Apple just announced an all-new second-generation HomePod, the brand’s take on a full-fledged smart speaker, the HomePod 2, succeeding the HomePod Mini, a smaller smart speaker in the general style of an Amazon Echo.
With the HomePod 2, Apple promised “significantly” improved sound quality and better smart home functionality thanks to some major under-the-hood upgrades, such as support for the Matter smart home standard, among other changes.
Bee Which Hi-Fi?we loved the HomePod Mini and gave it five stars in our review, and while we’ll need to get our hands on a HomePod 2 to tell you details about how it compares to the Mini, we’re here now to take a look at how the two relate to each other, thanks to all the details Apple has already released.
So sit back, relax and buckle up as we tell you all about the differences, on paper, between Apple’s HomePod Mini and the all-new HomePod 2…
Apple HomePod 2 vs HomePod Mini: price
The HomePod Mini retails for £99 / $99 / AU$149, while Apple’s new HomePod will retail for £299 / $299 / AU$479 when it ships on 3 February 2023. Of course, the HomePod Mini is a miniature version of the original, so it only makes sense for the Mini to beat the HomePod 2 in price.
As for the original HomePod, which launched at £319/$349, so the HomePod 2 is aiming for a more aggressive, cheaper price point than its predecessor. Nevertheless, there’s a ton of tech packed into the HomePod 2 that could justify its more expensive price over the cheaper Mini.
But all things considered, if you’re looking for the cheapest HomePod out there, that honor definitely goes to the HomePod Mini.
Apple HomePod 2 vs HomePod Mini: design
Apple’s HomePod 2 looks similar to the original HomePod, but it’s definitely different from the Mini. As the name implies, the biggest difference between the HomePod 2 and the HomePod Mini comes down to size, with the HomePod Mini measuring about half the height of the HomePod 2 and about two-thirds the width, a few millimeters.
As you can see, the Mini is more cylindrical, more spherical, in the vein of an Amazon Echo, while the HomePod 2 has a similar rounded look but is chunkier and more on the cylindrical side of things. The HomePod 2 is much more like a standard smart speaker, although both share the same mesh fabric cover.
Both the HomePod 2 and HomePod Mini are designed to be relatively hands-off, meaning you won’t find old physical buttons anywhere, but instead touchscreens on the top panel that you can tap to play, pause, about skip, go back, activate Siri, or adjust the volume up or down as needed.
Simply put, both the HomePod 2 and HomePod Mini look like sleek, well-made devices with a lot of overlap in terms of design language, while the Mini is the smaller, more bulbous device of the two.
Apple HomePod 2 vs HomePod Mini: Features
In terms of most of the features you’ll want to get out of your HomePod 2 or HomePod Mini, you can do just about anything with either one. Both devices will have no problem streaming music, radio, podcasts and anything else from major services like Apple Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and more. Plus, of course, you can rely on Siri for voice control, news, weather, appointments, and more.
Both the HomePod 2 and HomePod Mini can team up with other HomePods to create a multi-room system or offer stereo sound as well. Bring your iPhone close to either HomePod and you can let it take control of the music you play if you wish. In addition, both come with AirPlay 2 support.
The HomePod Mini, like the HomePod 2, has temperature and humidity sensors that are set up to trigger features like sounding a siren when it detects carbon monoxide or smoke, but those features are reportedly on the way with the HomePod Mini and are coming not yet .
Both the HomePod 2 and HomePod Mini are also getting sound recognition via a software update coming this spring that will let you set up alerts if your HomePod detects a certain sound, such as the sound of a burglary.
The major feature differences between the two boil down to the HomePod 2 bringing Apple’s S7 chipset to Apple Watch Series 7 for the first time, support for spatial audio, and enhanced room sensing technology that can intelligently scan an environment and optimize sound accordingly . You also get Matter integration with the HomePod 2 which seems to potentially open up HomePod to more robust smart home compatibility rather than locking it down to Apple’s ecosystem.
Raw audio performance aside, Apple seems to be aiming to make the Mini and HomePod 2 about the same in terms of features, with a few exceptions. Of course, you’ll have to wait for our official review of the HomePod 2 and our updated thoughts on whatever new features make their way to the HomePod Mini for a thorough, definitive look.
Apple HomePod 2 vs HomePod Mini: Sound quality
As you might expect, before we actually start testing with Apple’s HomePod 2, we can’t tell you too much about how it sounds, but there are certainly a few takeaways from Apple’s press release.
First, Apple claims that HomePod 2 will have “incredible audio quality, with rich, deep bass and stunning highs” thanks to a “custom-made high-excursion woofer, powerful motor that drives the diaphragm a remarkable 20mm, built-in bass- EQ microphone, and [a] beamforming array of five tweeters around the base [that] working together to achieve a powerful acoustic experience.”
Plus, thanks to HomePod 2’s new S7 chip, Apple plans to “offer even more advanced computational audio that maximizes the full potential of its acoustic system for a groundbreaking listening experience.” However, as mentioned above, we’ll all have to wait and see how HomePod 2’s performance measures up to the grandiose claims of Apple’s crack marketing division.
In our original review of the HomePod Mini, we said it had “sophisticated, engaging sound,” while noting that the Mini “packed a lot less punch compared to the full-sized HomePod.” Since the HomePod 2 is positioned as an upgrade over the original HomePod, we’d expect the gap between the HomePod 2 and HomePod Mini to be wider than the gap between the original HomePod and HomePod Mini, but that’s something that has been tested will have to be propagated.
Both the original HomePod and HomePod Mini received spatial and lossless support via software updates post-launch, and while Apple talked about spatial audio on the HomePod 2, the company hasn’t mentioned lossless. Nevertheless, it would be rather odd if the last gen supports that, while the latest kit doesn’t, so we’d expect the same support on HomePod 2.
Anyway, we’ll have to test the spatial and lossless support on HomePod 2 to make sure not only if the support is there, but if it’s any good. All things considered, if sound quality is your top priority on paper, the HomePod 2 is probably the choice.
Apple HomePod 2 vs HomePod Mini: Early Verdict
Essentially, the HomePod Mini will do just about everything the HomePod does in terms of features, with a few exceptions. The major difference between these two parts comes down to the significantly lower price of the Mini and the likely much more robust sound quality of the more expensive HomePod 2.
Testing will tell us more about the HomePod 2’s audio quality, of course, but it’s probably pretty safe to say that if you don’t plan on using a smart speaker to listen to a lot of music and rather because of its smart features, the Mini the well done. And if you plan on using your smart speaker more as a speakerphone, you’ll be better served by spending the extra cash on the HomePod 2.
Check back to this page later for our updated thoughts after testing.
Read our Apple HomePod review
As well as ours Apple HomePod Mini review
The HomePod 2 has no competition – and that’s a problem