Here’s how HomePod 2 compares to the original and HomePod mini

2 weeks ago 33

In a surprise launch, Apple revived its full-size HomePod with a second-generation model. While the overall design and many of the features remain the same as the discontinued original, there are new capabilities and changes. Here’s our full HomePod comparison for a look at HomePod 2 vs the original vs HomePod mini too.

Background

Apple launched the original HomePod back in 2018 at a premium price above competitors at $349. Just over a year later, Apple cut the price to $299. Then the HomePod mini arrived in the fall of 2020 with a more mass-market-focused $99 price before Apple abruptly discontinued the full-size HomePod in March of 2021.

While many felt the original HomePod was priced too high, it offered features HomePod mini doesn’t match like richer, louder sound, strong bass, Dolby Atmos support, beamforming, and room sensing.

Now the full-size HomePod has sprung back to life with the second-gen model arriving with Thread/Matter support, a temperature/humidity sensor, updated Apple Silicon chips, and a very minor tweak to the design.

HomePod comparison: New vs original vs mini

Audio tech and features

HomePod comparison

For the main audio features of the HomePod 2, there’s not much different from the original HomePod (the majority of differences are with smart features, connectivity, and sensors).

The only difference mentioned by Apple is the computational audio is now “advanced” with system sensing for real-time tuning while the original HomePod and HomePod mini have the original computational audio for real-time tuning.

But it’s great to see Spatial Audio/Dolby Atmos is back with the HomePod 2 since the mini doesn’t offer that.

HomePod 2 HomePod 1 HomePod mini
Spatial Audio Dolby Atmos
Room sensing
Beamforming
Stereo pairing (only w/ same speaker and gen)
Real-time tuning Advanced computational audio with system sensing for real-time tuning Computational audio for real-time tuning Computational audio for real-time tuning
Multiroom AirPlay audio
Home theater with Apple TV 4K ✅ but no Atmos
Auto bass correction

One important caveat is that if you want to use HomePods in a stereo pair, they’ll need to be the same type and generation.

PSA: HomePod stereo pairs won’t work between first and second-gen speakers

Smart home, sensors, connectivity

Here’s where HomePod 2 starts to stand out from the original. The new full-size smart speaker gets Thread/Matter support, an S7 chip plus U1 for improved iPhone handoffs, plus a temperature/humidity sensor like the HomePod mini.

HomePod 2 and HomePod mini are also getting Sound Recognition like iPhone – which is expected to arrive sometime this spring.

HomePod mini software update will activate hidden sensor and Sound Recognition feature
HomePod 2 HomePod 1 HomePod mini
HomeKit + Siri
Thread/Matter
WiFi 802.11n 802.11ac 802.11n
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0
U1 chip
Apple Silicon S7 A8 S5
Sound recognition ✅ (likely this spring) ✅ (likely this spring)
Temperature and humidity sensor
Intercom

The touch panel on top of the HomePod 2 appears to be similar to the original but is now slightly recessed like the HomePod mini. The touch surface also appears to illuminate entirely like the mini.

Strangely, Apple downgraded the WiFi chip from 802.11ac to 802.11n. Maybe it’s thinking Thread will be carrying more weight and it could be tied to the switch from A-series to S-series Apple Silicon.

Apple also skips the upgrade to Bluetooth 5.3 on the new HomePod – however, that’s really just used for the setup, not music playback.

Notably, more new features are coming to all HomePods with the upcoming 16.3 release:

HomePod software 16.3 adds updated volume controls for original HomePod, new Siri features, more

Speakers and mics

HomePod comparison speakers and micsHomePod 2 internals via Apple

There are some interesting tweaks when it comes to the speakers and mics. First, Apple hints the high-excursion woofer is bigger. The new HomePod has a 4-inch woofer while the size of the original wasn’t disclosed by Apple.

Other changes see the 7-array tweeter of the original simplified to 5 for HomePod, and the far-field mics are also reduced from 6 to 4.

HomePod 2 HomePod 1 HomePod mini
Woofer 4-inch high-excursion woofer High-excursion woofer
Speakers 5-array horn-loaded tweeters 7-array horn-loaded tweeters Full-range driver and dual passive radiators
Far-field mics 4 6 4

Apple must be confident it has achieved the same or better sound quality, output, and input as the original HomePod with fewer tweeters and mics. It describes the HomePod 2 as offering “immersive, high-fidelity audio.”

Here’s how Apple describes the new HomePod 2 woofer:

“A high‑excursion woofer packs HomePod with deep, rich bass. Its powerful motor drives the diaphragm a remarkable 20 mm, while its bass‑EQ mic dynamically tunes low frequencies in real time. Superclean bass. Fills the room. Boom.”

And on the new tweeter setup:

“HomePod has an array of five beamforming tweeters around its base. They optimize high frequencies to produce detailed, articulate audio with stunning clarity. So you can enjoy crystal-clear vocals and all the details of the instruments — just as if you were there in person.”

Size and colors

The new HomePod is almost the exact same size (and design). It’s just 0.2 inches shorter and about half a pound lighter.

HomePod 2 comes in white and midnight, although the latter looks awfully close to the space gray of the original. HomePod mini remains the only choice if you want a pop of color.

HomePod 2 HomePod 1 HomePod mini
Height 6.6 inches (168 mm) 6.8 inches (172 mm) 3.3 inches (84.3 mm)
Width 5.6 inches (142 mm) 5.6 inches (142 mm) 3.9 inches (97.9 mm)
Weight 5.16 pounds (2.3 kg) 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) 0.76 pound (345 grams)

HomePod comparison: Price

The HomePod 2 has arrived at the same $299 that the original was discontinued at. Meanwhile, the HomePod mini remains at $99.

Time will tell if customers find the $299 price point of the new full-size HomePod more palatable than they did the first time around.

HomePod comparison wrap-up

While some may have hoped for a more substantial upgrade for the second-gen HomePod at the $299 price, I think it’s great to see the full-size HomePod return.

Apple users who are looking for room-filling, rich sound have a first-party option again – and pricing is on par with competition like the Sonos Five (you can pick up two HomePods for a stereo pair at $598 vs the Sonos Five at $549). The full-size HomePod returning is also exciting for those who want Dolby Atmos for their home theater setup.

And overall, the HomePod 2 has been updated to reach parity with the HomePod mini with Thread, U1 chip, and the temp/humidity sensor.

Apple has opened orders for the new HomePod with the first deliveries starting on February 3.

What do you think about HomePod 2? Planning to pick one or more up? Skipping? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for checking out our HomePod comparison!

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