I Tested The New Apple HomePod. Here Are My Thoughts

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) was released in Malaysia this month. Should you get it?

Cover image via Sukhbir Cheema (SAYS)

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Apple recently released the HomePod (2nd generation) in Malaysia, 14 months after the second-generation speaker was released in the US

The second generation of HomePod speakers was launched on 10 May in Malaysia, arriving with a mix of familiar design and enhanced features. The first-generation HomePod was released in 2018 to mixed reviews.

I recently got my hands on the new Apple HomePod, and here's my honest take on the speakers.

For starters, while Apple has certainly heeded user feedback, there are still several teething issues that we hope can be sorted out when the third generation rolls out.

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation).

Image via Sukhbir Cheema (SAYS)

The first thing speaker enthusiasts would notice is the exterior design of the HomePod (2nd generation), which bears a lot of resemblance to the first generation

However, upon closer inspection, one would notice that the new version is slightly thicker, maintaining the sleek and modern aesthetic Apple is known for.

For the second generation's colour, Apple has omitted the previous version's Space Grey colour and replaced it with a new colour, Midnight.

Speaker lovers also have the option to purchase the latest HomePod in White as well.

The circular display at the top of the HomePod (2nd generation) has also been improved. The display circle now covers the entire top surface and is larger, making it more visually appealing and easier to interact with.

But what would get many excited is the fact that the power cable is now detachable, offering greater convenience for users who need to move the device around or replace the cable.

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation)'s power cable can be detached.

Image via Sukhbir Cheema (SAYS)

While the exterior updates might not appear significant, the biggest change takes place under the hood of the Apple HomePod (2nd generation)

Based on our tests, the HomePod continues to excel in audio performance, despite some internal changes.

For the HomePod (2nd generation), Apple has removed two tweeters and two microphones. Yet, the speaker still delivers sound quality comparable to, if not better than, the first generation.

This is largely thanks to the speaker's computational audio, which adjusts the sound output based on the speaker’s proximity to walls. In other words, the speaker ensures optimal audio performance in any room layout.

Another standout feature is the Dolby Atmos speaker, which enhances the immersive audio experience, making it an excellent choice for home theatre setups, especially in smaller living spaces. For those who are curious, yes, you can pair the speakers with a second HomePod, giving you added oomph to your movie nights at home.

Now, while Apple removed two tweeters and two microphones, it compensated the HomePod (2nd generation) with two new sensors, one for temperature and another for humidity, enhancing the speaker's functionality.

These sensors can send alerts to your iPhone in case of an emergency, such as a sudden rise in temperature or humidity while you’re away from home. This feature adds a layer of safety and peace of mind for homeowners.

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) makes for a decent home theatre setup.

Image via Sukhbir Cheema (SAYS)

Despite its many strengths, the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is not without its drawbacks — design, price and connectivity limitations being the most glaring ones

I had to borrow a friend's iPhone just to test out the HomePod (2nd generation), which was really unfortunate as it's a good speaker. This means that if you're looking to purchase the HomePod, you need to have an iPhone or an Apple device with AirPlay.

This restricts its usability to Apple’s ecosystem, excluding those who use other brands. Moreover, the HomePod can't function as a pure Bluetooth speaker, which would have increased its versatility and appeal.

Another issue is the hefty price tag of RM1,549, making the HomePod 2 very much a premium product. However, Apple has also released the HomePod mini, priced at RM529 for those under a budget and looking for more colour variations.

Lastly, the lack of a screen to display information is a missed opportunity. A screen could provide users with useful visuals, such as song lyrics, weather updates, or notifications, enhancing the overall user experience and appeal of the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). There were many moments when I had to check the iPhone to see what song was playing.

That said, the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is a solid choice for those deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem, offering superior audio quality and smart home integration

Its new sensors and computational audio technology provide practical benefits and exceptional sound performance.

However, its high price, limited compatibility, and absence of a display may deter some potential buyers.

For those willing to invest in a premium smart speaker and navigate Apple's ecosystem limitations, the HomePod (2nd generation) remains a compelling option.

The Apple HomePod (2nd generation) is currently available for purchase at all official and partner Apple Stores, as well as online.

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