Uh Oh… Apple Inc.'s HomePod Doesn't Have the Best Audio

This could prove costly for some, though, as the company revealed that repairs will cost $279 in the out-of-warranty period or for repairs not related to manufacturing defects. Then, for a solid hour or so, I was fumbling through iTunes and Apple Music on my phone, wishing I could just tell Siri to play my Release Radar playlist on Spotify.

In our ongoing review of the HomePod, we've praised HomePod for the sound quality, which is the measuring stick Apple is using to justify its high price point compared to the Echo and Home speakers. An Apple spokesperson promised us that the functions will be "coming this year in a free software update". But the $349 HomePod was going to be the best speaker.

While the HomePod is undoubtedly a very nice looking and sounding smart speaker, it is still light years behind the competition.

The HomePod's 360-degree tweeter arrangement and advanced spatial awareness allow the speaker to provide all-encompassing audio, regardless of its placement in the room. Not only is Apple's artificial intelligence dumb - a recent test showed she only answered 52 per cent of questions correctly - but her functionality is extremely limited. With the Music app installed, this upsell screen should now load correctly and you can either begin a trial, or skip it by tapping Not Now.

And I haven't even gotten to how bad Siri is!

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But once the teardown experts made their way inside the device, they were impressed with what they found.

The bottom line? Overall the sound of the HomePod was a bit muddy compared with what the Sonos One and Google Home Max delivered. It can't even set two timers, make calls, or check your calendar. It's also easier than the process used on my Sonos One speakers: The Trueplay Tuning requires you to walk around your room as the Sonos app listens to tones from the speakers. Fortune's Don Reisinger noted in his review that the HomePod's sound was better than the Echo and Home, but he conceded that the "sound quality isn't something that can justify its lofty price tag".

In other words, the HomePod truly takes a Beats approach to music. Or stream music from Spotify.

"It won't work with Android at all", he added, noting that Amazon's and Google's devices can. It is the sole instance when you'll be better off repairing a part of the HomePod than buying a brand new spare part.

  • Desiree Holland