I got my HomePod on Friday and I used it most of the weekend. As a speaker, it’s way better than the Echo Dot that we had sitting in the living room for quick music. It’s not as good as the Sonos system I have doing surround sound for my TV (two Play:1s and a soundbar).
But it’s way more convenient than the Sonos, or the Sonos plus Echo combo. And it sounds really good, even though it’s a mono speaker. I’ve been using it to play podcasts when I’m cleaning or making dinner, which is also great.1It’s also nice to be able to say “Hey Siri, play the playlist ‘go to sleep’”, and it plays the songs I use to help put the kiddos to bed.
On top of that, if you’re in the HomeKit ecosystem, it’s really nice. I don’t have to have my phone around, or wait for the watch to respond to turning the lights off, or turning up the heat.
As a smart speaker, it does the basic blocking and tackling. Getting the news update from NPR is nice, finding out how many tablespoons in a cup, or the score of the Celtics game. All easy. It doesn’t do anything more advanced than that, and I don’t have any of the personal things turned on (messages, calendar, notes) because it doesn’t know how to handle multiple users yet.
If the Echo and Google Home hadn’t been out for a couple of years now, this is a home run. But since Apple is coming to market late, it’s a mediocre smart speaker that sounds great.
But if you’re a big Apple Music user, and a big HomeKit user, I think it’s a really great speaker that has some decent smart features. I’d love to have one in my office.
It doesn’t sync those podcasts to Overcast, but that’s not a huge deal when I’m listening to one or two. And sometimes you have to be very specific about the name of the podcast. ↩