Reddit user WinterCharm, an audio engineer who got an hour to play with a HomePod:
Fucking hell this thing is TINY. It’s really surprising to see it in person. Hefting it is odd, too. The fabric is soft but firm. It was also lighter than I was expecting. It’s also very pretty. Aside from the single cord coming out the back, there is no idication that it has a particular side/front. It’s built to blend into whatever space it’s in, rather than stand out.
Having heard it side by side with The Sonos Play One and Google Home Max, A single HomePod is already much better than both in terms of sound quality.
The first impression was the neutrality of the speaker. The HomePods are tuned for an as-true-to-recording sound. When the song calls for it, there is bass. When the song turns to crystal clear highs, they are reproduced faithfully. What really was interesting is the instrument separation in the room. At about 45% volume, the HomePod FILLED the room I was in with some great sound. When you walked away from it, the sound gets quieter, but not as quickly as you’d expect. All the details were still there, just softer. there was no feeling of walking out of the sweet spot that you get with a normal speaker. And that’s when it hit me… Apple really has done it.
Looking forward to technical reviews once people get their own HomePods and can spend some real quality time, along with access to their home environments.
Read the rest of the Reddit thread. If you can avoid the comparison trap, consider HomePod on its own, strictly as an Apple Music audio machine. Apple has really achieved something special here.