HomePod vs. HomePod Mini: Which one should you buy?
An Apple smart speaker shootout
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Both Thread-enabled options offer a mesh fabric and backlit touch surface, support for stereo pair functionality and multiroom audio, and a temperature and humidity sensor.
So, which one is for you? Here’s how to decide between the HomePod (2nd gen) and the HomePod Mini.
The impressive sound quality from the second-gen HomePod can actually bounce audio around large rooms, delivering a satisfying listening experience.
Apple’s follow-up to its 2020 HomePod is an exceptional speaker that’s not only loud (even for larger rooms) but well-balanced thanks to clear lows, mids, and highs.
Along with its Apple-designed high-excursion woofer for deep bass, there are five tweeters, angled slightly upward for optimized delivery, along with “beamforming” calibration tech that bounces audio around the room to sense surfaces (like walls) to deliver a more balanced experience.
The HomePod Mini also delivers rich acoustics—surprisingly, really, as it’s out of a much smaller enclosure—but the full-range driver and dual passive radiators (a speaker diaphragm with no magnet) yield solid bass performance and crisp high frequencies.
Despite its small size, the HomePod Mini also impresses with decent volume levels for small- to medium-sized rooms (even at maximum volume, there isn’t much distortion).
When you use your voice to activate Siri—to ask a question, control your smart home devices, or instruct your personal assistant to play a song—performance was comparable between the HomePod and HomePod Mini.
Worth noting, HomePod has four far-field beamforming microphones compared to HomePod Mini’s three microphone array, but there wasn’t ever an issue with Siri understanding me on either speaker.
But pound for pound, in the performance department, HomePod (2nd gen) wins.
The price of the HomePod Mini is slashed by more than half due to its size. But don’t worry, it’s performance doesn’t lack due to that.
Smaller in size and in price, HomePod Mini is a worthy contender for music lovers, at a much more reasonable $99 apiece. Plus, it comes in more colors than its older sibling: Space Gray, blue, white, yellow, and orange.
Many of the core features are the same between HomePod and HomePod Mini. Both speakers offer multi room audio and stereo pair support, hands-free Siri integration (with the ability to recognize different users and playlists), and an U1 ultra-wideband chip (including spatial awareness and audio handoff).
Both also conveniently include a temperature and humidity sensor, should you want to know that info, and in the future may alert you if levels get too high or low for your liking.
Both speakers can act as a smart home hub, with Thread support for better compatibility and security than other platforms (leveraging HomeKit and Matter accessories).
For both speakers, be aware you need an iOS device like an iPad or iPhone. Android devices just don’t work with these speakers.
True to its name, the HomePod Mini is petite, measuring in at only 3.3 inches. Also, with a total of five color options, your smart speaker can match your aesthetic.
At 6.6 inches tall, HomePod is exactly twice the height of the 3.3-inch HomePod Mini. Both feature Apple’s eco-friendly mesh fabric, and a backlit touch-sensitive top that illuminates (in color) if you touch it to activate Siri, play or pause tracks, or adjust volume up or down.
Aside from being more compact, HomePod Mini is spherical—about the shape of a softball—compared to the more cylindrical-shaped HomePod (taller as it is wider and longer).
The design preference boils down to individual tastes, but both have their charm.
Props to the HomePod Mini’s smaller footprint, letting you place it in more spots in a room, like on a teeny bookshelf, kitchen counter, or end-table. There are extra colors for HomePod Mini, too, for those who’d prefer to match their décor, compared to latest HomePod’s only two options.
But a downside to HomePod Mini’s design is a power cable that cannot be removed from the speaker. With HomePod (2nd gen), you can use any traditional figure-8 power cable, if desired.
The second-gen HomePod is well-worth the price and pairs incredibly well with Apple Music’s features.
Granted, it costs three times the price, but the new HomePod is a better speaker than HomePod Mini.
But make no mistake: HomePod Mini can hold its own, and is astoundingly good despite its small size and cost.
While the two share many of the same features, the performance of the HomePod Mini’s pricier sibling is simply bolder and richer, and supports more Apple Music features like lossless tracks and (for those who like it) Spatial Audio. Perhaps the room-sensing tech, not found in HomePod Mini, also helps to fill the space with well-balanced music.
At the same time, those with a tinier place and budget would not have buyer’s remorse after treating their ears to HomePod Mini.
Source: USA Today Technology