“The Apple HomePod is Apple’s smart hi-fi speaker, with a big emphasis on hi-fi quality audio,” David Phelan, Technology Critic for The Independent, writes. “Although it’s certainly portable, it’s not lightweight. The base is designed so there’s no vibration when you’re playing music. On top is a flat circular lid which is white or black according to the finish you’ve chosen. At rest, this is blank. There isn’t the slightest evidence that there’s a circular touchscreen hiding there at all. But say the magic words ‘Hey Siri,’ and the display appears, with a multi-coloured swirling image that changes in timed response to what you say. Then it vanishes utterly again. If you’re playing music, all that you can see are the plus and minus symbols which allow you to control volume, which track’s playing and so on by touch.”

“Apple found that most people using smart speakers, even the smallest, least hi-fi capable devices, were using them for playing music above everything else. So, while recognising the importance of being able to relay the latest weather or turn the heating on and off, Apple’s intention was to make this a speaker with, first and foremost, exceptional hi-fi audio quality,” Phelan writes. “So, how does it sound? Tremendous. The audio quality is way better than any other smart speaker I’ve heard, including the Sonos One and Google Home Max… The wide sound stage and deep fidelity to the music means it has outshone some pretty full-on hi-fi systems I’ve heard. Nothing on the HomePod is muddy, every element is sharp and realised.”

Place HomePod anywhere in the room. It automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and separates the music into direct and ambient sound. Direct sound is beamed to the middle of the room, while ambient sound is diffused into left and right channels and bounced off the wall. So your music sounds amazing, wherever you are in the room.

Place HomePod anywhere in the room. It automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and separates the music into direct and ambient sound. Direct sound is beamed to the middle of the room, while ambient sound is diffused into left and right channels and bounced off the wall. So your music sounds amazing, wherever you are in the room.

 
“It’s easy to use, reliably accurate at understanding spoken commands and acting on them. It’s capable when it comes to choosing music tracks or setting timers, sending messages, reading the news and so on. There are places these skills need to develop, but they will, I’m sure. And the arrival of radio stations can’t come soon enough,” Phelan writes. “If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, this is easily the most attractive option, in every way. Even if you’re not, there’s still much to enjoy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Another excellent review is more good news for Apple’s HomePod. Once this thing gets multi-room and stereo-paring capabilities, it’ll thoroughly outclass the competition.

SEE ALSO:
‘What Hi-Fi?’ reviews Apple’s HomePod: The best-sounding smart speaker we’ve ever tested – by far – February 6, 2018
Ben Bajarin: You can’t unhear Apple’s HomePod – February 6, 2018
Inside Apple’s HomePod audio lab – February 6, 2018
Ten things nobody has told you about the Apple HomePod – February 6, 2018
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s HomePod: Easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever – February 6, 2018
WSJ reviews Apple’s HomePod: Sounds far better than the popular smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and Sonos – February 6, 2018
CNET reviews Apple’s HomePod: Strong wireless speaker with awesome sound – February 6, 2018