After discontinuing the HomePod First Generation in March of 2021, there has been little word on what the future of the HomePod might look like. The HomePod Mini has remained available for purchase since its 2020 introduction, but there was little word on a new base model HomePod for almost two years… until January 18th, 2023, when Apple announced the HomePod Second Generation. However, how do the two available HomePod models compare? What does the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini debate look like? Let’s take a deep dive.
HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini: Side-By-Side Comparison:
|2nd Gen. HomePod||HomePod Mini|
|First Released||February 3rd, 2023||November 16th, 2020|
|Size||5.6 in. x 6.6 in.||3.9 in. x 3.3 in.|
|Weight||5.16 lbs||0.76 lbs|
|Color||White; Midnight||White; Yellow; Orange; Blue; Space Gray|
|Dolby Atmos?||Yes (with Spatial Audio)||No|
|Speakers||Five tweeters||One full-range driver and two passive radiators|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Sensors||Sound Recognition; Temperature and Humidity||Temperature and Humidity|
HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini: 6 Key Differences
So, we’ve outlined all the basic specs of the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini. However, what does it all mean? What makes one spec better than the other? Let’s take a closer look at six key differences between the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini, paying close attention to things like price, size, weight, and more.
Firstly, there’s the price. The HomePod Second Generation and HomePod Mini are representative of two very different kinds of smart speakers. Both are on the higher, larger end of the market compared to some of the smaller and more affordable rival products from Amazon and the like. However, there’s also a big price difference between the two models. The HomePod Second Generation has an MSRP of $299. The HomePod Mini, by comparison, is less than a third of that price. It currently retails for an MSRP of just $99.
Size and Weight
Given their drastic price difference, it makes sense that the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini would have just as drastic a difference in size and weight. The HomePod Second Generation is cylindrical in shape and measures 5.6 inches in diameter and 6.6 inches tall. It weighs 5.16 pounds. Comparatively, the HomePod Mini is circular in shape and measures 3.9 inches in diameter. It’s 3.3 inches tall and weighs just 0.76 pounds. After all, they don’t call this little HomePod “Mini” for nothing.
While less important than some of these other specs — such as sound or speaker quality — there is nevertheless a difference in color options worth mentioning. The HomePod Second Generation and HomePod Mini have a slew of color choices for users to pick from at checkout. For the HomePod Second Generation, these color combinations are limited to only two: White and Midnight. For the HomePod Mini, there are a number of additional colors to choose from, including White, Yellow, Orange, Blue, and Space Gray.
Fourthly, we should break down the difference in sound quality between the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini. To do so, let’s focus on a couple of key standards: Dolby Atmos support and Spatial Audio. The HomePod Second Generation has both, offering Dolby Atmos-quality sound with Spatial Audio technology for even better sound quality. The HomePod Mini has neither. This could be credited to any one of several things, from the device’s age to its size to its price. At the end of the day, though, the HomePod Second Generation wins this round.
Number of Speakers
Coinciding with our discussion of sound quality, let’s examine the total number of speakers in both the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini. The HomePod Second Generation, while equipped with fewer speakers than the HomePod First Generation, still comes with five tweeters inside. The HomePod Mini, on the other hand, has zero tweeters. Instead, it is equipped with one full-range driver and two supplemental passive radiators for boosted volume levels and sound quality. Again, this lack could be because of its size or its price (or both).
Upon the release of the Apple HomePod First Generation back in 2018, critics and consumers alike praised the impressive tech on the inside of the speaker. This trend has continued with the HomePod Second Generation and HomePod Mini, both of which come fully loaded with special sensors and sound tech. The HomePod Second Generation boasts Sound Recognition and Temperature and Humidity sensors, which listen for emergency alarms and monitor the weather. The Mini also has this Temperature and Humidity sensor, but no Sound Recognition sensor.
The Origin of the HomePod Second Generation
When the HomePod was released in 2018, it was met with a lot less positive reception than Apple might’ve hoped. In just over three years since its launch, the HomePod First Generation was quietly and officially discontinued. That was March of 2021. Strangely enough, not as many people noticed as you would think. This is just a testament to the uncertain reception the poor HomePod First Generation received at the time. It goes without saying that this Apple product was a disappointment, even though it held around 70% of the smart speaker market over $200.
From 2021 to 2023, there was no word on whether or not the HomePod base model would ever return. Sure, the HomePod Mini continued to thrive — more on that later — but what about the flagship product? Was Apple’s smart speaker headed in the same direction as the MacBook base model? After a long wait, Apple surprised announced a new and improved HomePod on January 18th, 2023. With this announcement, the Apple smart speaker was officially alive and well in the form of the HomePod Second Generation.
Set for release on February 3rd of 2023, the second iteration of the flagship base model HomePod will be priced a good $50 lower than the HomePod First Generation debuted at. That’s not the only change, either. The new and improved HomePod drops two tweeters from the first iteration, bringing the number down to five. However, it adds a smarter internal chip and more intelligent sensors to improve overall sound quality despite boasting fewer speakers. Plus, important for those critics of the first model, the HomePod Second Generation offers plenty of third-party options.
History of the HomePod Mini
The Apple HomePod First Generation’s life cycle was much shorter than the tech giant had hoped. Between February 2018 and March 2021, the first-of-its-kind Apple smart speaker had come and gone with barely a whimper. Critics and users agreed that the quality of the sound was good enough, but few were able to get behind its $349 price tag. Same for its firm stance against third-party support and special third-party features, which were two more heavy blows for a product that couldn’t take much more. In its first six months, the HomePod sold less than 3 million units in all.
After this misstep, Apple’s first thought was to go tiny. In other words, the idea was to simply make a littler, more affordable version of the HomePod First Generation. The problem was finding a way to do this without losing any of the highly praised sound quality of the HomePod. (As we know, it was probably the most popular aspect of the ultimately discontinued device.) After lots of time spent tinkering, the HomePod Mini was officially announced. The HomePod Mini hit shelves in November of 2020, and that’s where it has stayed ever since.
HomePod Mini sales blew the HomePod First Generation out of the water. Instead of taking nearly a year to hit six million units sold, the HomePod Mini took less than six months. As a matter of fact, the HomePod Mini sold more units than the HomePod First Generation sold in its inaugural year in just one quarter. Whether it be the HomePod Mini’s range of color options, its significantly lower price, its small circular design, or its great sound quality, the HomePod Mini was a hit in a way that the HomePod First Generation never was.
HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini: Pros and Cons
|Pros of 2nd Gen. HomePod||Cons of 2nd Gen. HomePod|
|Better sound than the HomePod Mini||More expensive than the HomePod Mini|
|More speakers than the HomePod Mini||Fewer colors to choose from|
|Includes Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos||Has a somewhat controversial reputation after the 1st. Gen’s discontinuation|
|More sensors inside for a better user experience||Very big and heavy|
|Pros of HomePod Mini||Cons of HomePod Mini|
|More affordable than the HomePod 1st Gen.||More expensive than comparable devices from Amazon and Google|
|Comes in a variety of colors||Fewer speakers than the HomePod 2nd Gen.|
|Stereo pairing available||No Dolby Atmos or Spatial Audio support|
|Four microphones inside||Fewer sensors inside|
HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini: 5 Must-Know Facts
- With the release of the HomePod First Generation in 2018, Apple soon held 5.9% of the smart speaker market. With the release of the HomePod Mini in 2020, that number jumped to 10.2%. However, Amazon and Google combined hold nearly 50% of that same market.
- The HomePod can be used as an intercom to communicate with others throughout your home (so long as there’s a HomePod in that room).
- Two HomePods (or HomePod Minis) can be placed on either side of a television or audio setup to create left and right surround sound channels.
- The HomePod First Generation lacked the ability to recognize individual voices. However, the HomePod Mini introduced this new feature to support up to six unique profiles.
- Apple prioritizes security with the HomePod, easily dismissing the kind of complaints associated with other smart speakers. All data is stored in such a way that Apple cannot read or access it, and all identifiers are removed from data as an added security measure.
HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini: Which Is Best?
The debate over the HomePod Second Generation vs. HomePod Mini really boils down to what kind of smart speaker you’re in the market for. Do you want something big and bold, in line with a smart hub? Or, are you looking for something small and inconspicuous that still delivers good sound? Alas, if a choice had to be made, then it would have to go to the HomePod Second Generation. It has more speakers, smarter tech, greater volume, and countless other advantages over the HomePod Mini. However, both are great smart speaker options when the budget isn’t an issue.