Three colorful HomePod Minis were announced last month and went on sale this week, adding yellow, orange, and blue options to our smart speaker home decor selections. I got to try out the trio of bright speakers, and have to say I quite like adding a pop of color to my smart home.
Apple is a bit behind the ball here; both Google and Amazon have had color choices for their smart speakers for a while now. The Nest Minis come in coral and light blue colors, and Amazon’s Echo speakers have blue, tiger orange, and Billie Eilish-beige options. But as usual, Apple has gone the extra mile with its design here, creating something quite genuinely delightful.
Each $99 HomePod Mini comes with a matching colored box and a different shimmering, shimmying Mini logo, presumably mimicking the sounds your HomePod will deliver courtesy of that Apple Music Voice subscription you’re planning to use it with (right?).
The braided USB-C power cable (which still can’t be removed) is color-coordinated with the speaker and is a pastel version of the main event. The volume up and down buttons on the white control plate perfectly match the Mini’s color. Also — and this is very Apple — when you set up the Mini using your iPhone, the graphic that pops up matches the color of the Mini you’re pairing (actually useful when you are setting up three different colors at once).
Speaking of those colors, they are a lot more impressive in person. When they were first announced at Apple’s fall hardware event, my initial thought was they were a bit underwhelming. Orange and yellow aren’t top of mind when it comes to interior design color choices, although they are great for the odd “pop” of color. And the blue looked so dark as to not be that dissimilar to the existing dark grey option. Also, where were the green and red, Apple?
Once I got my hands on the speakers, though, and tried them out in a few different situations around the house, I found I had plenty of spots where they could fit right in. Although, admittedly, it was primarily in my children’s rooms.
The yellow is very bright, definitely lemon on the color wheel, and the orange has a much more blood orange, reddish hue — closer to coral than the fruit Florida is famous for. However, next to a coral-colored Nest Mini, it pops a bit more and there is no hint of pink.
The blue is my favorite (likely because I just redid my kitchen and chose dark blue cabinets, so it is the perfect fit there). It’s a deeply rich, almost royal blue and really pretty. The blue also doesn’t show as much shadow through the mesh, something that gives the brighter colors a bit of a muddy look when you get up close.
One advantage of these colors, and the dark grey option, over the white Mini, is they are less likely to start greying as they collect dust and dirt, something that’s been noticeable on the white version in my testing. Clearly, we need a special Apple cleaning cloth for our HomePods.
The new HomePod Minis are identical in function to the existing models. They work with Siri, can use your iPhone to make calls and send messages, act as a hub for your HomeKit home, and set alarms and timers. We will be testing them out shortly though, to explore some of the features added since our first review. They ship with software version 15.0, so you will need to upgrade to 15.1.1 out of the box to take advantage of new features such as spatial audio and lossless music with Apple Music.
Photography by Jennifer Tuohy / The Verge