HomePod review: My first week with Apple HomePodBrian Tong digs into the nuances of the Apple HomePod, which sounds great -- but there's more to a smart speaker than just sound.
[MUSIC] What's up, guys and girls? This is our Apple Byte HomePod review. We've had it for about, I would say five or six days straight. And I really wanted to dig in to a lot of the things that some people aren't even talking about. And again this is the home pod. It's Apple's $349 smart speaker. But they shouldn't even call it that. I really feel like they should just call it the Apple Music Speaker. And we'll get into all that. But this isn't about bashing the home pod by really finding out What the home pod can do, what it can't do and who is this really for? So let's start off with the sound everyone is raving about the sound on this thing and for its size, it's real impressive, there's great mids and there's deep lows that really stand out. It can kind of lose some of the highs and some details and voices, at least when I heard it, that's compared to some other speakers that are out there but it really comes down also to the genre of music you listed to as well, but for me I like it a lot, like a whole lot. Also the other thing that sticks out is the sound is 360 degrees and it's a Room filling 360 degrees sound. There is other speakers that have big great sound but they are only shooting that sound from the front so if you you walked the side of the speaker or behind them they are gonna sound completely different but that's not the case with the home pod. The engineering they did all these years they spent to make this the best speaker at this size really is an accomplishment and. Impressive. And honestly, it better be for $349. So there's no denying this HomePod sounds amazing, but this is also the most walled off Apple product we've ever seen. So let's start off with Bluetooth. There is no No bluetooth streaming at all. Now that instantly eliminates every android phone and non-iPhone user from playing directly to the home pod from their phone. So if you don't own an iPhone running ios 11, you can't even, Even set up the home pod, so some of you running older iPhones, I know some of you don't want to update to iOS 11, and I don't blame you. It won't even work for you. And this is when people say, this isn't a product made for non-Apple users, I think that's a load of crap, like why not? Apple allows the airpods to work with Android, if they have some less functionality. The Apple Music service works for just Android users, and this is a speaker with Apple Music. It only supports that service natively, so come on, they could have done something more. It has bluetooth 5.0, and completely blocking non iPhone users. That's a classic Apple **** move to me. And don't think for one moment Apple was gonna include a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on the HomePod either because, guess what? They didn't. All right, you know you can't stream third party apps from your phone like Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube music over air play to the HomePod, that's if you have an iPhone But Apple music is the only service that you can control with you voice on the HomePod. And at the time of this review, AirPlay2, that's still not ready which means the promise of using two HomePods for stereo sound or even doing things like multi room speaker support, that's still not available and there's another feature where they are trailing the rest of the industry. Okay, so one of the kind of weird things about this when you set up the HomePod, you have to hold your phone near it and it suppose to pair similar to how AirPods due by detecting and using the W1 chip. Unfortunately, that process hasn't been easy sailing for everyone. Some people got blank white screens with the setup. I had to reset my phone, even reset the HomePod just to make sure that prompt shows up. So, you might find Find that a little difficult. Also Android users with an Apple music subscription. Now, if you invest in this and you are an Android user, you can actually use the Home Pad but it still needs an iPhone. With iOS 11, you need to know someone who has that to initially set it up. So once it's set up, you can change the account in the home pod settings from an Apple ID to an Android Apple music one. You can go in there, change the credentials completely. But at first, none of my personally created playlists. Work on it at all, this is from my Android phone and I would say things it wouldn't pop up so what did I do, I'm like okay, let's reconnect the Apple ID account. There all the playlist I have on my phone that I've saved in the cloud work perfectly. I went back to putting my Android, Apple missing account and then it worked. So I just wanna let you know there might be some difficulty doing that but bottom line, It does work for Android users. Apple Music does actually work. Again, sound is really Apple's first priority. They clearly nailed it. But let's talk about this as a smart speaker. Now after using it and putting it through everything I possibly could I'm gonna just say this right now. It's probably the dumbest speaker with an AI that you can get. And I don't say that lightly. And also let's breakdown some of these reasons so you understand what I'm trying to say. Now everyone knows it's ridiculously behind Amazon Echo and the Google Home. But Siri on the HomePod can't even do the same things that Siri does on your phone. Now we know this HomePod does messages, notes and reminders. You can add a note by voice if you want to but the HomePod won't read you your latest note. It will actually prompt you to look at it on your phone. Hey, Siri, read my last note. You'll need to authenticate on iPhone to continue. See, that's kind of annoying. We also know the HomePod doesn't support multiple users and can't distinguish between different voices like the competition. It's really made to support one person right now. And what do I mean by that? Well, you probably saw the option during set up to turn on personal requests. This lets you use messages, reminders and notes with the HomePod It also lets anyone else in the room do that as well. Now, someone can send and hear your messages, add reminders and notes without your knowledge whatsoever. But if you leave the home or if you're out of range of homepod and your phone leaves with you, messages, notes and reminders, they don't work at all. The homepod just becomes this thing for general knowledge and music playing to Apple Music. And it can't even do general knowledge very well. Hey, Siri, tell me about Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee is a town in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. Hey, Siri, stop. No No, it's not. He's not. So see, check that out. If you're at home people can mess around with some of your personal apps but when you're gone the home pod because really extremely limited. Now speakerphone. You would think at least the home pod could at least be a great speakerphone but again it's not. You'll still have to make the call from your phone and then changed the audio output to the home pod from your screen. Now you can't tell the home pod something like this, hey Siri, call Shana. I can't help you make calls on HomePod, sorry about that. See that doesn't work as well. Now another part of this equation, it's a smart speaker, it's great in the kitchen, right? You can listen to music when you're cooking up a meal but still to this day, Siri doesn't support multiple timers. If you're cooking up something in the oven or you got something else boiling and other thing's just cooking, you need multiple timers like, this is basic. So let's check this out. Hey Siri, set a timer for ten minutes. Ten minutes and counting. Okay, let's do another one. Hey Siri, set a timer for 30 minutes. The timer is already running at nine minutes and 53 seconds. Would you like to replace it? No. Okay. It can't do it, all right so that's another bummer and here's a fun fact for you all it's not all bad if you wanna pack this up and the cord is in the way. If you're really willing to pull really hard, You can just pop the power cable out from the HomePod. So, will the HomePod get better? Yes, it has really not other choice to. But right now, who is this for? Well, number one, if you're the die hard Apple user who's deep into this ecosystem, you have an Apple Music subscription, and you only really care about listening to music, and you don't care About the smart home but say you might want to dabble with some lights and you're willing to spend 349? This is the product for you but the priority of all things would be listening to music. Number two, let's say if you're not completely married to the apple ecosystem you care about what the best tech product is no matter what the company is, don't get a home pod. Number three If you're someone who's prioritizing the Smart Home the voice assistant and you like the ability to listen to music. But it's just like kind of an added benefit, you're better off looking at the Echo, or the Google Home, or the Sonos One. The [UNKNOWN] 349, this is not for you. Number four, if you're an Android phone user, even if you have an Apple music subscription I'm going to help you out right now by giving you a big Hell No to the Homepod. Like this is not for you. So that's my Apple Homepod review. This is just a start. We'll see how it evolves over time. There you go. B-Teezy's Apple Byte Homepod. Take care. Peace. [MUSIC]