At the November event, Apple announced a new addition to their Homepod line in the Homepod mini. This is a smaller assistant speaker that can be placed in multiple rooms to play music, get information, or set up as an intercom system. I take a look at the Space Grey unit, unbox, and setup with my new iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Apple HomePod Mini
This is a smaller personal assistant, measuring only 3.3 inches high, by 3.9 inches wide. Inside is the built-in speakers that can project in 360 degrees around the room.
Along with 4 internal microphones, the HomePod Mini works with Siri to answer questions, send announcements and texts, answer calls, and more. It can also stream from your phone, or the multitude of services (e.g. Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn).
Why 802.11N WiFi?
With Bluetooth 5, and the U1 Ultra-Wideband connection, what is odd about the unit is the WiFi is only 802.11n (instead of .ac). The Ultra Wideband is a technology that only iPhones have at this time, so you might want to have these HomePods close to your router.
S5 Chip Inside
The Apple S5 chip is the same used in the Apple watch. This is a dual-core processor that also houses Wifi, Bluetooth, and a Magetometer.
Setting up the HomePod Mini
Setup was fairly easy. With a phone nearby, it can be identified, similar to the AirPods Pro. Once connection is established, information (like Wifi connections) are passed to the device for ease of use when your phone is not around.
Watch for those Updates
During the setup, an update to the device was needed, but didn’t inform me it was downloading and updating. Once I realized what was happening, I let the process run. The 243 MB file took a long time to download, and when installed, I was back up and running.
The HomePod Interface
While this is meant to be in multiple rooms, I am a little concerned on the light it emits. I wasn’t able to adjust it. I only hope it dims during evening hours – otherwise, I am not sure how you can have this in your bedroom.
The button system is fairly simple, but I found button presses to not work when Siri is active. Not that you would mess up the top of the HomePod with your fingerprints, anyway.
The device was easy to setup and use. It comes with a 20W wall plug that is just like all the other Apple wall plugs – bulky and a plug hog.
Nonetheless, the device setup quick and easy. After the update, the device stayed connected to my network, and I was able to communicate without issue.
Price and Availability
The HomePod Mini is $99, but works better in pairs. You can get in white, or Space Grey. Get the HomePod Mini (affiliate link)