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The smart speaker ecosystem may currently be dominated by Amazon but Google is now catching up to it one smart device at a time. Last year, the Mountain View giant released Google Home to rival the Echo but the smaller Echo Dot had lacked any competition in the market. The tables have, however, now turned as Google debuted a smaller Google Home smart speaker at its ‘Made By Google’ event in San Francisco. Called Google Home Mini, this new pebble-shaped speaker is going to fiercely rival Amazon’s top-selling Echo Dot which has been rapidly gaining presence in consumer’s homes.Build and Design
The Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot don’t exactly differ in size but their design and aesthetics vary greatly. The Home Mini adopts a pebble-like flat design whereas the Echo Dot falls in line with its elder brethren’s circular pill shape. As for specifics, the Echo Dot is nearly 10mm smaller in diameter and height than the Home Mini’s convex fabric top.
In the materials department, we’re already familiar with the plasticky look and feel of the Echo Dot, which is no match for the fabricated beauty of the Home Mini. Google also boasted about developing this durable fabric, which enables light and sound to easily pass through, in-house. It took them over 157 tries to perfect the grey chalk colour.
A single glance at the Google Home Mini reaffirms that it is the speaker that will add to the aesthetics of your house. It is so tiny, with its 4 LED lights tucked under the fabric, you would not even notice its presence on your bedstand. On the other hand, the Echo Dot makes its presence known with its familiar blue circular ring, making it stand out among the competitors.Voice recognition
In terms of voice recognition, which is the most important task anyone will ever perform on these smart speakers, both use hands-free far-field recognition technology to listen to your commands. This technology enables the speakers to listen to the “wake-word“ even from afar or during music playback.Sound Quality
Amazon’s Echo Dot includes a single 0.6-inch speaker, whereas Google provides a 360-degree sound experience which has been made possible with the larger 40 mm audio driver in the Home Mini. It suggests the Google Home Mini may be louder than the Echo Dot but there’s no sure way to judge without listening to both in reality.
Seeing the size of the speakers, you can guess that they are not exactly meant for blasting music. They will, however, be at your beck and call to provide the assistance you require instantly. If you’re looking for a loud smart speaker, it would be better to pick up the newly released Google Home Max once it goes on sale.Connectivity
Keeping in line with its simplistic ideals for the Home Mini, Google has added only a single micro-USB port at the back of the smart speaker. Here, the Echo Dot takes lead with the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack alongside the micro-USB charging port, meaning it can physically connect an external speaker to the Echo Dot but that’s not possible with the Home Mini.
Both the smart speakers include support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It enables you to stream audio from your smartphone to either of the smart speakers with ease. The Home Mini makes up for the lack of its 3.5mm headphone jack by allowing you to pair any Chromecast Audio-compatible wireless speakers to play music.Smart capabilities
The AI-enabled smart assistants loaded in these speakers each have their own perks. Both the smart speakers are capable of answering your curiosities, streaming music, helping you stay on top of your schedule, traffic conditions on the way to work, and most importantly — place phone calls using voice commands. Further, one should not have any doubts about Google Assistant’s ability to instantly answer any query via Google’s expansive knowledge graph.
Google Assistant’s growing list of capabilities now also includes broadcast and family link features. The former enables you to send a common message to each Google Home device in your home whereas the latter allows the speaker to recognize kid’s voices and only grant them access to nearly 50 activities suitable to their age. Alexa, on the other hand, has also managed to amass more than 15,000 third-party skills to provide additional functionality to Echo Dot users.
As for the smart speaker’s abilities to help you manage smart home devices, the two are equally capable. You can control your home’s temperature, lights, security cameras and more through voice commands on both the Google Home Mini and Echo Dot. It currently supports devices manufactured by Wemo, D-Link, LG, Honeywell, Nest and several others.Comparison: Tech Specifications
Device Google Home Mini Amazon Echo Dot
Diameter 3.86 in (98 mm)3.30 in (84 mm)
Height 1.65 in (42 mm)1.30 in (32 mm)
Weight 6.10 oz (173 g)5.70 oz (163 g)
Processor n/aTexas Instruments DM3725 Digital Media Processor (according to teardown)
Microphone far-filed voice recognitionbeam-forming 7-microphone array
Speaker 360-degree sound with 40mm driver0.6-inch (16mm) speaker
Connectivity (wired) micro-USB portmicro-USB port, 3.5mm jack
Connectivity (wireless) 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Software support Android 4.2 and higher, iOS 9.1 and higherFire OS, Android, and iOS
Supported Audio formats HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLACAAC/MP4, MP3, HLS, PLS, M3U (FLAC and OGG may work)
Materials Durable fabric top, plastic housing, non-skid silicone baseplastic housing
Colours Charcoal, Chalk and CoralBlack, White (can buy coloured fabric cases)
Pricing and Availability
Amazon updated its original Echo Dot with better voice recognition and a smaller $49.99 price tag nearly a year ago. This persuaded more consumers to upgrade their homes with Alexa’s voice assistance but Google seems to be on a mission to wreak havoc on Echo Dot’s success with its mini Google Assistant-enabled speaker. It has even slyly priced the Home Mini speaker at $49 to face off with Amazon in this budget segment.
The competitive pricing is sure to divide the consumers between the two platforms, be it because of Alexa’s skill bank or Google Assistant’s smarts. The Echo Dot is available for purchase on Amazon in select countries, namely U.S, U.K, Germany and India, where Alexa’s Voice Services has been launched. The Google Home Mini, on the other hand, will be available in seven countries (including Japan) starting October 19.
SEE ALSO: Top 10 Google Home Alternatives You Can BuyGoogle Home Mini vs Amazon Echo Dot: Which Is Better After All?
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We’ll aim to answer all your questions and help you choose the right system for your home. If you’re buying only a single device, it doesn’t really matter too much, but most people decide that want more than one to cover the various areas of their home. Some people go as far as putting one in every room.
The bad news is that there’s no easy answer to which system is the best, so you’re going to have to read on to find out more before making up your mind.Amazon vs Google: Smart home ranges compared
Amazon’s range is much larger than Google’s
Google’s smaller range can be easier to understand
Before we talk about the assistants built into these speakers and smart displays, it’s worth looking briefly at the ranges on offer from each company.
Amazon’s range of Echo devices is much broader than Google’s. It offers an Echo for every possible budget, from the wallet-friendly Echo Flex (£24.99 / $24.99) up to the Echo Show smart display with its 10in screen. That costs £219.99 / $229.99. There’s also a new version of the Echo Dot with built-in clock display.
There are now three Echo Show displays – 5.5-, 8- and 10in, five speakers (including the high-end Echo Studio) and you’ll find Alexa built into various other products including Amazon’s own Fire TV Cube, plus sound bars, TVs and third-party speakers.
Plus, Amazon sells accessory devices such as the Echo Wall Clock which can display countdown timers you’ve set with Alexa.
The Google Home range, some of which is now called Google Nest, isn’t quite as comprehensive, but this makes it simpler to understand.
It starts with the £49 / $49 Google Nest Mini and tops out with the Google Home Max at £299 / $299. There are two smart displays: the 8in Nest Hub and the new 10in Nest Hub Max for £219 / $229, matching the largest Echo Show.
As with Alexa, you’ll also find the Google Assistant hiding in other products including the Nest Cam IQ security camera and – naturally – Android phones.Alexa vs Google Assistant
Assistant well integrated into Google universe
Assistant can hold a conversation and understand context
Alexa also competent but a stickler for correct phrasing
Regardless of whether you intend to buy a smart display or a smart speaker, both rely on their respective assistants to answer questions, set timers and generally get stuff done.
Which one is better is a perennial question, and arguably the most important and relevant question you can ask when choosing between Amazon’s or Google’s hardware.
Answering it isn’t straightforward though, and there’s no clear winner. Each assistant has its strengths and weaknesses.
Google Assistant leans heavily on Google’s search prowess, and is therefore fairly adept at answering any questions which could just as well be typed into a Google search box. It’s also fully integrated into the Googleverse, which means if you have an Android phone and use Google services such as Gmail and YouTube, you’ll really appreciate how everything works nicely together.
The Assistant is also much more forgiving when it comes to understanding what you say, so you can speak in natural language and it knows what you mean… most of the time.
Amazon’s Alexa is much more of a stickler for phrasing requests correctly, and will refuse to understand if you don’t ask in the right way. Unlike the Google Assistant, she won’t accept multiple requests in one go, and you can’t really have a conversation with Alexa as she doesn’t retain any information from a previous question.
Also, Alexa isn’t so hot on general knowledge and relies for the most part on Wikipedia. That means she tends to struggle with the kind of local knowledge that Google is good at, but is very capable when it comes to telling you how tall the Arc de Triomphe is, or about the various species of lemurs.
However, Alexa is surprisingly knowledgeable about local retail and can answer “When does Tesco close tonight in Sidcup”.
It’s easier and more natural to say Alexa than OK Google, but the latter phrase means the Assistant is far less likely to mishear and start listening by accident. Neither lets you set a custom wake word, but you can opt for Echo, Computer or Amazon instead of Alexa. Your only options in the other camp are OK Google or Hey Google.Basics
Both assistants have the basics nailed, including setting multiple timers and reminders, giving you a weather forecast or the latest sports scores.
They can also broadcast a message to all your smart speakers and displays in your home such as “Dinner’s ready”. Alexa and Google Assistant will also acknowledge you if you say thank you, which can encourage kids to remember their manners.
Google gains a point for responding to “Stop” when an alarm is sounding. With Alexa, you still have to yell “Alexa, stop”.
Impressively, Alexa can offer translations: this feature isn’t limited to the Google Assistant. You can ask either one how to say “Two beers please” in a different language.
Both Google and Amazon are constantly adding to their assistants’ capabilities. They can both identify who is speaking to them and offering personalised answers or content, such as what’s on your agenda today.
Amazon has given Alexa some useful new capabilities such as Guard mode where she will alert you if she hears breaking glass or other sounds in your home which you’d probably want to know about while you’re at work. However, many of these features are release in the US first and can take a long time to filter down into other regions.Smart home
Both assistants are especially helpful if you have compatible smart home gadgets such as lights, plugs and switches. Using only your voice you can turn these things on and off and you can group them so they turn on and off together.
Both systems also allow you to group smart devices in a single room with a Google Home or Amazon Echo in that room. This allows you to say “Alexa, turn off lights” or “OK Google, turn off lights” and they will know which lights you mean.
Routines are another shared skill: you can set multiple things to happen when you issue a custom command. You might say “goodnight” and all the lights will turn off downstairs, the heating will switch off and your bedroom light will turn on.Music
Alexa very capable for music playback
Google also good, but does not support Apple Music
Music is one of the main reasons people buy a smart speaker and, of course, both assistants are happy to play whatever music you ask for. Each company hopes you’ll subscribe to its own music streaming service (Google Play Music or Amazon Music) but you can also use other services such as Spotify if you subscribe to that instead. Amazon also supports Apple music now.
But opting for the ‘native’ service gives you the best experience. For example, if you have an Echo Show and use Amazon Music, you’ll see lyrics appear in sync for a lot of songs, but you lose that feature if you play Apple Music on an Echo Show.
Both Google and Amazon allow you to play music in sync on multiple devices, but this typically only works with own-brand hardware, with very few exceptions.
And while we’re on the subject, buying a third-party speaker with the Google Assistant or Alexa can often leave you locked out of certain features such as making calls to friends and family.
Recently Amazon removed the ability to play BBC Radio via the TuneIn service, so now you have to enable the BBC skill which, due to Amazon limitations, does not support alarms or multi-room. Google is unaffected by this change as it does not use TuneIn.TV control
You can use Alexa or the Google Assistant to control what you see on your TV. You’ll need compatible hardware, though. For Alexa, that needs to be an Amazon Fire TV while for Google, you’ll need a Chromecast.Skills
Developers can make ‘skills’ for Alexa
Google Home does not have a ‘skills’ store
One difference between the systems is Alexa Skills which are like apps that you ‘enable’ in the Alexa app. Some of these are just silly games like “Meow meow” which make Alexa meow at you when you make that sound. But many are actually useful, such as getting train times and public transport status updates, or are skills made specifically by hardware manufacturers so their kit is controllable via Alexa.
Google Assistant is also compatible with a wide range of hardware, but if it doesn’t just work straight away, there’s nothing you can do about it, and developers can’t create extra games and other skills.Communication
Google Home lets you chat to any Google contacts
Amazon mostly limited to Echo users, but can also make phone calls
Amazon first added its Drop-In feature when it launched the first Echo Show. So long as you approve specific contacts (and they approve you) you can “drop in” on each other – i.e. make a video call – without waiting for the other party to answer.
Video calls obviously only apply if both parties have smart displays, but you can make voice calls as well. More recently Amazon added the ability to call phone numbers.
Messaging is built into Alexa as well and this can take the form of voice or text.
With the Google Assistant and Google Nest devices, you’re a bit more limited for video calls because the Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera. However, where you can make voice- and video calls you can talk to any of your Google contacts, not only those with Home or Nest Hub devices.Smart speaker vs smart display
Smart displays allow for video and video calls
Smart speakers tend to sound better for music
Since both Amazon and Google offer smart displays and not only smart speakers, you might be wondering what extras you get with a display.
As you can probably guess, you’ll see information on screen when you ask a question, whether it’s a simple weather forecast or the instructions for a recipe (this is one of the most popular uses of an Echo Show according to Amazon).
Although the screens can show video, their small size means you’re unlikely to watch anything longer than the odd YouTube video or news briefing. And it’s awkward to use YouTube on an Echo Show: only the Google Nest Hubs officially support it.
Google also wins for photos, because you can display photos from your Google Photos account. Amazon can’t pull photos from Google Photos, so you’re stuck with the far inferior Amazon Photos service which, unlike Google Photos, doesn’t offer unlimited free storage.
The smaller Google Nest Hub, however, doesn’t have a camera so can’t be used for video calls, whereas all three Echo Show models have a camera. The two smaller ones even have a physical shutter to block off the camera and mute the microphones when you want some privacy.
Check out our roundups:Verdict
If you’ve got this far, you’ll realise that it’s impossible to say one system is better than the other.
Ultimately, the right one for you will be the one that does what you want it to, and works with the smart home kit you already have.
You might prefer the strengths of the Google Assistant, while others might be happy to live with Alexa’s shortcomings in general knowledge and be swayed by the bigger choice of devices.
Just remember that you can’t really mix and match systems: you either go for Echos or you plump for Google’s devices. It’s far too confusing otherwise.
Once you’ve made your choice, check out the best Amazon Echo deals and the best smart home deals.
Just don’t buy that smart speaker
Alexa isn’t eavesdropping on your every conversation, secretly sharing them with whoever it likes, but even if it was there’s an easy way to avoid that. The latest controversy over smart speakers and the Internet of Things comes down to privacy, as is so often the way, with Amazon’s Echo accused of playing impromptu postwoman with a private chat recorded and shared.
Skepticism about the Internet of Things is, in most cases, warranted. Connected devices tend to over-promise and typically under-deliver; the smart home is obsessed with turning on your lights and reading out excerpts of Wikipedia, but often with middling consideration of data privacy and network security. All the same, I can’t help but think some of the reaction this week has tipped over into hyperbole: after all, nobody is forcing you to buy an Echo, or a Google Home, or any other smart speaker out there.
Speaking as someone with numerous smart speakers across a handful of different platforms up and running in a few different rooms, I’m very aware that Alexa, the Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana can all perk up when they weren’t explicitly summoned. It can be something on TV which is mis-heard, or a conversation we’re having that sounds a little like their trigger word or phrase. I’ve been on conference calls and suddenly had to deal with Sonos’ smart speakers resuming the last playlist, having decided I was talking to them not to the people on the phone.
Maybe I’m being naive for interpreting that as teething pains of a relatively fledgling segment, rather than something more ominous. If I really found it frustrating, I could mute each speaker’s microphone, or unplug it altogether. Indeed, if you’re that concerned about the prevalence of big companies with microphone arrays in your house, that should probably be your first response.
Sitting out this particular gadget revolution isn’t going to be particularly difficult. While all of the smart speakers have some handy talents – I’m a fan of getting instant kitchen measurement conversions, timezone calculations, and weather updates – none are exactly essential. Similarly, being able to ask for music by track or artist name is neat, but there are plenty of connected speakers out there which aren’t also listening while they play.
I’m of a mind to assign this week’s Alexa glitch to stupidity, not malice. For all she sounds like a clever lady with the wisdom of the internet at her fingertips, in reality Amazon’s AI leans more on the “artificial” and less on the “intelligence” for the most part.
Then there’s the fact that most of us already have an always-listening gadget in our pockets or on our desks next to us. Whether you’re an Android user or an iPhone user, either way you have a virtual assistant listening out for your commands. If you’re really concerned about the pinnacle of privacy, you’d be digging through the settings on that to turn off wake words too.
NOW READ Echo eavesdropping: How to stop it
I’m not going to call it hypocrisy, because I do believe there’s a difference. An Echo or a Google Home is designed to hear you even if you’re across the room; the average smartphone is typically intended to deal with much shorter, more personal distances. Always-on listening is much more central to the smart speaker concept than it is to a smartphone, too. Yes, I can mute an Echo’s microphone, but then I have to walk over to it every time I want to interact.
The dangers, too, are different. We’re yet to see a widespread Alexa, or Google Assistant, or Siri hack, but I don’t doubt that one day that’ll happen: after all, these are tempting targets for those of a mind to make mischief.
As always, then, there’s a hierarchy of paranoia that you’ll find yourself somewhere on. If your aversion is so strong to the possibility of a smart speaker glitch, I don’t think you’ve much to lose by opting out and watching as the category evolves. If, like me, you’re a little less concerned then maybe just limiting your Echo, Google Home, or HomePod to particular rooms will be enough to calm whatever skepticism you might have. I have a camera-enabled Echo in the kitchen, after all, but I don’t have one in my bedroom.
Apple’s HomeKit devices bring convenience, and HomePods are no different. The little yet powerful HomePod mini brings Siri controls, theater-like sound, and more to your house. Therefore, you need the best HomePod and HomePod mini accessories like covers, stands, and other HomeKit gadgets to get the most out of it.
In this post, I will share my personal favorite accessories for Apple HomePod and HomePod mini. Go through each section and choose the right one according to your requirements.
Best cases and covers
Though HomePod seems less expensive, it is still a significant investment. So, you must safeguard it against dust, drops, and scratches. Besides, after setting up HomePod, you may also want to give it a funky look. And all of these can be accomplished with a HomePod mini case and dust cover. Let’s jump in!
1. Hounyoln hard case for Apple HomePod mini – Travel-friendly
I always carry my HomePod mini on vacations, and this hard travel case keeps it secure against the danger of bumps, scratches, or unintentional falls. The high-quality EVA build material is long-lasting, water-resistant, shockproof, and dustproof. You can store the speaker and charger in the case and close it using the smooth yet durable 360-degree zipper.
You may carry the case in any luggage as it takes less space and is ultralightweight. Along with that, the attached hand strap makes it more convenient to use. The brand has used soft velvet to make the interiors. That’s why this HomePod mini case feels premium and provides delicate care while keeping everything steady.
High-quality EVA and velvet build
Plastic hand strap
Check out on: Amazon2. Bestand HomePod travel case – Carry on the go
Like the HomePod mini case, there are various protective cases for HomePod. I highly recommend this Bestand case among the other travel cases due to its durability and weight distribution. This shockproof and semi-waterproof case fits your HomePod perfectly and provides good protection. Besides, it has a built-in carrying strap that makes traveling with it convenient.
Despite being semi-shockproof, it protects your smart speaker from drops, scratches, and dents. It can withstand spills and keeps splashes away from your speaker. You can easily open and close the case using the double 360-degree zipper. The best part is it has a leather-wrapped handle that makes it more portable.
Reliable poly zipper
Non-skid hand strap
Check out on: Amazon3. SaharaCase HomePod mini sleeve cover – Cute looking
I believe the HomePod mini dust cover is the most essential among other HomePod mini accessories. The SaharaCase silicone sleeve cover for the Apple HomePod mini provides additional protection and comfort. It protects your speaker from unwanted dust, dents, and scratches – thereby extending its longevity.
The smooth silicone build material provides a sturdy non-slip grip and a nice feel to your hand. The sleeve has precise cuts to guarantee that the sound is not impaired, and you can charge it without any hassle. I loved this cover as it’s not bulky, and the small carrying loop at the top makes the speaker easily accessible.
Premium silicon material
The carry loop needs improvement4. FitTurn HomePod cover – Eco-friendly
How about a protective HomePod dust cover that glows up? Full party mood! FitTurn HomePod cover has a full-body mesh hollow design and a high-quality silicone coating. Besides its attractive looks, the cover ensures your HomePod is damage-proof from sudden drops, scratches, and dust.
The special structure assists its volume and sound recognition capabilities. Therefore, your music sounds fantastic, and all your Siri commands are detected. Along with that, the precise cutouts for the plug hole on the rear side allow for charging without removing the case.
Color choices include the unique Noctilucent Blue, which glows up in the dark and highlights your HomePod. I had put it on my corner desk nightstand, and it looks beautiful after the lights are off. But I wish it provided more durable protection.
Hollow-out design that enhances high-fidelity sound
Funky glam look
Check out on: Amazon
Top stands for HomePod and HomePod mini5. Spigen silicone fit for HomePod mini stand – Premium pick
The best HomePod mini stand comes from the house of Spigen. The Spigen Silicone Fit Stand provides a wide base for placing on a tabletop for increased stability and secure hold. You can place it anywhere because the silicone body with a smooth and matte finish looks premium.
To make the HomePod mini more accessible, you may tilt it. The shock-absorbing design reduces speaker vibrations, so you can groove to your favorite music with no chance of dropping. A precise rear cutout makes it easy to access the cable and keeps the wire neat and tidy.
Slides on smooth surfaces6. i-Blason Cosmo Series HomePod mini table stand – With Apple Watch charging holder
The i-Blason Cosmo Series table stand is compatible with both the Apple Watch and the HomePod mini. It’s made of high-quality materials and has an easy-to-use compact design. The front of the lightweight stand has a cutout for an Apple Watch charger and accommodates it perfectly.
It feels good to touch because of the smooth edges. The silicon-based cushioning prevents skidding on flat surfaces. So, your HomePod mini will not get scratches and damage from drops. Besides, it offers unique HomePod mini cable management at the bottom, making your desk clear and uncluttered.
Use as a charging dock
Anti-slip and anti-scratch
Soft material7. AWINNER stand – Simplistic design
It can stand firmly on the table’s surface, thanks to the flat rubber base. Also, the stand doesn’t leave any spots on your hardwood furniture. The best part is you can get a free replacement or full refund for any quality issues. Also, I experienced fantastic after-sale assistance that was available around the clock.
Bass sounds boomy
Check out on: Amazon
Wall mounts to keep your HomePod secure
The wall mounts are easy to install and keep your HomePod securely. You can also rotate it to get an audio soundstage within your room. So, mount your smart speaker upon the power outlet for better cable management and save space on your desk with the best wall mounts for Apple HomePod and HomePod mini.8. Delidigi HomePod mini wall mount – Built-in cable management
This Delidigi bracket holder shelf stand securely mounts your HomePod mini to walls and other flat surfaces. It provides screws and anchors in the box so you can easily complete the quick installation. I loved its built-in cable management that keeps your charging cord securely concealed beneath.
To deliver the best sound output, the HomePod mini needs a more sturdy base. But in this case, the sound quality is somewhat diminished. Also, if you set it up near the ceiling, it may reflect sound back at itself. So, consider these drawbacks before buying.
30-day money-back guarantee
Check out on: Amazon9. TotalMount for HomePod mini – Hole-free mount
TotalMount wall mount allows you to set your HomePod mini almost anywhere in your house without making holes in the walls. The non-slip rubber pad provides a snug fit so that the device is safe, secure, and ideally positioned. This ensures that the sound is not distorted.
I loved its Premium ABS with a piano finish and a user-friendly, zero-equipment installation process. It uses four removal adhesive taps to hold onto the wall so you can detach it easily in no time, although there are optional screws.
Easy to install
No equipment needed
Dismounts if the surface is not cleaned
Low sound production
Check out on: Amazon10. EXIMUS Speaker Wall Mount – For HomePod
You can set up your Apple HomePod speaker on any wall with the EXIMUS Apple HomePod Wall Mount. It will be the ideal addition to your room, saving additional space. Your Apple HomePod speaker will remain elegantly on your wall and match the decor thanks to the sleek, minimal, and contemporary design.
The silicon pad prevents accidental drops or scratches while keeping your speaker firmly in place. It fully exposes your speaker to better sound production. You can install it in the proper position using the direction indicator. Also, the wall mount offers cable management to keep your room uncluttered.
Low-quality screws and anchors
Check out on: Amazon
Other HomePod and HomePod mini accessories11. Eve Energy Smart Plug & Power Meter – Control HomePod remotely
Being an essential HomeKit device, you can connect it with other HomeKit devices like Eve Energy smart plug and power meter. Using it with HomePod, HomePod mini, or Apple TV, you can ask Siri to manage your lights and other smart appliances. Also, create schedules to automatically turn the appliances on and off and access them remotely.
Eve Energy provides exceptional usability and cutting-edge security by using Apple HomeKit and UL certification. Thanks to cutting-edge Bluetooth and Thread connectivity, it is fast and simple to set up, operates without a bridge, and boasts energy-efficient operation.
Use HomePod as a home hub
Check out on: Apple12. Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Bulb – Customized lightning
Nanoleaf Essentials offers smart lighting with smooth color performance and a unique multi-faceted bulb shape. So, you can convert your boring room to a party house in a snap, thanks to its high brightness and infinite color palette. You may use the Nanoleaf app, HomePod, or Apple TV to control and customize it.
The enhanced connection range and reliability with low latency ensure good lightning. Also, the app provides schedules or automatic turn-on/off. I loved the adaptive lighting function that automatically adjusts the color temperature. You can choose between crispy white or vivid, lively hues.
No hub required
Adaptive lighting feature
Some features require internet access
Check out on: Apple
So, that’s all for today, folks!
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Ava is an enthusiastic consumer tech writer coming from a technical background. She loves to explore and research new Apple products & accessories and help readers easily decode the tech. Along with studying, her weekend plan includes binge-watching anime.
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A rock concert blasts 105 decibels into your ear holes. And, though your neighbors might curse the day you moved in, you can re-create that level of acoustic insanity with your home entertainment space using good speakers in your living room, basement, or whatever personal sound cave suits you. WARNING—cranking up the volume on your home audio speakers can lead to bad sound. But have no fear: If carefully constructed, a high-end home audio system setup can knock you back in your seat, without losing its fidelity. Learn about the best home speaker setup, here!
Technics Grand Class SL-1200GR
Even with bass rumbling, the Technics SL-1200GR turntable won’t skip. The aluminum platter (a.k.a. the playing surface) of these house speakers has a rubber lining, the footings are silicone, and polymer tubes string through the body—all absorbing bad vibes. $1,700 (needle cartridge sold separately).
Related: JBL speaker comparison: Which model is right for you?
Audio Research GSPre
The preamp gets an audio signal ready for the amplifier to crankify. Unlike many big-box-store—even high-end—models, the Audio Research GSPre has inputs for modern devices and a circuit, complete with a pair of vacuum tubes, devoted to turntables. $15,000.
Delivering 450 watts apiece to two speakers, the McIntosh MC452 is among the loudest stereo amps. Ironically, though, it makes quiet work of pushing out massive sound. Inside the 110-pound behemoth, each channel has two amps that cancel out one another’s tremors. $8,000.
Related: The best bookshelf speakers fill your room with sound, not clutter
Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3
The midrange driver (the one for guitars and vocals) on the Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 rings true at high volumes. A new woven composite stops vibrating faster than its Kevlar predecessor. Meanwhile, a 1-inch tweeter pings highs, and two 10-inch subwoofers go low. $30,000 (pair).
This article was originally published in the May/June 2023 issue of Popular Science.
Looking for a new tablet but don’t have a lot of cash to spare? The iPad (9th gen) is the absolute cheapest option at $329, but the design is getting a bit long in the tooth. If you’re looking for something newer, you might want to consider either the iPad (10th gen) or iPad Mini (6th gen). They both offer a decent amount of power and come in under $500, yet there are a few important differences between them. Let’s compare the iPad vs iPad Mini to find out which is right for you.
iPad vs iPad Mini: At a glance
Curious about how the iPad and iPad Mini compare? Here’s a quick summary of the key differences:
iPad Mini has a faster SoC than the iPad
iPad Mini is thinner and lighter than the iPad
iPad Mini has Apple Pencil (gen 2) support; the iPad only works with the Apple Pencil (gen 1)
iPad vs iPad Mini: Specs
iPad vs iPad Mini: Size comparison
The iPad and iPad Mini have nearly identical designs, with display size being the biggest difference. And what a difference it makes. The iPad Mini is 184g lighter than the iPad, and it’s also much more compact. The iPad is also thicker than the iPad Mini. This smaller size not only makes the iPad Mini more portable, but in my experience, I found it was much easier to hold for long drawing or note-taking sessions with the Apple Pencil. Even video-taking is easier with the Mini, as you’re not holding up such a massive device.
If you look carefully, you will find a few other small differences, including the colorways available and the location of the front cameras. The iPad Mini also adds a flash sensor to the rear camera, something you won’t find on the iPad.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Camera
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
When previously comparing the iPad vs Air or even the iPad vs iPad Pro, I kept saying the camera doesn’t matter much for photography. This is slightly less true when you add the iPad Mini into the mix. The iPad Mini’s smaller footprint makes holding it much more comfortable, and the same applies to using it for taking a photo or recording a video.
Of course, the Mini is still much bigger than a smartphone, so it’s not the best choice as a main camera. I use our family’s iPad Mini mostly for simple shots around the house or for a quick video recording of the kids playing outside. In other words, think of it as a bonus camera but not a main reason for buying.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Price
Apple iPad (64GB, Wi-Fi): $449
Apple iPad (64GB, Cellular): $599
Apple iPad (256GB, Wi-Fi): $599
Apple iPad (256GB, Cellular): $749
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi only, 64GB): $499
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi only, 256GB): $649
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB): $649
iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB): $799
The iPad Mini launched in September of 2023, while the iPad (10th gen) launched in the middle of October last year. Despite being newer, the iPad is slightly less powerful than the Mini, and that’s reflected in its price tag. The iPad Mini is certainly worth that premium, but be aware the iPad Mini (7th gen) isn’t too far off, so you might want to consider waiting.
Another thing to consider is the storage size. You don’t want 64GB, trust me. The only exception to this is if you plan to mostly use it for browsing and as an e-reader. If you plan to use games and other apps, the space will fill up fast and require you to constantly manage (read: uninstall) less used apps to make room for new ones.
iPad vs iPad Mini: Which should you buy?
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
Figuring out the right iPad here mostly comes down to screen size. The Mini is a no-brainer if you want something small, light, and portable. Even better, Apple’s little guy has a better (but smaller) display, a slightly faster SoC, and supports the latest Apple Pencil with no adapter required.Would you rather buy an iPad or the iPad Mini?
If you want something that has a bigger display, the iPad performs very close to the iPad Mini but gives you more screen real state, a better alignment for its front cam, and support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard folio. Not impressed by the iPad’s performance but want a bigger screen than the Mini? The iPad Air might be a better fit, or even the more expensive iPad Pro.
iPad vs iPad Mini: FAQ
There are currently no iPad models that are truly waterproof. Your best bet is to get an iPad case or iPad Mini case for your device.
Face ID is not available on either the iPad or the iPad Mini. The only iPad family member that supports this is the iPad Pro.
Unfortunately, the latest iPad family members have removed the headphone jack across the line. The only alternative is to pick up the iPad (9th gen), which Apple still officially sells.
The iPad family doesn’t support wireless charging, but there is an unofficial workaround. You can add the functionality with an adapter.
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