Apple Homepod and UE Boom

It’s all new with a bit hype and every review says it sounds great. So here’s my review of the Apple Homepod speaker. Background: I wanted a home speaker mainly for the internet radio streaming for little while now and following the hype got one. Little did I know, I should have actually Not read the reviews and actually hear it for myself.

In terms of looks the Apple Homepod looks good but resembles the Sony LFS5OG speaker without the clock. It is not the first time Apple have copied Sony’s designs BTW. Unfortunately it does’t look that good or expensive no matter how much I wanted to like $500 AUD worth of speaker. The $150 UE Boom’s build and materials is just as good for example.  I’m putting this up as more information for potential buyers and a warning – you really need to try the Homepod before buying.

In terms of use the Homepod is pretty good because it doesn’t do much. You can only use an iPhone with it and only if you have a Apple Music subscription. This was in the fine print which was poor showing by Apple. I don’t so it’s very limited in term of daily use. Siri is integrated so works well as Siri which is just passable and it is limited to music so asking the wether won’t work at least with the version of software.

The UE Boom speakers works with any Bluetooth capable phone and has it’s own app you can download. Some models come with Siri, Google Home and even Alexa virtual assistance integrated. That makes it great value if that’s what you’re into. The Boom2 also has a AUX socket you can also plug it into your computer or connect it via Bluetooth or USB!

In terms of sound quality the Apple Homepod does sound good but to it is disappointing no matter how much I tried to like it and how fantastic the marketing material say it is. The sound has barely any music separation every blogger and review writes about. There are bass frequencies are exaggerated but it’s not tight and depends on where you put it. However it is pretty loud for it’s size which is nice. You also need a table as the sound is directional vertically. Musical instruments honestly don’t sound immediate or real and voices indistinct. Joshua Kadison sounds exactly like Elton John for example.

The UE Boom2 sounds just as good but different. The sound is clear and quite loud but most of all just as 360 degree even when facing vertically horizontally. However there is a sweet spot like the Homepod. The bass is sufficient and reasonably distinct rather than overly boosted so no complaints given the relatively small size. The sound quality seems focused on clarity than fuzziness. The equaliser settings can make them sound quite different. Overall it’s a different sound to the Homepod.

The main problems with the Apple Homepod is promoted sound quality than reality despite it’s advanced sound processing software, if you stand up it sounds different and not better furthermore if you have two or more people moving around the speaker it warbles. However the sound quality is pretty good for such a small speaker and if your standing or sitting in one spot. The sound quality overall focuses on quality fuzziness rather than clarity. The more I think about it the secret to the  the Apple Homepod sound quality and getting good reviews is that uses the Loudness setting as the default equaliser setting!

Overall the Apple Homepod is a shopping centre style speaker for the home and only if you have an iPhone and it is expensive for such a limited device. However it sounds great for what it is. However if really want a wireless speaker try the UE Boom or Boom 2 portable speaker (for example) as it looks and sounds almost as good and with 360′ sound although with a lower level of bass. But it  will work with any smartphone or music streaming website, completely portable, able to chain multiple speakers, water proof and has Siri, Google Home or Alexa built in. The UE Boom2 even sounds almost as good with the ends pointing at you! If you more bass and volume you can for the Megaboom version and if you want the UE Boom2 to sound like a Homepod simply adjust equaliser settings.

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