HomePod 2, great sound quality and more smart features from the first reviews

HomePod 2, great sound quality and more smart features from the first reviews. A few days after the arrival of the HomePod 2 in the homes of users who have placed pre-orders, here are the first reviews on the new Apple speaker.

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Priced at €349, the new HomePod features a virtually identical design to the first model that Apple stopped selling in March 2021, but with two fewer tweeters and microphones. The Siri-powered speaker also features a four-inch high-excursion woofer, an S7 chip for computational audio, and a U1 chip for streaming music from an iPhone. The speaker supports Matter for smart home accessories and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.

A new sensor can measure temperature and humidity indoors, and this feature has also been enabled on the HomePod mini with recent software. Sound recognition will come to the new HomePod in an update expected this spring, allowing the speaker to listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send a notification to the user’s iPhone if that particular sound is identified.

Chris Welch of The Verge said that the sound quality is very similar to that of the original HomePod:

After several days of listening to the new HomePod (both solo and as a stereo pair), I still think its sonic signature remains true to the original HomePod. If you were a fan of that speaker, you’ll be satisfied with the second generation version. Sure, you can hear subtle differences in how music plays when comparing both generations side-by-side with the same track. The new HomePod may bring out a guitar solo with slightly more emphasis than the original. But the important traits are the same.

Nicole Nguyen of The Wall Street Journal also said that the new HomePod sounds like the original:

The updated HomePod looks and sounds a lot like its predecessor. I tested the new HomePod, as a single unit and as a stereo pair, in a roughly 370-square-foot room. For most tracks, holding the volume at 30% was enough to fill the space.

If you look at the spec sheets comparing the old and new HomePods, you might have some misgivings. The new one has a fast processor but fewer built-in microphones and speakers, and supports an older Wi-Fi standard. But live, the new HomePod sounds and behaves like the original.

Pocket-lint’s Britta O’Boyle was also impressed with the sound quality of the new HomePod:

In terms of hardware, there are five tweeters, a “high-excursion woofer” capable of moving a whopping 20mm, and a quad microphone array. It’s a slightly different setup from the original HomePod, which had seven tweeters, but the performance is equally excellent. Make no mistake, the 2nd Generation HomePod sounds fantastic.

In the midrange, you get detailed, crisp, crystal clear vocals, but the HomePod also packs plenty of bass. It’s deep for its size, while still offering expression and strength. It doesn’t offer as much bass as the Sonos Five – which is a bigger, more expensive speaker – and the HomePod is probably a little more muddy in the midrange when playing songs like Rumble by Skrillex than the Five, but it’s still very impressive. overall – and this is still a pretty tricky track to keep up with. You can reduce the bass in the Home app, although we didn’t find it necessary.

Engadget’s Billy Steele said that while Siri had several flaws when the original HomePod was released in 2018, the voice assistant has gotten better over the years. He also said that the new HomePod’s two fewer microphones than the original didn’t affect Siri’s ability to pick up her voice, even in a noisy room:

When we reviewed the original HomePod in 2018, one of our biggest complaints was about Siri’s limited capabilities. Sure the speaker sounded good, but the voice assistant’s shortcomings made it feel like a work in progress. Apple has done a lot to improve Siri over the past five years, so many of these problems have been fixed.

First, the HomePod, like Siri on your iPhone, can recognize multiple users. Personal requests can allow him to take a look at your calendar, notes, reminders, messages, Find My and more. Plus, HomePod can give each member of your family (up to six people) their own unique responses from select iPhone apps. Plus, Siri can create recurring home automations without you having to pick up your phone and scroll to the appropriate app.

Even with fewer microphones to pick up your voice, the new HomePod suffers no performance degradation and is as capable as ever of picking up your voice even in a noisy room.

MobileSyrup’s Dean Daley was impressed by Spatial Audio on the new HomePod:

A great song to test spatial audio is also one of my favorite tracks, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. It sounds decent at first, but as you progress through the song, the 2nd Generation HomePod takes it to another level, perfectly utilizing the surround sound and spatial audio of Dolby Atmos with harmonies and melodies to create an epic concert in the internal space. This was definitely my favorite song that I tried and had several friends listen to.

Jacob Krol of TheStreet talked about the new HomePod’s larger backlit touch surface:

The most significant design change is at the top and involves the screen. While not really new information is shown, and the dream of a HomePod with a real display seems to be just a dream, the top surface is larger. It gives extra control by tapping to play or pause, and it’s brighter too.

Instead of having volume controls available only after a touch like on the original HomePod, the “+” and “-” are now etched into this backlit touch surface making it easier to adjust volume on the fly. When playing music, the top of the HomePod will light up in colors reminiscent of the album art you’re listening to, and when you communicate with Siri it will light up in all the colors you’d expect.

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