The Apple HomePod (2nd Gen) finally makes its way to Singapore, and it's actually worth your money. This smart speaker packs great spatial audio, Siri, and can work in a pair for your home theatre setup — provided you're using an Apple TV 4K, of course. But if you're already deep into the Apple ecosystem, why not?
- 168mm x 142mm, 2.3kg
- Supports ARC via Apple TV 4K
- Has humidity and temperature sensors built-in
- Requires iPhone with iOS 16.3 or later, or an iPad with iPadOS 16.3 or later.
Clad in mesh, the HomePod features a cylindrical design, packed with five tweeters, and a 4-inch woofer. It comes in either black or white, though I admit I'm partial to the white model. At the top is a translucent plastic touch panel, with a “-” and “+”. Touch it to continue playing, touch and hold to call up Siri (or just say “Hey Siri”), double-tap to skip, and triple-tap to skip back. I'll be honest, I didn't use these controls much, since you can control the HomePod with your voice or your iPhone. You can also hand-off music playing on your phone to the speaker by just bringing it next to it.
Besides playing music, podcasts, or ambient noise, you can also AirPlay content, and use the HomePod to manage supported smart home accessories. You can control your lights and other compatible smart home devices. The HomePod can be part of your home automations, for instance, it can be configured to play music when you come home, or ambient noise before bed. So far, I've had no trouble getting the speaker to pick up my voice commands, even from outside the room. If you have multiple HomePods, you can also group them together to play music together. For those who want spatial audio music, you'll need an Apple Music subscription. But that shouldn't be an issue since you'll need an iPhone or iPad to even set up the HomePod.
Speaking of music, a single HomePod can put out pretty good sound, and can do spatial audio. The five tweeters are located at the bottom, but angled away so the audio doesn't bounce off the surface. You get good spatial sound if it's supported, with clear vocals and distinct mids. Bass is there, too. If you get two HomePods, you can set them up as a stereo pair, which sounds even better. Dolby Atmos, in particular, sounds good. Compared to a proper soundbar, though, I note that the bass isn't as rumbly without a dedicated sub-woofer. But that's okay, my wife didn't even realise the HomePods were playing instead of the usual soundbar.
At S$429, the Apple HomePod packs great sound in a relatively compact form factor. Compared to the S$799 Sonos Era 300, the HomePod won't sound as good, but you can get two HomePods for a more immersive experience. The caveat, though, is that it's not designed for non-Apple users. If you don't need spatial audio music, the cheaper S$139 HomePod Mini offers similar smart features in a smaller package. Get the HomePod from Lazada, Shopee, or Apple Store.
Note: Review unit provided by Apple.
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