The HomePod mini, announced Tuesday at Apple’s tech event, is the newest smart speaker out there. It joins refreshed models from the competition, Amazon and Google; the speakers all feature shiny new homes and let you play music, ask questions, and control your smart home and other devices. Like those from Amazon and Google, Apple’s latest device costs around $100.
So, what’s different about the three new speakers? Here’s the latest on which you should use for all your Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant needs.
It wasn’t just iPhones at Tuesday’s Apple event. Apple’s smart speaker, HomePod, went small with a “mini” version that also shrunk its price. At just under $100, it will run you a fraction of the HomePod’s $349 launch price (which eventually dropped to $299).
With an Apple processor and a 360-degree audio experience, the device will play Apple Music (and other apps like Pandora and Amazon Music, but not Spotify) and use Siri to control your connected phones and other smart home controls. There’s a new “Intercom” feature that will connect the mini to the HomePods, Apple Watches, iPads, AirPods, and iPhones in your house, so you can ping your children or others. You can also connect the mini to CarPlay in your car.
The mini is available for pre-order starting Nov. 6, but won’t arrive until Nov. 16. So far, Apple hasn’t shared all the specs on the new, smaller devices, but we do know a few details.
The original HomePod was hefty at 5.5 pounds and pretty big at 6.8 inches tall, but the mini is only 3.3 inches tall and weighs under 1 pound.
Four microphones pick up your voice, even when music or other audio is playing
It’s only available in two colors: white or Space Gray
Google’s smart speaker was always known as the Google Home — until recently, when the Nest Audio arrived. The new look is less rectangular and more modern, but familiar. It still has touch controls on its surface to turn it on and control volume. Plus, it’s cheaper than its bigger predecessor. Google is trying to play up the audio quality, but the Nest Audio is still a basic speaker, better equipped for smart home commands with Google Assistant than high-quality listening sessions.
The Nest Audio is available to order online (and qualifies for free shipping).
For audiophiles: It has a 75 mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter
It’s about two times heavier than the original Home at 2.65 pounds
It comes in several colors: Chalk, Charcoal, Sage, Sand, and Sky
It’s not waterproof, so keep it away from the splash zone
Last month we got the first look at Amazon’s Echo orb, a new design for the company’s flagship smart speaker. The new Alexa device is more compact and faster, with a new processor, so Alexa will react more quickly to your commands. Amazon also claims it has an improved audio experience.
Like the HomePod mini, the new Echo isn’t available until later this month, but you can pre-order it online.
Audio equipment includes a 76.2 mm woofer and two 20 mm tweeters
Color choices are more limited than the Nest Audio with just Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue
It’s another lightweight option at 2.1375 pounds
Previous Echo devices haven’t been waterproof, so don’t expect this one to be