Why I bought a second HomePod

I’ve been loving having a quality audio experience in my home office, as I wrote about before but the more I used it the more I loved having it in the office.

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The issue I had is that I took it from the kitchen where the whole family could enjoy it. We had gotten used to calling on Siri to play our favourites and having already taken the Sonos out of action didn’t have a replacement.

I had a Sonos Play:1 and the thought of having to use it again after getting used to using Siri filled me with dread. The Sonos app is slow and being only able to call up songs via it rather than voice was annoying. After getting used to the HomePod and using either Siri or AirPlay without having to log on anywhere was a breeze.

I decided that we should get a second, but justifying over £300 for a second one needed me to be a little creative.

I decided to pick up a second one used so I traded in my Sonos Play:1, a couple of old iPhones and a couple of PS4 games I’m not playing. End result a shiny new (and still wrapped in plastic) HomePod for £5 after my trade with CEX.

At the moment I have them as a stereo pair to test (it sounds amazing) and then I’ll be moving the space grey one up to it’s place in the kitchen and leave the white one in the office.

Pairing two HomePods

With iOS 11.4 Apple have enabled AirPlay 2 and the ability to pair two HomePods to create multi-room or stereo pairing two of them together. I’m currently strategising on how I can pick up another one (selling Sonos and some old gadgets to fund it) but here is Jason Snells take on the update.

Should you buy Apple Care + for the HomePod?

With any Apple purchase I have to have that internal dialogue of “Do I really need Apple Care +?”. On something like an iPad Pro or iPhone X the answer is an obvious YES but on a device that lives at home what should you do?

I chose YES and I feel that if like me you fit this criteria then it’ll be a yes also

  • Do you intend to move it around your home?, I’ll be moving it between my office and kitchen
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have pets?

If you answer yes to any of these then I feel that Apple Care + is a must buy. Especially when Apple are charging over £250 for a replacement.

Is SIRI any good on the HomePod?

I’m in a love hate relationship with SIRI. Up until I got the HomePod I’d all but stopped using it on my iPhone, frustrated at the limitations and lack of seemingly being able to understand me. It was another story in the car though, with CarPlay I was using it all the time to get traffic, play music and deal with my messages. It was like it had a split personality.

Roll onto February 2018 and with the release of HomePod I’ve been pretty impressed with how well it’s been working for me.

First off the microphones in the HomePod are crazy good. I can pretty much talk as quietly as possible (like talking to someone next to me) and I’m picked up. I can even be in another room and I’ll be listened to perfectly.

My uses so far

  • What’s the weather like?
  • How’s the weather looking tomorrow?
  • Set a timer for X minutes
  • Play me some music
  • Remind me to…

Where I’m limited so far

  • What’s on my calendar tomorrow?
  • What’s my next appointment?

So, it has some limitations but the good news is these can be fixed in software. The hardware is solid and I’m totally happy with it.

So, in a nutshell

  • Microphones are amazing
  • SIRI has me covered for the basics
  • I’m hoping for more abilities via software, expecting this to be in September with the release of iOS 12

Apple HomePod initial thoughts

I’ve been using a Sonos Play 1 in my office for a year or so and when HomePod was launched I’d written it off. I was skeptical that it would sound better and be a useful piece of technology to bring into my life.

I know in this day and age you aren’t allowed to change your mind on ANYTHING but in reality you do change opinions and I did on the HomePod.

I tried one in store but was curious to test at home because the stores are so noisy. I decided to get one in to “review” with a view to return within the 15 days.

Well I’m pleased to report it won’t be going back, it’s settled in our kitchen and has turned out to be very useful.

First off it sounds great, the Sonos sounds muddy and bass heavy in comparison. The HomePod provides clarity to the music I’ve not heard before and really does live up to the hype.

Siri has been a mixed bag but on the whole fine for my uses. Setting a timer (you can currently only have one), asking about the weather and controlling music has all been great.

So I’m only a couple of days in at this point but so far I’m sold. Trying not to think about getting another one for the office…