Best Apple HomePod Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

After months of rave reviews around the already sanctified HomePod, we couldn’t wait to discover. Apple’s smart speaker boosted to Siri. With its very personal interpretation of the domestic assistant, Apple relies again and above all on high-quality audio services, abandoning the intelligent side of the speaker.

Best Apple HomePod Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. AutoSonic Stand for Apple HomePod, Aluminum Base Mount Accessories Compatible with Apple HomePod. Fully Aluminum Build, Anti-Slip Base, Silver, 2019 Release

2. Apple HomePod: Master your HomePod, User Guide and Manual (Smart Home System Book 3) Kindle Edition

Ergonomics

A minimalist design, clean lines and polished finishes: there is no doubt that the. HomePod meets the aesthetic requirements imposed by its creator.

However, this intelligent speaker gives itself the fantasy of being available in two colors: white or space gray, it depends. Not too much frivolity is not necessary: ​​the cylindrical shell of the HomePod is not removable – unlike that of the Amazon Echo  – and therefore cannot be replaced by another.

The whole breathes solidity and robustness. The HomePod remains a compact speaker, but still has generous dimensions (17 cm high and 14 cm wide) and a significant weight (2.5 kg): alongside it, Google Home and Amazon Echo do not lead not wide. It should therefore be given a real place at home, but in the absence of a hydrophobic fabric covering allowing it to resist splashes, it is unthinkable to install it in a bathroom or a kitchen.

Built-in battery point on this HomePod which therefore only feeds from the mains using a cable firmly secured to the chassis. The upper part of the HomePod accommodates a multi-touch surface which allows you to take control of the device. If the meaning of the “+” and “-” icons is trivial (adjustment of the listening volume). You should know that a long press on this surface allows. Siri to be woken up without having to call him; a light signal (blue, green, purple) indicates to the user that the assistant is listening. A short press starts playing music or pauses, while double tapping allows access to the next song, and a triple returns to the beginning of the song or to the previous track.

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The illogicalities do not stop there, far from it: not content to get rid of any wired audio input, the HomePod is unable to broadcast sound from a Bluetooth source. Indeed, if it does embark on a Bluetooth 5.0 communication interface, it is reserved for dialogs between the Apple speaker and connected devices present in the home. The conclusion is therefore terrible: it is perfectly impossible to broadcast sound from external devices that have not pledged allegiance to the Apple. True to its reputation, Apple limits any opening to any third-party ecosystem: the only devices able to send a signal to the speaker will be none other than Apple devices – necessarily! -, via the AirPlay protocol.

Another nonsense, and not least for a music listening device: the HomePod is simply unable to connect to third-party multimedia services. Thus, customers of Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, Qobuz and others will have to swap their subscription for a subscription to Apple Music or iTunes Cloud Library. Apart from these services, it will be necessary to go through another Apple device (iPhone, iPad, Mac. Apple TV) and AirPlay, and therefore compose with a (measured) latency of 2 seconds; an eternity in short!

This latency, when viewing video content, fortunately does not translate into a sound / image lag – at least, not always. When the playback software uses the Apple video. API – as is the case for players integrated into web browsers, official applications of services such as YouTube and Netflix. The video track is applied an equivalent delay to that of the audio track, to ensure synchronization. On the other hand, when you use the copy mode from a Mac for example, you can see a lag of around 2 seconds. Needless to say, it is perfectly impossible to live with it?

Speech Recognition

Between the woofer enthroned at the top of the speaker and the. 7 tweeters below are six microphones, arranged all around the cylinder to allow, among other things, omnidirectional voice recording. And in fact, the capture offered by the HomePod is up to the promises of. Apple, both in terms of omnidirectional character and speech detection.

The microphones are not only particularly competent in near field as in diffuse field – even in an acoustics extremely little reverberation like that of our sound lab, it is not necessary to address Siri by speaking in his direction -, but against also very effectively the noise disturbances and surrounding noises and is comfortable with all types of timbres. In this area, the HomePod is largely equivalent to the Google Home.

When the speaker plays music, it has no problem hearing an apostrophe up to about 50% of the maximum level, after which you have to start giving voice to be heard. That being said, the HomePod being truly thought of as a musical enclosure equipped with an assistant. The maximum volume is considerably higher than that delivered by its rivals.

Audio

We suspected that in the absence of any physical input or even Bluetooth, measuring the acoustic performance of the beast would prove to be tricky. We still found a way to get around the obstacle and pass it through our analyzer. But above all, it is important to mention what distinguishes the HomePod from other smart speakers, or even from other speakers quite simply: its ability to adapt its sound performance according to its position in a room.

Without going too far into theory, know that beyond the pure performance of the speakers and the acoustics of the room (materials, volume, parallelism of the walls, insulation), the position of a speaker in this piece also influences the overall rendering: positioning close to a wall, for example, will amplify the bass, even greater amplification in a corner. But we must admit that it is very rare to observe individuals placing their speakers in the middle of a room …

Based on this observation, Apple wanted to offer a speaker capable of delivering optimal sound, regardless of its positioning in the listening room. To do this, the Apple HomePod detects any movement and then automatically triggers a new calibration of its speakers. Warning: contrary to what has been said many times, the HomePod does not adapt to the acoustics of the room. But adapts its frequency response according to its position in the room. And more precisely to its distance. one or more walls. 

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Once is not custom, the adaptive nature of the frequency response of the. Apple HomePod and the perfectly unique acoustics of our sound lab prevent us from providing you with a “reference” curve. Here are three different graphs obtained by modifying the proximity to a wall. These curves are all measured 1 meter from the speaker and calibrated at 85 dB SPL at 1 kHz.

And it is clear that the rendering is indeed much better when the speaker is positioned near a wall: the reproduction is then generally balanced, although locally uneven. The bass is rather highlighted, very round but punchy, clearly lacking in sharpness but does not hide the other frequency ranges. The low mids benefit from a good level and offer a beautiful sensation of sound immersion, but suffer from the uneven signature: when certain layers tap right on the right frequencies to create a sound bed, others just miss the mark. 

Thanks to the boost they enjoy between 1 and 2 kHz, the voices are very present and very intelligible. Even if the membranes lack reactivity to create this feeling of “transparency of timbre” or hyper-presence. The treble finally, clearly set back, remains nevertheless detailed – as if a knob of EQ shelf(plateau filtering) had simply been lowered. The treble instruments, as under-mixed, remain quite perceptible, while the spaces, on the other hand, lack air, the transducers struggling to reproduce the reverberations in their least subtleties.

STRONG POINTS

  • Compact design and solid finishes.
  • Simple configuration.
  • Good quality of voice recording.
  • Optimized sound performance to position the speaker near a wall.
  • Omnidirectional sound emission.

WEAK POINTS

  • No physical button to deactivate the microphone.
  • No wired or Bluetooth connection.
  • Latency in copy mode of more than 2 seconds.
  • Incompatible with Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, etc.
  • Siri lagging behind.
  • Unable to deactivate sound optimization.

CONCLUSION

At the end of this test, we will refrain from all superlatives and other glowing arguments. If the Apple HomePod has undeniable advantages in the fields of audio, design and voice recognition. This is not enough to transform the trial against and against the incompetence of. Siri coupled with a perfectly sealed ecosystem … which is sometimes even frustrating for aficionados of the Apple universe.

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