To kick off the launch of the new trio of HomePod mini colours, Apple sent over an ‘Orange’ model for me to go hands-on with. Since it’s also my first time using the smart speaker, I thought I’d offer up my initial reaction to it as well.
Right from the start, you can tell what colour your HomePod mini will be by the colour of the box. While the box is a pretty vibrant orange hue, the actual colour of the HomePod is an accurate representation of what the new colour looks like.
Once I pulled the HomePod mini out of its box, I was struck by how squishy it is. It’s not weird by any means, but there’s some subtle give in the fabric that feels pleasant. It’s not quite Nerf levels of squish, but it’s nicer to hold than I expected. The HomePod mini is also about as large as a softball, so amusingly, resisting the urge to give it a toss is a bit of a struggle.
Underneath the HomePod is a pale orange fabric cable that feels as high-quality as the new MagSafe charger that comes with the new MacBook Pro (2021). Apple has also thankfully included a 20-watt USB-C power adapter in the box.
Once I got the HomePod mini set up on my shelf, I couldn’t get over how much it looked like a tiny decorative pumpkin. I’m sure some people will love this, but it’s something to consider if you go with the new Orange model. For example, I go back and forth on if this colour is for me. I like how rich and unique it is on my shelf, but now that Halloween is over, I wonder if other people will see it in my house out of the corner of their eye and think I still have a pumpkin on display.
Beyond the colour — which is subjective — I will say that the HomePod mini’s sound capabilities punched far above its weight class. While I was expecting something a little better than a Nest mini or an Echo Dot, I was instead greeted with an enjoyable room-filling sound that maintained balance and is capable of getting much louder than I expected.
The HomePod mini’s sound isn’t bombastic, but it offers abundant bass kick, and even at medium volume, it fills my small home office with sound. The Nest Audio and the latest Amazon Echo still sound better, but the HomePod mini puts up more of a fight than it has any right to given its size.
Having a smart speaker with Siri has been nice, too. Up until now, my smart home has been set up with Google Home to make it accessible through a wide variety of smart speakers throughout my apartment.
Lately, however, I’ve been using an iPhone, so Apple’s Home app is more convenient since I can then use Adaptive Lighting, Control Centre shortcuts and Siri voice controls on my Apple Watch or Mac as well. It’s a pretty seamless system that makes a good case for trying to align your tech under a single brand.
Also, listening to music on my phone with earbuds, walking inside my house, and tapping my phone on the HomePod to Handoff music is a very cool feature that I wish Sonos and other speakers could also take advantage of.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the HomePod mini’s sound, and I’m glad that Apple has decided to release it in new colours to help more people work the small speaker into their home’s decor.
If you want to order the new HomePod mini in either ‘Blue,’ ‘Yellow’ or ‘Orange,’ you can buy it at Best Buy or the Apple Store for $129. For more on the HomePod mini, check out Patrick O’Rourke’s full review of the smart speaker.
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