Midway through January 2023, Apple surprised everyone by announcing a brand new HomePod. No, this isn’t a successor to the HomePod mini from 2020, but is actually a true successor to the original HomePod which was released back in 2018. To many, this announcement came with little fanfare considering that Apple decided to make its “announcement” through a press release on the Apple Newsroom. Nevertheless, as we near the release date (February 3), it turns out that the HomePod (2nd Gen) has already been in the hands of quite a few different publications as many of the reviews have been published.
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HomePod 2 Review Roundup
The Verge – 7/10
“Apple might call the second-gen HomePod “all-new,” but in reality, this product had to be an easy lift for the company. More than anything else, its restoration in the lineup fills a self-inflicted gap and buys Apple a couple of years to work on more ambitious products destined for our homes. But with competitors like Sonos planning major new products for the coming months, I can’t help but wonder whether Apple played it too safe with this $299 speaker — no matter how good it may sound.””
Engadget – 84/100
“Apple has been preparing for a new HomePod for five years, constantly improving both the original version and the HomePod mini. And the fact that the company has made Siri a more capable companion certainly helps. Plus, there’s more smart home abilities than before. Apple hasn’t strayed from its emphasis on the spoken (or sung) word for HomePod’s sound profile, but that’s okay. It’s clear that the company is focused on expanding the toolbox for its smart speakers after their debut, so I’d expect that much like the original HomePod, this is just the beginning for the second generation.”
MobileSyrup – 8/10
“Apple’s HomePod (2nd-Gen) is overall pretty stellar. I enjoyed how it transformed my living room into a better entertainment space, amplifying my music-listening and TV experience. My roommates both loved the speakers and are pretty happy with the upgrade in the house as well. One of them even said, “hearing Dune even felt cleaner and crisper than when I saw it in IMAX,” which is pretty high praise.”
“In its second generation, Apple doubled down on audio with a more refined soundstage and tossed in some other new features. The latter are mainly all in the smart home vein with support for Thread and two additional sensors.
Just like the HomePod Mini, you need to be in the Apple ecosystem to get the most of it. Additionally, it pays to playback content from Apple Music since it is the easiest service to do so and supports Spatial Audio.”
“Strategically speaking, this feels like the perfect time for the HomePod to strike back. Amazon and Google’s defenses are down, and focusing on Matter support specifically and the smart home broadly should help Apple gain some traction. Apple is always focused on that “just works” experience, and the new standards bring the connected home a heck of a lot closer to that goal. The long-rumored HomeOS continues to be long rumored, even as the company continues to drop hints as to its existence. If/when it does finally materialize, it’s a pretty safe bet the HomePod experience will be foundational.”
Digital Trends – 4.5/5
“Would I put a pair of HomePods next to my TV in my living room and have it be my daily driver system for watching TV and listening to music? Yes, I would. I already own an Apple TV 4K, so that reduces the barrier to entry for me. I’m an Apple user, so they’d fit in with my tech lifestyle. The HomePods are awesome for watching movies and TV.”
Tom’s Guide – 4/5
“There isn’t anything revolutionary about the HomePod (2nd generation), but as with most of Apple’s products, it’s a well thought out device. In terms of audio quality, it’s rivaled only by the Sonos One; I somewhat prefer the Sonos’ output, though I like the fact that you can use the HomePod 2 as your speaker for your Apple TV 4K (you’d need to pick up the $449 Sonos Beam if you wanted a similar feature in a Sonos product).”
PC Mag – 4/5
“The second-generation HomePod is the best Siri-compatible smart speaker yet, as well as the best smart speaker designed to work within Apple’s ecosystem. Beyond this, its room sensing and computational audio features definitely add some liveliness to its audio presentation, and it delivers some genuinely crisp highs and impressive lows. Apple’s HomeKit platform has trailed Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of compatibility with smart home accessories, but the inclusion of Matter helps narrow that gap.”
Pocket-Lint – 4.5/5
“If you want one of the best sounding smart speakers out there – if not the best – the Apple HomePod more than delivers. If it’s the smart features you’re after though, Google Assistant and Alexa speakers are simpler and have greater compatibility, even if that could very well change for Apple with Matter in the future.”
CNET – 8/10
“There are plenty of smart speakers out there to choose from, and at $299 (£299, AU$479) the HomePod 2 is still at the expensive end of the spectrum. If you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, the new HomePod adds a couple of welcome twists on a familiar formula. If you’re an Android user, on the other hand, the HomePod is not for you — you need an iOS device to set it up. The Echo Studio or Sonos One are better options for non-Apple people and both cost less than the HomePod. And if you want most of the features available in the HomePod at a reduced price, the HomePod Mini is an exceptional value. It’s the better of the two Apple speakers for the money.”
HomePod 2 Video First Impressions and Reviews
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.