APPLE has been left well in the rear-view mirror by Amazon in the world of smart voice-controlled speakers.
So does its new HomePod mini close the gap?
It’s about the size of a coffee mug but a fraction shorter and slightly wider.
In typical Apple style, it looks stunning but is more expensive than its competitors.
It looks a lot sleeker than the Amazon Echo and the swirling multicoloured lights that appear under the flat glass top when it’s in use are a beautiful touch.
The speaker is Siri-enabled so you can control it with your voice and use it as a hub for some smart home gear such as lights and thermostats — though not as many as Amazon’s speakers are compatible with.
The HomePod mini costs £99, while Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo retails for £89.99 — though it’s on sale right now for £59.99.
Amazon’s Echo Dot, its mini smart speaker, costs £39.99 and is currently on sale for £19.99.
It’s hard to compare the HomePod mini with either of Amazon’s offerings.
Though it is as compact as the Echo Dot, its features are more in line with the Echo and the sound quality truly dwarfs both.
If you are an iPhone user, you will get the most out of this little powerhouse.
You can take and make calls as well as send and receive texts on it completely hands-free and ask it to perform tasks such as updating your shopping list.
You can “hand off” music from your iPhone to the HomePod mini simply by bringing your phone close to it.
The song will stop playing on your phone and continue on the speaker.
Watch wallet ‘keys’
YOUR wallet or purse is a goldmine for fraudsters.
People risk handing over the “keys” to their finances by storing vital info on their person.
In a poll by consultancy Enryo, five per cent kept their PIN in their wallet.
And five per cent carried around their online banking passwords.
Younger people were more likely to carry the information around than older savers.
By carrying contact details or addresses, victims risk fraudsters piecing together data like a jigsaw to then plunder their accounts or commit identity fraud. Victims might struggle to claim back their money too.
Enryo’s David Fagleman said: “People need to be very aware of what they carry in their wallets.”
The HomePod mini can recognise different voices, so each family member can set up their own profile and Siri will address you by name and keep track of your preferences.
If you have multiple HomePod minis in different rooms, you can play the same song perfectly in sync throughout the whole house or use them individually.
Intercom lets you speak a message into one speaker which will broadcast it to one or multiple other speakers throughout the house.
It can even send the intercom message to other family members’ Apple devices, whether they are home or not.
All in all, it is a wonderful smart speaker with fantastic sound that is helpful around the house and a lot of fun to use. It is a bit expensive at £99.
This would be an absolute steal at the Echo’s sale price of £59.99 and I would be happy to pay £75 for one if I were an Android user looking to switch to Apple.
That said, if you are an Apple person, this is a great addition to the collection.
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