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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Following Apple's reintroduction of the full-size HomePod, how does the new model compare to the divisive original model that the company introduced in 2017 and discontinued in 2021?

HomePod-Gen-1-vs-2-Feature.jpg

The new HomePod is priced at $299. The original model debuted at a $349 price point, before being dropped to $299 in 2019. Following a period of appreciation last year, prices for the original HomePod on sites like eBay are now falling and it may still be possible to pick up a unit at a price well below $299.

First-time HomePod customers, those considering upgrading from the original, or anyone considering adding another HomePod to their setup to create a stereo pair may be wondering whether it is worth buying an original model or the new one, so it is important to weigh up exactly what was added with the reintroduced HomePod.

See the detailed breakdown below for each new feature, change, and improvement that was added with the new HomePod compared to the original model:

New HomePod

  • Refined design with acoustically transparent mesh fabric
  • Larger backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge, matching HomePod mini
  • S7 chip from 2021's Apple Watch Series 7
  • U1 ultra wideband chip
  • Five horn-loaded tweeters
  • Four far-field beamforming microphones
  • 6.6 inches tall
  • Weighs 5.16 pounds
  • Removable power cable
  • Wi-Fi 4 connectivity (802.11n)
  • Thread support
  • Temperature and humidity sensor
  • Sound Recognition
  • Available in White and Midnight

Original HomePod

  • Design with acoustically transparent mesh fabric
  • Backlit touch surface
  • A8 chip from 2013's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
  • Seven horn-loaded tweeters
  • Six far-field beamforming microphones
  • 6.8 inches tall
  • Weighs 5.5 pounds
  • Wi-Fi 5 connectivity (802.11ac)
  • Fixed power cable
  • Available in White and Space Gray

Final Thoughts

If you already have an original HomePod, most users will not gain much by replacing it with a new model. In fact, in some senses, the new HomePod is a step back from the original, with fewer tweeters, microphones, and downgraded support for Wi-Fi 4. The original HomePod still receives software updates with new features and improvements, and the new model is unlikely to sound better owing to its scaled down audio hardware, so you may be better off waiting for your current HomePod to reach the end of its usable life before upgrading to a future HomePod model that has more to offer.

A minority of users who specifically want a better handoff experience with the U1 chip, the temperature and humidity sensor for smart home automations, Thread support, and perhaps even the new Midnight color option and tweaked aesthetic may have justifiable reasons to upgrade – but this certainly won't be the case for most existing HomePod owners.

  • Original HomePod user: Don't upgrade to new HomePod unless you want specific new features
  • Original HomePod user looking to create stereo pair: Get discounted original model or buy two new models
  • Prospective HomePod customer: Buy new HomePod, don't buy discounted original model

The new HomePod cannot be stereo-paired with the original model, so if your intention in buying another HomePod is to create one, you will need to track down another original model. If you can afford it, it may be easier to simply replace your original HomePod with a new one and create a whole new stereo pair with two of the reintroduced models.

If you are simply looking to add a HomePod to your smart home and audio setup, it will be much better to get the new model over the original. The new model offers improved performance, a significantly better handoff experience, a more modern design, is unlikely to sound much different from the original model, and should have much better longevity.

Article Link: Old vs. New HomePod Buyer's Guide
 
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kugino

macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2003
1,152
147
while i havenʻt heard it, it doesnʻt make me excited...was hoping for a few more advancements. temp/humidity sensor isnʻt a game changer...maybe when costco starts selling these for 2/$499 i might pick up a pair.
 

Fyrus

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2022
46
122
How can you do a comparison when the focal point about the HomePod is sound and you don’t know if it sounds different yet or not with less speakers
Need those clicks. It doesn’t make sense releasing this article right now imo, no one knows what Apple has been capable of software-wise.

There’s definitely more value now in a HomePod versus 2018 but until the sound quality comparison has been made, the 2018 is still king.

I loved my original HomePod, but it consisted of so many low quality parts… My original and 2 replacements had issues. Decided to sell my last replacement, even made a little profit.

Such a shame since I really enjoyed the device and it sounded better than a Sonos Five imo. Just not worth the headache.
 

slplss

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2011
760
759
Czech Republic
Two HomePods must sound amazing. I’ve only heard a single and it was "nice". We’ll see how they compare. It’s overpriced nonetheless. You can get beast sounding sound system for the price of double HomePods and connect it with Apple TV or BT box like Echo Dot.
 

johntherazz

macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2022
4
18
Two HomePods must sound amazing. I’ve only heard a single and it was "nice". We’ll see how they compare. It’s overpriced nonetheless. You can get beast sounding sound system for the price of double HomePods and connect it with Apple TV or BT box like Echo Dot.
You’re right. Paired HomePods (and paired HomePod Minis) sound infinitely better than single ones - and a pair of HomePods at the front of the room with a second pair of Minis at the back sounds awesome - but you need to select each set every time you AirPlay to them. It’s a mystery why Apple won’t allow HomePods to be grouped for true surround sound (like… oh, I don’t know - even their cheapest competitors), but the sound of the two paired sets is so good that I can forgive them almost anything.
 
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