HomePod mini review: the best and great promises despite some flaws

Introduction

After a first attempt that fell short of all expectations, Apple has learned the lesson and honed its copy. Less expensive than the HomePod and more powerful, the HomePod mini comes to bring the new attempts of the firm in the connected home without forgetting its fundamentals. Is he the perfect new ally? Here is our test.

Apple HomePod mini HomePod mini // Source: Frandroid / Arnaud GELINEAU

Having a connected speaker close at hand or within reach has become a routine matter in our interiors. The market is becoming denser at high speed and everyone is going for their product. But to survive in the ocean of references, you now need to know how to do something other than sound.

Eager to make its HomeKit interface a must for the connected home, Apple has for years sought to centralize all management within a single fixed device. Failing to do it from his Apple TV box, the first attempt was called HomePod. A product that is too expensive, too big, too focused on music and equipped with a somewhat clumsy Siri: the Californian firm then revised its copy. And the new version is called HomePod mini: the fundamentals of its predecessor with years of improvements and more. But has Apple really fixed all the flaws to make it indispensable?

The technical sheet

Model Apple HomePod mini
Built-in microphone Yes
Number of loudspeakers 1
Subwoofer Yes
Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 4 (n)
OS compatibility iOS
Assistant Siri
Dimensions 97.9 x 84.3 x mm
Product sheet

This test was performed with a device loaned by Apple.

Very mini, very cute!

We’d expect it to be a bit smaller than the original HomePod, but not necessarily as mini as the name suggests. Apple’s new speaker is just 8.43cm tall and 9.8cm in diameter at its widest point. This is a mini ball in hand, comparable in size to the Amazon Echo Dot , but with much better sound. With its 345 grams, this gives a fairly compact device, but which is cut to be solid on its base.

The speaker is powered with its integrated cable and is electrically connected with a 20W adapter for USB-C this time provided, unlike the last iPhone or charger of Apple Watch. The wire is not necessarily very long (around 1.50 m) compared to that of the large model which allowed it to be positioned wherever you wanted, even far from a socket or a little higher up. We will note a single false note quite unexpected when we know the attention to detail at Apple: the grip of the black HomePod mini is white. It indicates a little …

The two Apple HomePods in mini and maxi version // Source: Frandroid / Arnaud GELINEAU

The speaker is covered in the same honeycomb mesh fabric as the HomePod Maxi, but made in one piece and from 90% recycled plastic. For the environmental aspect, be aware that the device was designed using rare earth elements recycled at 99%, and even rare earth elements 100% recycled for the neodymium magnet in the pilot of the enclosure.

Available in white or space gray, the HomePod mini has the advantage of being inconspicuous in any environment. And it is rather elegant with its flat cutout at the top to reveal the tactile surface of the controls. This is where you can adjust the volume, start or stop the music, activate Siri with a long press if you don’t want to use voice control. Apple made this choice rather than that of a physical button to be activated or not so as not to distort the general design.

The easy setup

Once your HomePod mini is out of the box, setup is pretty straightforward. You plug in the device and it emits a signal tone as the touch surface lights up. Just hold your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch closer to it to recognize it. On your device’s screen, the HomePod mini design appears. The configuration can begin.

The on-screen instructions are quite detailed. You will choose in which room it will be placed. You must then choose the personal requests that will be shared (calendar, message, contacts, reminders, etc.), authorize Siri to work with the HomePod mini and validate your iCloud credentials. All you have to do is point your iPhone or other camera at the top of the HomePod mini. All the settings (especially internet connection, contacts, etc.) are transmitted to the speaker, which is ready to operate. They can then be changed from the Home app.

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