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  • - Hey guys, this is Austin.

  • This is the Apple HomePod and at $350,

  • I have exactly one question, "Why does it exist?"

  • Now no, I'm not trying to say this is some

  • useless product or that it is not meant for anyone.

  • When you consider that the world is filled

  • with Amazon Echos and Google Homes

  • that cost 40 or $50, a $350 speaker

  • that has Siri inside, that's a little bit

  • of a hard sale for most people.

  • So in classic Apple fashion, the unboxing is super simple,

  • no giant stabbing knife needed.

  • So this has come out today and it's a little bit late.

  • I think this was originally supposed to come out

  • late last year.

  • But the idea here is that this is a very high end,

  • a very good sounding speaker that just happens to have Siri.

  • You know what I'll say, this looks really nice.

  • So it has this fabric mesh all the way around,

  • it's nice and soft.

  • It's definitely a little bit of a different look.

  • Although the power cable's built in, okay.

  • We also have designed by Apple in California

  • with what I assume is yes, a single Apple sticker.

  • Not a lot of accessories with your $350 smart speaker,

  • but all that matters is how does it actually sound.

  • Alright, so, $350, a lot of money.

  • But I will say there actually are some nice things

  • about the hardware.

  • So like I was saying, this fabric finish feels pretty nice

  • and it even comes across to the power cable.

  • There's a lot of attention to detail here.

  • What you won't find with the HomePod is anything

  • besides this power cable.

  • So there's no USB, there's no Bluetooth.

  • There's not even going to be any kind of aux input

  • which now that you think about it,

  • Apple's killed the headphone jack on everything else.

  • It makes sense to kill it on the speakers.

  • What you will see however is a little tiny grid

  • of LEDs that are below the sorted

  • frosted panel on the top.

  • So it's kind of cool, but there's not a proper screen.

  • It's more for kind of giving you notifications

  • and sort of a little bit of a colorful thing

  • when Siri's listening.

  • Like EarPods, the setup is going to be

  • pretty straightforward.

  • So if you have an iPhone and yes,

  • you're probably gonna want to have

  • a lot of Apple products for the HomePod to make sense,

  • you'll see a little setup icon right here.

  • Do that and it should sync it with the Apple ID.

  • One thing you probably will want

  • with the HomePod is Apple Music.

  • So it does support Airplay so things like Spotify

  • and YouTube will work.

  • However, if you actually want it

  • to work properly just using your voice,

  • you're going to want to use Apple Music.

  • They're very specific.

  • The HomePod is for people who have everything Apple.

  • Before we get started, I'm going to give

  • everyone a warning.

  • The words Hey Siri and Hey Google are about

  • to be spoken many many times.

  • You've been warned.

  • - [Siri] Sorry, I can't search the webpage.

  • - The main reason to pick up the HomePod though is for music

  • and at least on paper, this sounds pretty good.

  • So you're getting seven microphones

  • that are paired up with an Apple AA chip

  • which not only are going to be listening for you

  • to call Siri but also it's going to be able

  • to tune the music for your specific room.

  • Now to do that, it uses the total of eight speakers

  • inside this guy.

  • So there's seven small speakers

  • that are spread out all the way around

  • to be able to give you a full 360 sound,

  • but there's also going to be a single four-inch subwoofer.

  • So at this point, if you have Apple Music,

  • you can just tell it to play a song.

  • However, if you're like me and use Spotify,

  • you're gonna have to airplay it from your phone.

  • So of course you're gonna be listening to this

  • on YouTube so everything is going to be compressed,

  • but we do have a microphone here to hopefully give you

  • a decent idea of what this sounds like in person.

  • Let's give it a try.

  • (soulful music)

  • I will say one thing.

  • This does a really good job of giving you

  • that full 360 sound.

  • No matter really where this is placed,

  • you're pretty much going to hear

  • the same thing around.

  • Something else is immediately apparent.

  • This guy, even though it's obviously

  • a very small speaker, has a lot of bass.

  • (heavy metal bass music)

  • It's also really apparent that they're doing

  • a good job of making sure it doesn't bottom out.

  • So even though there is a lot of bass,

  • it's not really overpowering the rest of the music.

  • And even when you crank it up to higher volumes,

  • it stays surprisingly well put together.

  • And I guess for a $350 speaker,

  • you hope it sounds pretty good,

  • but I'm pretty impressed.

  • Hey Siri, pause.

  • One thing I will say is that the microphones do

  • a really good job even when you're cranking it

  • to be able to actually hear you pretty well.

  • However, I think the best way of actually being able

  • to properly test how well this sounds is put it up

  • against its biggest competitor.

  • When I say biggest, I mean biggest,

  • the Google Home Max.

  • So if you guys are not familiar,

  • the Google Home Max is very much

  • the sort of Google competitor to the HomePod.

  • And yes, it is much larger, but there's a lot

  • of things that are going to be very similar.

  • So this has Google Assistant whereas this has Siri.

  • They both have multiple speakers inside

  • that are going to be working together

  • and they both also do have a version

  • or the sort of room sensing technology

  • that will tune the sound based on what kind

  • of environment that you're in.

  • There are some advantages to the Google Home though

  • including the fact that not only does it have

  • a USB port, but it also supports Bluetooth

  • as well as Aux In.

  • So you know if you're not living in 2018 yet,

  • this has got you covered.

  • However, the price it runs is kind of surprising.

  • Whereas the HomePod runs a pretty expensive $350,

  • Google will charge you $400 for the Google Home Max.

  • Hey Google, play Hotel California.

  • - [Assistant] Okay, Hotel California by Eagles.

  • ("Hotel California" by Eagles)

  • - So at first glance, they're actually

  • surprisingly different.

  • So the Google Home Max is louder,

  • kind of expected with it being a much larger speaker.

  • However, it completely lacks that 360 directionality

  • of the HomePod.

  • So from the side, it's kind of okay,

  • but from the front, it is very very loud.

  • Now the HomePod, even though it's a little less bassey,

  • I think does a much better job of making sure

  • that you really hear all of the different instruments.

  • There's a lot of separation between the two.

  • But let me just do a few other songs

  • and kind of fully actually test

  • to see what these guys sound like.

  • Although to be fair, Hotel California is the only song

  • anyone actually needs to listen to,

  • but I guess I could play like two or three other songs

  • if you really want me to, for some weird reason.

  • Hey Google, play Like Whoa from Logic.

  • - [Assistant] Like Whoa by Logic, sure.

  • Playing on Spotify.

  • - Okay, so after listening to these both

  • for a little while, my impressions are pretty firm.

  • This sounds good.

  • It's decent in the vacuum, but there's a lot of bass

  • and it is very directional.

  • The HomePod, there's just so much more separation.

  • You hear all the different instruments.

  • You hear the different vocals.

  • Like everything is very sort of layered

  • whereas this, it feels a little bit flattened in comparison.

  • It's a good speaker, but there's no doubt,

  • the HomePod sounds phenomenal.

  • However, that's just one piece of the puzzle.

  • So sure, if you're just going to buy one

  • of these for pure audio quality,

  • you can stop watching now.

  • But I think what a lot of people are interested in is

  • how the actual assistants on these guys work.

  • Hey Google, when do the Olympics start?

  • - [Assistant] Competitions of the PyeongChang 2018

  • Olympic Winter Games begin on Wednesday,

  • February seventh, 2018, and ends on Sunday,

  • February 25th, 2018, PST.

  • - [Austin] Hey Siri, when do the Olympics start?

  • - [Siri] The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held

  • February ninth to the 25th in PyeongChang, South Korea.

  • - Hey Google, how many cups in 42 gallons?

  • - [Assistant] 42 US liquid gallons equals

  • 672 US customary cups.

  • - Hey Siri, how many cups are in 42 gallons?

  • - [Siri] 42 gallons is 672 cups.

  • - Something I'm noticing is that Siri is

  • a little bit more curt and gives you

  • like much shorter answers where Google will

  • actually give you all the detail.

  • Hey Google, what's the news?

  • - [Assistant] Here's the latest news.

  • From NPR News Now, at 3:00 p.m. today.

  • - [Man] Live from NPR News...

  • - Hey Siri, what's the news?

  • - [Siri] Here's the latest news from NPR.

  • - Hey Google, play the latest episode of Reply All.

  • - [Assistant] Okay, playing the latest episode

  • of Reply All, number 42 Blindspot rebroadcast.

  • - [Man] This episode of Reply All...

  • - Hey Siri, play the latest episode of Reply All.

  • - [Siri] Sorry, I couldn't find Reply All

  • in your music.

  • If you have an Apple Music subscription.

  • - No, Podcast.

  • Hey Google, what do you think about Siri?

  • - [Assistant] Full respect.

  • Being an assistant is hard work.

  • - Hey Siri, what do you think about Google Assistant?

  • - [Siri] I think the acquisition of information

  • and intelligence by human beings

  • through a virtual assistant is a very good thing.

  • - (laughs) Google's like, Siri's great.

  • I think the information by human-like beings is excellent.

  • Alright, so what have we learned?

  • Well I think that they're actually fairly

  • evenly matched as far as the assistant side.

  • So for the basic stuff, they're going to be

  • very similar for things like turning on

  • and off your lights or kind of feeding out traffic

  • or the basic kind of things.

  • Now I think as you get to be a little more advanced,

  • I would give the slight edge to Google Assistant,

  • but I think a lot of people have sort of been

  • complaining about Siri.

  • At least based on this, they're not that far off.

  • Now as far as the music side goes,

  • it's definitely a HomePod win.

  • But for me, if you're not going to be

  • really serious about music, I think it's hard

  • to recommend either of these.

  • So in my house, I really like using

  • the Google Home Minis as well as the standard Google Homes.

  • They're much less expensive.

  • Unless you're really serious about the music,

  • they sound totally fine, especially if you're

  • really focused on the assistant side.

  • So should the Apple HomePod exist in 2018?

  • Yeah, it's actually not bad.

  • So to be fair, you need to be totally

  • into the Apple ecosystem.

  • So I'm talking Apple Music, iPhones, Macs,

  • the whole thing.

  • But if you are, this is a really

  • really good sounding speaker.

  • So I'm curious, what do you guys