The work­man­ship, sound qual­i­ty, set­up and con­trol of the Apple Home­pod in the test tests are at a very high lev­el and pro­vide a suc­cess­ful user expe­ri­ence in every respect.

But too tight bind­ing to the Apple uni­verse, more than a notice­able markup for the brand com­pared to com­peti­tors and, in gen­er­al, a very high cost sig­nif­i­cant­ly dark­en the pic­ture.


child-friend­ly set­up
nice design
very good sound in all posi­tions
clear man­age­ment


only works with Apple devices
Requires iOS to set up

Apple Homepod test

Apple hard­ware is known for being espe­cial­ly user-friend­ly, par­tic­u­lar­ly when set­ting it up. The same goes for Home­pod. After unpack­ing and open­ing the box, we can see the pic­ture famil­iar to Apple prod­ucts: you can only find Home­pod in the pack­age, a rigid­ly fixed cable for con­nect­ing to the mains, as well as a small, very brief “instruc­tion”.

The next thing we need to do is con­nect the speak­er to the out­let, pick up the iOS device and wait a few sec­onds. To use Home­pod, you will need an Apple-brand­ed end device with a cur­rent ver­sion of the iOS oper­at­ing sys­tem (min­i­mum: iOS 11.2.5). So it could be an iPhone from 5S gen­er­a­tion, iPod touch 6G or iPad 5th gen­er­a­tion or lat­er.

Short­ly there­after, a menu auto­mat­i­cal­ly opens on the iOS device to help you set up your Home­pod con­fig­u­ra­tion and down­load the Home app from the App­Store if nec­es­sary.

This is fol­lowed by a few self-explana­to­ry steps, and now we are already wel­comed by the voice assis­tant Siri. Togeth­er with him, we give a few tri­al voice com­mands to get an under­stand­ing of how this is done. More for basic func­tion­al­i­ty is not required.

At the same time, it will not be pos­si­ble to set up a smart Blue­tooth speak­er through Mac OS. And this is despite the fact that fur­ther use through the Air­play inter­face does not cause any prob­lems. Strange, but still pret­ty typ­i­cal for Apple.

Control Apple Homepod with your voice

Using Home­pod is done with the usu­al Siri voice com­mands, includ­ing acti­vat­ing the assis­tant through “Hey Siri”. Although the col­umn on the top side has a touch-sen­si­tive field, with which, for exam­ple, you can change the vol­ume (+/- sym­bols) or skip to the next song (dou­ble tap), to work with the rest of the numer­ous and real­ly cool func­tions you have to chat with the device, whether you like it or not.

At the same time, the func­tion­al­i­ty of Siri has no fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences from oth­er iOS devices. With the right phras­es, we can check the weath­er, lis­ten to a 100-sec­ond recap, check out our iCloud media library, or con­trol our com­pat­i­ble Smart-Home devices. Apple Music sub­scribers, of course, do not stand aside.

To send iMes­sage or SMS, it is enough to make a cou­ple of pre­cise cal­i­bra­tions in the set­tings. This will work just as well as mak­ing phone calls, which can be done through the Hand­off func­tion on the Home­pod.

Those who have already made friends with Siri will cope with Home­pod with­out any prob­lems — every­one else will have to get used to the dig­i­tal female voice. How­ev­er, as an alter­na­tive, you can make a male voice.

Siri eavesdrops

We can­not over­come the fear that Siri will eaves­drop on every­thing you say or do at home, since the device does not have a micro­phone mute but­ton. How­ev­er, if nec­es­sary, you can sim­ply unplug the cord from the out­let or equip the out­let with a switch. With­out elec­tric­i­ty, Home­pod can’t do any­thing.

Using the voice com­mand “Hey Siri, stop.” and sub­se­quent con­fir­ma­tion, we can get rid of the assis­tan­t’s unnec­es­sary reac­tion to phras­es addressed to oth­er peo­ple — and then we can use Siri by touch­ing the touch sur­face on the col­umn. After that, the nor­mal func­tion­al­i­ty can be acti­vat­ed again using the “Hey Siri” voice com­mand.

When the Home­pod set­up is done, it will be pos­si­ble to con­trol it through the Air­Play pro­to­col. The appro­pri­ate rights must be defined in the Home appli­ca­tion. Then here it will be pos­si­ble (some­times through workarounds) to use Mac, Android, etc. as a source.

At the same time, there is no pos­si­bil­i­ty of trans­fer­ring con­tent direct­ly via Blue­tooth — every­thing is done only through Air­Play. Any­one who buys two devices from the Apple store at once can com­bine two Home­pod speak­ers to set up stereo play­back (a nice touch).

Apple Homepod smart speaker test: high quality is expensive
Apple Home­pod: Requires an iOS device to set up

Apple Homepod test: sound and performance

Before we start talk­ing about cat­e­gories such as ‘Work­man­ship’ and ‘Sound Qual­i­ty’, we must clear­ly take into account that an Apple Home­Pod in white or gray costs a whop­ping 350 euros. Despite the fact that Home­Pod can­not be com­pared “one to one” with reg­u­lar Blue­tooth speak­ers, it still makes sense to look into our rat­ing of BT speak­ers.

For many users who don’t want to be 100% locked into the Apple uni­verse, these sub­stan­tial­ly cheap­er devices will suf­fice. And even direct com­peti­tors in terms of price are much low­er: in par­tic­u­lar, the Ama­zon Echo 2G with an inte­grat­ed Alexa assis­tant on board costs about 100 euros. At the same time, we have to admit: Apple in this case is sell­ing a pre­mi­um seg­ment prod­uct that con­firms the “Pre­mi­um” sta­tus in all aspects with­out the over­pay­ment being too large.

Apple Homepod smart speaker test: high quality is expensive
Apple Home­pod: Sounds excep­tion­al­ly good

powerful sound

Indeed, the Amer­i­cans offer remark­able qual­i­ty. Home­pod is sta­ble, there are no cor­ners or edges, the speak­er is pleas­ant to the touch thanks to the mesh shell and looks beau­ti­ful too. Although the appear­ance of the col­umn will always be in front of the user’s eyes, com­pared to the two Ama­zon Home­pod box­es, the design lev­el will be dif­fer­ent. Cov­er­ing almost the entire sur­face (except for the touch­pad and bot­tom), this mate­r­i­al pro­tects the inside of the device from dust, but does not muf­fle the sound.

Speak­ing of audio, the Home­Pod sounds real­ly good over­all, and is espe­cial­ly pow­er­ful when play­ing bass-heavy songs. This is sur­pris­ing giv­en the rather com­pact design and nar­row diam­e­ter, but is due to the wider gap in the vibrat­ing cham­ber, which allows more air to move. The vocals and high fre­quen­cies of the Home­pod are also clear and do not dis­tort even at a rel­a­tive­ly high vol­ume.

Apple Homepod smart speaker test: high quality is expensiveIf some­one wants to crit­i­cize the sound for some­thing, then most like­ly atten­tion will be paid to the mids, part of the range of which is hid­den. But this phe­nom­e­non is typ­i­cal for the vast major­i­ty of Blue­tooth speak­ers in the “con­sumer” seg­ment. There­fore, you should not expect the same from a com­pact cylin­der as from semi-pro­fes­sion­al HiFi mod­els.

If you are look­ing for just a Blue­tooth speak­er with­out voice con­trol and Smart fea­tures, you will find top prod­ucts in our respec­tive rank­ings, such as Dockin D Fine.

Alternative options:

Apple Homepod smart speaker test: high quality is expensiveAmazon Echo (2nd generation)

Alexa vs Siri means here: Echo vs Home­Pod. The cur­rent mid-range mod­el from Ama­zon with lan­guage sup­port can be obtained for 7,500 rubles.

In addi­tion, it can be pur­chased, at least direct­ly from Ama­zon, in sev­er­al forms. So who:

a) owns an Android smart­phone and b) is look­ing for a more afford­able smart speak­er, he should be hap­py with the Echo 2G.

Apple Homepod smart speaker test: high quality is expensiveDockin D Fine

If voice con­trol, sup­port for work­ing with Smart Home sys­tem devices and oth­er bells and whis­tles are com­plete­ly unin­ter­est­ing to you, and you just want to play music from your phone on an exter­nal speak­er with­out using wires, then a sim­ple Blue­tooth speak­er will be enough for you.

Our cor­re­spond­ing rat­ing leader, Dockin D Fine, costs almost 10500 rubles and has a con­vinc­ing sound qual­i­ty. In addi­tion, there is an inte­grat­ed bat­tery that pro­vides the device with a bat­tery life of as much as 15 hours.

A pho­to: man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies