Guide to Buying Old vs.  the new HomePod

Guide to Buying Old vs. the new HomePod

After Apple’s relaunch of the full-fledged HomePod, how does the new model stack up against the divisive original that the company introduced in 2017 and discontinued in 2021?

The new ‌HomePod‌ costs $299. The original model debuted at $349 before dropping to $299 in 2019. After a run of appreciation last year, prices for the original ‌HomePod‌ are now dropping on sites like eBay, and it’s possible that it’ll still be possible to pick up a unit for well under $299.

‌HomePod‌ customers thinking of upgrading from the original, or anyone considering adding another ‌HomePod‌ to their setup to create a stereo pair, may be wondering whether it’s worth buying the original model or the new one, so it’s important to consider exactly what was added with the reintroduced ‌HomePod‌.

Check out the detailed breakdown below for every new feature, change and improvement that has been added with the new ‌HomePod‌ compared to the original model:

The new HomePod

  • Refined design with acoustically transparent mesh
  • A larger backlit touchpad that lights up from edge to edge, matching the HomePod mini
  • The S7 chip from the 2021 Apple Watch Series 7
  • U1 ultra wideband chip
  • Five horn loaded tweeters
  • Four far-field beamforming microphones
  • 5.6 inches tall
  • It weighs 5.16 kg
  • Detachable power cord
  • Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) connection
  • Thread support
  • Temperature and humidity sensor
  • Available in white and midnight

The original HomePod

  • Design with acoustically transparent mesh
  • Illuminated touch surface
  • The A8 chip from the 2013 iPhone 6 and ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus
  • Seven tweeters with horn hub
  • Six far-field beamforming microphones
  • 6.6 inches tall
  • It weighs 5.5 pounds
  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) connection
  • Fixed power cable
  • Available in white and space gray

Final thoughts

If you already have an original ‌HomePod‌, most users won’t gain much by trading it in for a new model. In fact, the new ‌HomePod‌ is a step back from the original in some ways, with fewer tweeters, microphones, and reduced support for Wi-Fi 4. The original ‌HomePod‌ still receives software updates with new features and improvements, and the new model is unlikely to sound better due to scaled-down audio hardware, so it might be better to wait until your current ‌HomePod‌ reaches the end of its useful life before upgrading to a future HomePod model that has more to offer.

A minority of users who specifically want a better streaming experience with the U1 chip, a temperature and humidity sensor for smart home automation, fiber support, and perhaps a new Midnight color and improved aesthetics may have legitimate reasons to upgrade – but that certainly won’t be the case for the majority of existing owners ‌HomePod‌.

  • Original ‌HomePod‌ user: Do not upgrade to a new ‌HomePod‌ unless you want specific new features
  • Original ‌HomePod‌ user who wants to create a stereo pair: Get the original model at a discount or buy two new models
  • Potential ‌HomePod‌ customer: Buy a new ‌HomePod‌, don’t buy a discounted original model

A new ‌HomePod‌ cannot be stereo-paired with the original model, so if your intention is to create a new ‌HomePod‌ when you buy another ‌HomePod‌, you will need to track down another original model. If you can afford it, it may be easier to simply swap out your original ‌HomePod‌ for a new one and create an entirely new stereo pair with two of the re-introduced models.

If you just want to add a ‌HomePod‌ to your smart home and audio setup, you’ll be much better off getting the new model than the original. The new model offers improved performance, a significantly better handing experience, a more modern design, is unlikely to sound too different from the original model and should have a much better lifespan.

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