Once upon a time, Apple made a really cool wireless smart speaker It’s called HomePod. A mid-sized speaker that mounts to the wall, it delivers better sound than most smart speakers and looks more elegant too.

Then Apple decided to stop making HomePod and focused on homepod mini, its younger brother. And now, for whatever reason, the company has decided to revamp the medium-sized HomePod. It’s a welcome change.

The new HomePod looks a lot like the old one. It does some new things. And – surprisingly – it costs $50 less. should you get one? It depends on how in the Apple ecosystem you are. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, don’t worry. For everyone else, here’s what we think after nearly a week of testing Apple’s new smart speaker.

a better siri speaker

The second-generation HomePod is a great option for Apple users who don’t already own a previous model, offering plenty of smarts and room-filling sound at a good price. The new version updates its support for smart home devices, includes new sensors and features, and — at $299 — costs less than the original.

HomePod 2nd Generation vs 1st Generation

At first glance, it’s hard to see much difference between the new HomePod and the one Apple is due to discontinue in 2021. The new HomePod is slightly smaller and has a few design differences, but otherwise looks very similar.

Inside, the second-generation HomePod has fewer drivers than the first-generation model — five on the new versus seven on the original — and yet it actually improves the overall sound. The new HomePod has a better balance of bass, treble and midrange tones; The original HomePod was very bass heavy.

This makes for a pleasant listening experience. The bossa nova rhythms on Steve Lacey’s “Mercury” resonate but do not overpower the vocals; When Jon Batiste’s “Freedom” was heard, the bass thumped while the horns were warm and realistic.

Its design allows the sound to be projected 360 degrees, and it features room correction software that will adjust the audio to sound best in the space you put it in.

Compared head-to-head with the original HomePod, the first-generation model felt muddy and less vibrant. There’s no comparison between the HomePod Mini and the HomePod; The bigger speaker sounds bigger and better.

Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Review CNNU 2

Michael Govan/CNN

The second generation model adds support for the Mater, the new smart home standard. This means you can use it as a hub to control non-Apple devices and it should be ready when new smart products arrive. Matter is open source and meant to promote interoperability; Compatible devices work with Alexa and Google Assistant as well as Siri. I was able to use Siri to turn on the Eve Energy smart plug which uses the Thread standard, which will be upgraded to support Mater.

The speaker also includes temperature and humidity sensors, which can be used to trigger actions based on conditions in your home, such as smart thermostat,

And, if you double down on your HomePod purchase, you can score a left-right stereo pair. The sound improvement is important when you use two speakers—it creates a very wide sound, and, if you’re listening to audio mixed for Dolby Atmos, the music feels like it’s all around you. (Unfortunately, you can’t create a stereo pair with first-generation and second-generation speakers.)

Another small change: The power cord is detachable — something that neither the original HomePod or HomePod Mini offer.

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Michael Govan/CNN

In a very un-2023 move, the HomePod price dropped from $349 to $299. One of the major criticisms of the original HomePod was its price. While $299 isn’t cheap, it does make it more competitive with options like the $219 Sonos One.

I found that I liked the overall sound of the HomePod better than the Sonos One, as well sonos move, a great sounding speaker that costs $399. However, the Move has the advantage of being portable.

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Michael Govan/CNN

You need an iPhone or iPad to set up HomePod — there’s no way to get around that requirement. And to get software updates, you’ll need to use the Home app. The Home app is also where you can adjust Siri’s settings on the HomePod, set up automations, and create a stereo pair with the second-generation HomePod. So if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, skip the HomePod.

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Michael Govan/CNN

The only way to connect to the HomePod is via Wi-Fi. There’s no Bluetooth option and it lacks an auxiliary input. An auxiliary input would be especially welcome when using two HomePods as a stereo pair; That setup begs for a turntable attached to it.

The good thing about using Wi-Fi is that the audio quality is higher than with Bluetooth, but more input options would increase the speaker’s usefulness.

You can’t do much to adjust the sound either. While it has room correction software, it doesn’t have EQ. The only option you have is to reduce the bass (you’ll find it in the Home app).

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Michael Govan/CNN

Siri works fine most of the time for common smart speaker commands: asking it to play a song, adjust the volume, or set a timer. But it sometimes struggled to act on my requests, and it doesn’t have the range of Alexa or Google Assistant. For example, you can get Siri to play music from services other than Apple Music, such as Pandora and Deezer, but Spotify isn’t one of them (Siri can control Spotify on the iPhone, but Spotify has turned off that feature). HomePod).

size and weight

6.6 x 5.6 inches, 5.16 pounds

3.9 x 3.3 inches, 0.76 pounds

6.36 x 4.9 inches, 4.08 pounds

the drivers

Five tweeters, 4 inch woofer

dual radiator, full-range driver

Two Digital Amplifiers, One Tweeter, One Midwoofer


Wi-Fi, Airplay

Wi-Fi, Airplay

Wi-Fi, Airplay


white midnight

Space Grey, Blue, White, Yellow, Orange

white Black

smart assistant options

Sir, I

Sir, I

Alexa, Google Assistant, Sonos Voice Control





As a satisfied owner of the first-generation HomePod, I didn’t see anything in the new one’s specifications or appearance that would make me want to upgrade. But the second-generation HomePod makes a stronger case. It sounds better, has more features and costs less than the original.

It is not for everyone. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, or you primarily use Spotify, you’re better off sonos one either Shake, And the HomePod isn’t portable, which may limit its appeal to you.

But if those things don’t faze you, HomePod will make Siri more useful to you and bring better sound into your home. Which makes you wonder why Apple stopped it in the first place – a decision I’m glad it corrected.

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