In 2017, Apple launched the HomePod, his first smart speaker, which ended up not arriving in Brazil. In 2020, still with no expectation of launching in Brazilian lands, Apple brought the HomePod Mini, a smaller version of the smart speaker. Besides the size, what is the difference between HomePod and HomePod Mini? Is it worth buying the Mini instead of the original, full size? Let’s talk about it …
In common, we can say that both are smart speakers for home use, which respond to commands from Siri, Apple’s assistant. They are competitors of the Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Nest and Home (Google Assistant) and speakers. As a differential, they talk well with apple devices and the ecosystem.
HomePod vs HomePod Mini
A quick summary of the HomePod vs HomePod Mini comparison, in specifications.
|Price||$ 99||$ 299|
(Spatial Perception / Sound)
|❌ (called 360)||✔️|
(same sound in multiple environments, synchronized)
|Stereo pair capable
(synchronizes two HomePods on two sound channels)
|Apple TV 4K home theater (works with Apple TV 4K)||❌||✔️|
|Intercom (works as an “intercom between rooms)||✔️||✔️|
|Smart home hub
(receives the commands / central of the smart home)
|Processor||S5 (same chip as Apple Watch Series 5 and SE)||A8 (same chip as iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus)|
Right away, what draws the most attention among the characteristics that differ them is the design. The first version, only Homepod, is bigger, taller and heavier (much heavier). Both available in colors space gray (space gray) and white (White).
|Dimensions||3.3 inches tall
3.9 inches wide
|6.8 inches tall
5.6 inches wide
|Weight||345 grams||2.5 kg|
Both models still have the touch screen at the top, with commands:
- Ringtone: Play / Pause music or Siri
- Double tap: Skip
- Tap three times: Back
- Tap and hold: Siri
- Touch or hold + or -: increase / decrease the volume
The HomePod Mini has a completely round shape, while the traditional HomePod is cylindrical, with flat bases. You can be in doubt, watching only the promotional videos, but HomePod and HomePod Mini have a wire: the power cable.
They are wrapped in seamless mesh fabric that is virtually transparent to the sound that passes through it. The touch surface at the top is backlit for quick control.
Sound and internal design
Inside, the two versions of HomePod try to do as much as they can in little space. Combining microphones, tweeters (speakers), processor and interface. Apple, for its part, gives less technical details about the Mini version on the purchase page. An inevitable change is the number of speakers included in the Mini.
Sound on HomePod
The original HomePod, the largest, adapts to your location and offers “high fidelity” audio wherever you are playing. In practice, we can say that your speakers are purposely designed to create a rich sound, capable of filling your entire room.
In numbers, there are seven tweeters altogether, placed around the base, resulting in a feeling of filling the space with what you are touching. This virtually eliminates reflections from the audio and allows for consistent “high definition” sound.
O woofer of the HomePod is positioned on top of the speaker and facing upwards. Below, a set of six microphones (along with a low-EQ microphone) analyze and compensate for the effect on the bass response. A motor drives the 20 mm diaphragm, promising good bass even when the audio is lower in the box.
The six microphones around the HomePod allow you to pick up sound in any position. When you say “Hey, Siri”, the device processes the signal, along with echo and noise cancellation, and avoids the need to speak louder even if you are on the other side of the room and with music playing. After “What’s up, Siri”, Apple says that everything else you say is encrypted and sent anonymously to the servers.
Sound on the HomePod Mini
The HomePod Mini promises “great sound for a speaker your size”. Apple speaks in 360-degree audio, but dosa in words compared to the original. The HomePod Mini works with computational audio and simulates larger speakers.
Switching from several separate speakers to a compact version is certain to result in some loss, but Apple guarantees that its computer audio algorithms will adjust everything all the time. The number of microphones, for Siri, drops from 6 to 4.
Because it is cheaper, Apple suggests several HomePods Mini around the house, creating a connected sound system. Just ask Siri to play a song anywhere or a different song in each room. In addition to working for multiroom audio, it has features like Intercom (intercom) and pair of stereo speakers.
Unfortunately, you cannot use a HomePod and a HomePod Mini as a pair of stereo speakers together, as two of the same speaker are required to function.
|Audio Technologies||HomePod Mini||HomePod|
|Deep bass and sharp high frequencies||Powerful woofer with custom amplifier|
|360º sound field||Set of seven tweeters|
|Computer audio for real-time adjustment||Computer audio for real-time adjustment|
|Four microphones for Siri||Six microphones for Siri|
|Multiroom audio with AirPlay 2||Multiroom audio with AirPlay 2|
|Stereo pair function||Stereo pair function|
Both work with other Apple products like iPhone, Mac or Apple TV. The Mini version, however, is incompatible with the Home Theater feature with the Apple TV 4K. HomePod has a woofer dedicated for bass and the user will not achieve a home theater effect with the compact speaker of the HomePod Mini. However, you can still use the HomePod Mini to listen to stereo audio with your Apple TV.
In return, just bring the iPhone closer to the HomePod Mini and synchronize what is playing (music or podcast) to continue listening to one or the other automatically.
Now speaking in Siri, she can recognize the voices of up to six different family members on the HomePod Mini. When recognizing a specific voice, it gives information about that person from iOS applications such as Messages, Calendar, Reminders and Contacts.
In fact, the HomePod Mini features two technologies not found in the original HomePod.
One is the Ultra Wideband that allows you to perform activities based on proximity on devices equipped with the U1 chip or with UWB support (as we have on the iPhone 11).
Another is Thread support on the HomePod Mini, a smart grid standard that allows devices to connect with each other, rather than having to use a hub.
Which one to buy?
The HomePod will certainly stand out for its more robust structure of speakers and microphones compared to the HomePod Mini which built and reduced these parts in a version that bets everything on computer audio. This does not mean that the HomePod Mini will damage your music, on the contrary, they are just different bets.
Being enough for basic users, you can choose the Mini version and enjoy everything Apple offers for a third of the price of HomePod. There is also the option, instead of spending everything on a single HomePod, to place several Minis throughout the house for a lower price.
However, if you want higher audio quality, it is clear that the original HomePod will be the best choice. Especially if your intention is to use it on Apple TV 4K, in the Home Theater function. For all other uses, the HomePod Mini can compensate.
In the best of worlds, I would have two original HomePods in the room, with Apple TV 4K and, in other rooms, Mini versions for listening to music and chatting with Siri. The price, however, would be prohibitive and, as we still do not have the values in reais, it is worth waiting.
And, of course, compare with devices from other manufacturers, focused on audio or not.
With information: Apple