At A$ 149, I do not expect the HomePod Mini to provide a high fidelity experience and long story short, it doesn’t. Especially with only one because the mini can be stereo paired. Out of the box, it suffered connection issues as it was trying to have its firmware updated while asking me to login with my Apple details. A hard reset was given, it was left on its own for a while then things ran smoothly.
When music is streamed, a HomePod Mini sounds a lot bigger than it is although a lot of unnecessary bass is injected. Fortunately, a reduced bass option can be selected in the Home app then songs will sound a lot more natural. Lows are still present and healthily so. Guitar riffs are clearly projected and highs do get prickly at the upper end so it is best to keep things below 80% volume. Despite that, one of these Homepods can still fill an average sized room.
Does it have to be this small?
For the few who care if the Mini supports lossless audio, the answer is yes however another menu has to be accessed to have that unlocked. Norah Jones's vocals on Don’t Know Why does sound smoother when compared to Spotify files. That said, it is hardly noticeable when not paying attention or having the volume cranked.
Can I make do with this? No, I’m used to better speakers but for most, this is more than adequate and at this price, I’ll have one in the kitchen just because it can help with timing an egg. My gripe with the Mini is does it have to be this small? Because I believe it can sound substantially better by being a little bigger.
Real annoyances? Spotify Connect is not supported on the Mini which is slightly annoying. Besides, this HomePod cannot be plugged into any USB-C port as it requires a 20 watt power adapter and if a stereo pair is what you’re after, that’ll be two power plugs to get these working. Even so, two HomePod Minis will look very good with an iMac.
As a whole, the Apple HomePod Mini is a decent small speaker which happens to also be a good last minute gift idea for any occasion. Given its size, it does pipe out impressive sounds and it shouldn’t be surprising for Apple fanboys to fill each room in their house with one of these.