Apple’s HomePod smart speaker goes on sale this Friday (9 February) in the US, UK and Australia, with the first wave of reviews published yesterday.

How does it compare to the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges? Reviewers have been broadly positive, with the HomePod’s audio quality coming in for particular praise.

“From dance pop to guitar rock to orchestral pieces, the HomePod sounded excellent,” claimed CNET. “The audio quality is way better than any other smart speaker I’ve heard, including the Sonos One and Google Home Max,” added the Independent. “Easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever,” said TechCrunch.

However, the reviews also suggest that where Apple has more work to do is on the ‘smart’ aspect. “Alexa and Google Assistant not only knew more answers, they could better parse my questions,” suggested the Wall Street Journal.

“Siri also can’t compete with the huge array of Alexa skills, or Google Assistant’s ability to answer a vast variety of questions,” added The Verge. “Siri has been behind its competitors for some time now, and the HomePod doesn’t move it forward in any notable way.”

The hardware is good, then. The fascinating battle now is how rapidly Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant will improve in the coming months and years.

EarPods and phone

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