Last month, three HomePod Minis in bright colors were announced and went on sale this week. They add yellow, orange, or blue options to the smart speaker home decor choices. I was able to test the three bright speakers and I really like the idea of adding color to my smart house.
Apple is a little behind the times here. Both Google and Amazon have offered color options for their smart speakers since a while. The Nest Minis are available in coral and light blue colors. Amazon Echo speakers come with blue, tiger orange and Billie Eilish beige options. Apple has done a wonderful job with this design, and it is truly delightful.
Every $99 HomePod Mini comes in a matching color box and a shimmering, shimmying Mini logo. This is supposed to mimic the sounds your HomePod will produce courtesy of your Apple Music Voice subscription. You can.
The color-coordinated braided USB C power cable, which can't be removed, is a pastel version. The Mini's color is perfectly matched by the volume up and down buttons on a white control plate. This is also very Apple: When you pair the Mini with your iPhone, the graphic will match the Mini's color. It is useful when you have to set up three colors simultaneously.
They are even more striking in person, as they are so vivid. I was initially disappointed when they were announced at Apple's fall hardware event. Although they can be used for accents of color, orange and yellow are not top choices when it comes to interior color choices. The blue was so dark that it didn't look like the dark grey. Apple, where was the red and green?
After I got my hands on them and tested them in various situations, I realized that there were plenty of places where they would fit in. It was, however, primarily in the rooms of my children.
The yellow is bright and definitely lemon-colored. The orange is more coral-colored than Florida's famous fruit. It pops more when placed next to a Nest Mini in coral, and there is not a hint of pink.
Blue is my favorite color (probably because I recently redid my kitchen, and selected dark blue cabinets so it fits perfectly there). It is a deep, almost royal, blue that is really beautiful. It doesn't show shadow as much through the mesh which gives brighter colors a slightly muddy look up close.
These colors and the darker grey version are more resistant to greying than the white Mini. This is something I noticed on my test of the white Mini. We need an Apple cleaning cloth to clean our HomePods.
The HomePod Minis' functions are the same as the previous models. They can be used with Siri to make calls, send messages, and act as hubs for your HomeKit Home. You can also set alarms, timers, and other functions. To explore the new features, we will be trying them out soon. You will need to update to 15.1.1 from the box as they come with software version 15.0. To take advantage of new features like spatial audio and lossless with Apple Music, you'll need to install it.
Photography by Jennifer Tuohy/The Verge