HomePod HomePod Second Impressions

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by Shanesan, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Shanesan macrumors 6502

    Shanesan

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #1
    So now you've had HomePod for a week. Now what do you think?

    Please note what Apple music services you're subscribed to as that will obviously influence the impressions.

    I have iTunes Match.

    I still think the audio quality is on the upper tier of good. I like how it fills the room. I still am impressed with how fast HomePod's Siri communicates with my home (she is Hub after all).

    I found setup extremely frustrating and I had to call Apple Support to help me diagnose why iTunes Match wasn't working (it thought I had an Apple Music sub that didn't actually exist).

    I wish Siri was smarter. I wish she didn't rely on web searches so often, or she could gather data better through the search results to try to provide smarter results.

    I find searching for non-english titles or artists impossible and the inability to correct her incorrect gathering of words is frustrating.

    I find the lack of iTunes support disappointing but we all knew it wasn't going to happen.

    I find the lack of Genius disappointing.

    All in all I don't know if I will keep the speaker, as I have other speakers that sound decent and cost less but I was hoping for something that I didn't have to putz around with or use a phone to choose music effectively. I surely won't buy any additional HomePods until the software is tuned.

    What about you?
     
  2. Mark Booth macrumors 68000

    Mark Booth

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #2
    I was originally going to wait until AirPlay 2 was released on HomePod. But I gave in last Friday and brought home one HomePod anyway. So glad I did!

    Setup was a breeze, not a single hiccup. Took about 1 minute or so.

    Sound quality is absolutely outstanding.

    Siri on HomePod isn't perfect but aspects of Siri voice command *are* pretty close to perfect. I can summon Siri with practically a whisper when I'm 10 feet from the HomePod and with my back to it. With music playing loudly, the fact that Siri recognizes commands uttered at a normal conversational level is pretty darn astounding. Apple really nailed that aspect of Siri.

    I subscribed to Apple Music (thanks to HomePod) and I'm reasonably happy. I still think Apple Music's song curation isn't as good as Pandora but it's better than it was back in 2015 (the first time I tried Apple Music). I've already signed up for a full year to get the discount price.

    I'm very much looking forward to having HomePods in just about every room. But I'm not buying multiple units until AirPlay 2 and its features arrive.

    Mark
     
  3. karnsculpture, Feb 17, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018

    karnsculpture macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Very happy after a week; been working from home so it’s been used a lot. Siri has worked fine except for some reason it won’t always work with playlists. Really enjoying the convenience of the voice commands when prepping food, washing up etc or late at night from the couch.

    Apple Music seems to be improved compared to last year when I had all kinds of issues with it.

    SQ is great.

    Update - the playlists issue is now resolved. In another thread it was recommended to unplug the HomePod and plug in again. This worked for me - I didn't need to go through the setup process again.
     
  4. Applebot1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    I’m in a position of having two Sonos 1’s paired in stereo mode so can give a good assessment(for this type of speaker) on the HomePod. I bought one yesterday as I needed another speaker for a different room and my early impressions are very positive great sound at all volume levels.

    Easily beats a single Play 1 or Play One (which is the same speaker with Alexa built in) now with two Play 1’s in stereo it’s more of a case of better stereo separation (a given)

    The 1’s highs are sharper but bass isn’t as low and rounded. This makes for two different sound signatures with the HomePod being warmer and the 1’s more clinical. The HomePod does sound great from any direction.

    In terms of being ‘smart’ my house is all about Alexa (which also connect to my Play 1’s). Siri is very responsive on HomePod and for me great to use compared to my other Apple devices. Music control, smart devices. News,weather and other basic functions not an issue.

    Siri on HomePod picks up my voice better than my echo dot.

    I could give a lot more in-depth impressions, but to sum it up as a speaker the HomePod sounds great, well made and easy to use and so far will be keeping.
     
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #5
    I purchased the HomePod to replace a Sonos 3 Play that wasn't working for my needs. I have a very open floor plan and the 3 Play being directional didn't work as well as it should have due to available placement options. A omnidirectional speaker was needed but I was never impressed with the 1 Play used as a standalone device. Plus since I have HomeKit devices (a lot of them) it seemed like the perfect fit.

    I have also been an Apple Music subscriber long before I got the HomePod. As a service I like it however I don't feel it can narrow down music "for me" as well as some other services.

    Now that the honeymoon period has worn off with the HomePod...

    Pros:

    -I still think it sounds great given its size. I feel it does a better job adjusting to the rooms acoustics than the Sonos using TruePlay dollar for dollar. And it does it automatically. If I move it the accelerometers within know this and recalibrate for the room, again automatically.

    I know there is a lot of sound processing going on but I cannot tell there is, if that makes any sense. For example I could tell its not just down mixing to mono. And after some research I find they are leveraging the stereo track to enhance the sound. But its not adding anything artificial to the sound.

    To my ear the frequency response seems nice and flat and true to the music which to me is impressive due to the rooms acoustics and speakers within the unit.

    -Hey Siri request can be picked up fast and accurately from a surprising distance and/or low speech volume. Much better and more accurately than my Echo (albeit OLD hardware vs new). I find it creepy and annoying at the same time (more on that in the cons).

    -Homekit works as intended and with the HP being so quick and accurately I can pretty much turn lights and devices on and off as I walk through the house. Saying "goodnight" shuts down the house, HP vs the Clapper....

    -Build quality is great as always. Nothing about the HomePod feels cheap. Even the packaging is impressive.

    -Apples attention to detail with Siri make it worth the wait and in the end are the difference between a gimmick and a function you'll actually use.

    An example of the attention to detail vs Alexa, at 12:30am I set a reminder for "tomorrow at 11am", THANKFULLY Siri asked me if I meant tomorrow as in later today (which is what I meant but wasn't thinking because it was so late) or Sunday (actually tomorrow). Out of curiosity I asked Alexa to do the same and she added the reminder for 11am on Sunday which was correct but neglected the human aspect of the request.

    The little information Siri does give you tends (but not always) be more accurate, for example if you ask both "how far away is the moon" Siri will give you the correct answer (within margin of error), Alexa will give you the mean distance but not state its the mean thus technically being incorrect (I know I know dumb but it was an easily repeatable example).

    People look for what it do

    Cons:

    -EQ. I can understand why there isn't an actual EQ but I feel a generic toggle for "reduce bass" would benefit many to their preferred listening experience.

    -Siri. Its just lacking. Personally I don't use a lot of functions people want like "Recipe for peanut butter and jelly sandwich" but I can certainly understand why its important.

    I actually feel Apples eco-system is slowing them down, Macs, iOS devices, AppleTV's, Apple Watches all responding to Siri request differently and all specializing in specific functions. The HomePod doesn't have a screen either, the Alexa was designed around that from the start. I think it will get there but it will be a process.

    -Multiuser support. This is something else I feel is on the way and it will be accomplished via the Home app. Inviting a user to your Home could share information such as other peoples calendars, contacts, notes, AND voice data.

    -Software feels rushed. Just for the above reasons and its main selling feature AirPlay 2 not being ready when the product that will leverage it the most is launched.

    Overall:

    I would recommend it however I think many people would be better off waiting until its updated enough to really set itself apart from the competition.
     
  6. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Siri is rather dumb compared to google assistant and Alexa but for what I need it for like basic tasks, reminders, Apple Music and switching my lights on and off it’s very good and the sound is great when I use it for my Apple TV

    I might just buy a google mini for when I want smart answers from my voice assistant

    Best of both worlds
     
  7. cjbryce macrumors 6502

    cjbryce

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #7
    For reference I have large B&W floor-standers, KEF surrounds, a Cambridge Audio sub, and a fairly decent Arcam A/V home cinema in my living room.

    I've had a HomePod since launch day - they're not exactly out of stock anywhere.

    I've really enjoyed using HomePod - the sound quality remains astonishing from such a tiny little device and it's more than adequate - the bass is punchy, mid-range and top-end are ok but do let it down a little bit on some male vocals - some form of EQ control will be welcome and will probably sort that out.

    All-in-all suits my needs well - I have both Apple Music and iTunes Match and I use HomeKit a fair bit. Siri has understood 95% of my requests - it struggles a little with non-English musician names/track titles, all HomeKit commands work perfectly. I have no inclination towards using Alexa or Google and I'm quite happy with the Apple ecosystem/walled garden. I don't use Spotify or similar, but if I did, then Airplay isn't exactly the hugest hassle.

    All in all I've been impressed. Impressed enough to have just returned from the local PC World/Currys with a second one, which I'll use stand-alone in the living room for casual music listening there until pairing arrives at which point I'll transfer it to the bedroom as a music/TV stereo pair (I only have Apple TV in the bedroom, not even an antenna for broadcast TV). So I'm now looking forward to iOS 11.3/AirPlay2 - hurry it up Apple.

    Wishlist:-
    • HomePod in HomeKit scenes - "play playlist x/scary dog barking if motion sensor triggered", "play song y at 07:00 every weekday morning", "play jazz and set the lights at dinner time" and so on
    • HomePod voice recognition (enabling multiple accounts)
    • User-defined HomePod EQ

    Dreamlist:-
    • Apple TV 5 with Atmos, optical in from my main TV which would then be the source switcher for cable/BluRay/other devices
    • HomePod Sub (although for my tastes, the bass on the HomePod is pretty damned good)
    • No speaker cables at all ever again :)
    • B&W floor-standers on eBay (OK, that might never happen - they really are very good indeed)
     
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #8
    I forgot a con on my list.

    I don't like how the power cord is not detachable. I would just like to buy a custom length that is shorter for aesthetics.
     
  9. colinwil macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    #9
    The pros speak for themselves - it sounds great!

    A couple of cons...

    1. 'Genius' doesn't work. eg. if I say 'Hey Siri, play music like Rudimental' - it says ' Genius is not available'. Doh! What's the point of having 4 million songs on Apple Music if you can't discover them?!

    2. The second con isn't so much down to HomePod so much as Apple Music in general. Some if the music on there - especially some older stuff, some classical stuff etc. is dreadfully compressed - sounds like MP3 at 64kbs or something.

    3. I agree that the power cord should be detachable - or retractable or something. Ours is sitting on the kitchen worktop - right next to a plug socket - with that long, fat power cable coiled next to it :(
     

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8 February 16, 2018