray and white, can be ordered now directly from Apple in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. It will officially hit the market on Friday, Feb. 9.

More about the HomePod