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Early HomePod Reviews Heap Praise on the Sound but Say Siri Needs Work

Maura

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AppleInsider reports today on the first in-depth HomePod reviews to appear prior to the smart speaker’s arrival in stores on Friday.

The New York Times’s Brian X. Cheng found HomePod lacking in terms of various task tests that he set for it in comparison with Google Home and Amazon Echo, and also found various problems with Siri learning his musical taste, as well as mispronouncing names of artists. However, Cheng said that HomePod did come out on top in terms of smart home functions, due to its integration with HomeKit. He also said that it’s audio quality was superior to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Apple replied to Cheng’s criticisms by saying that Siri was only focusing on basic tasks for the launch, so hopefully all of this will improve.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel said that HomePod has “amazing” sound quality, but is locked too much into Apple’s ecosystem. “HomePod sounds noticeably richer and fuller than almost every other speaker we’ve tested,” said Patel. “You get a surprisingly impressive amount of bass out of it, but you can still hear all of the details in the midrange and the bass never overwhelms the music.”

Patel was also not at all impressed with how Siri works with the speaker.

“I tried the HomePod behind a closed door and it picked up my voice and it happily read my texts aloud, a nightmare for anyone who lives in a dorm.”

Next, Jim Dalrymple at The Loop was particularly impressed with HomePod’s audio quality, saying that there was “no comparison in sound quality,” and that it was “literally laughable” when comparing HomePod with rival devices such as Sonos One, Google Max, and Amazon Echo.

“It’s hard to explain the sound of HomePod, but you get a feeling that the sound is enveloping you, even when using just one speaker. There is a sense that this is how the songwriter and producer wanted the song to be heard when they recorded it.”

Dalrymple also enthused at how well the speaker was able to hear “Hey Siri” commands even in noisy environments.

And finally, The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern said that HomePod has a “sensational voice,” but still “needs work on its brain.”

“It really comes down to what you want your speaker to do. If you want the smartest smart speaker, this isn’t it. But if you prize music above everything else, the HomePod isn’t a dumb choice.”

Source: HomePod review roundup: Apple's smart speaker sounds incredible, but Siri is lacking
 

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