What are your alternatives if you can't use a HomePod

The Apple HomePod is an expensive and a very high end solution for those that can afford or require that level of interactions. However not everyone is happy or needs the HomePod, so what are the alternatives? The alternatives in simple terms are Alexa and Google Home. In terms of Wireless Speakers, there are offerings from Sonos, Bose and then starts to slip downwards to budget options with Philips, Sony, UE amongst several others.
If you think you are an audiophile and require the best and have the budget to support that, then I would reccommend that you can stop reading this any further, you already have your option quite explicitly laid out.


The Homepod connects to only Apple devices, Mac Sierra or iOS 11.2.5 and later. If you have any other device you are out of luck. However, rewind a couple of years, I had a wonderful wireless music system setup with my existing Home Hi-Fi system. It had an iPaq that connected to the internet and played an internet stream using the Windows Mobile Media Player, the headphone out of this device was connected to the Hi-Fi system and acted as the AUX input - Instant Wireless Streaming system. If you have an older iPod Touch or iPhone, you can simply use that.

There are times when you do not want the music playing in the middle of the house and the phone speakers are only as good as they are. In such scenarios there are options like the UE range of speakers that connect via BT and they can also work in chain mode (with upto 2). I have a much simpler and cheaper option that works quite well with the Plox Siren. These are amazing little speakers that somehow are not very well known or popular. They are an Australian product that I beleive originated in Melbourne) the novelty is the way you switch the speakers on and off. They are simple to operate and are the best companion for bathroom audio - I believe they are not waterproof, so think twice before you take them into the shower. There are other Waterproof options like the UE.

These little beauties are/were available for around $40 (AUD) and if you search a Harvey Norman bargain bin, you could even find these for around $10.


The new speakers with Alexa, Google or Siri are voice controlled, they rely on specifics to work. Apple Siri works with Apple Music, however I had spend a lot of money to buy CD's and source my music that I find it quite criminal to buy a subscription to the music I already own or that I cannot play the music that I own that cannot be sourced from Apple Music. So I prefer using other options, one of which is WinAmp and/or VLC. These can be controlled via the standard Apple Keyboards and apps on the iOS devices. In addition to all of that many of the tracks might not benefit from voice commands either.

In summary

I shall get an Alexa and Google Home for comparison in an upcoming review. Till then I can say that AUD $499 can get you the Bose QC35 II which you can use more often and it has the Google Voice Control built-in. These are noise cancelling and light, you can carry them everywhere. In the past I have had desktop speakers from Logitech but haven't used them for the simple reason that they needed to be either kept on all the time or plugin and switch on as required. The wireless speakers are an advantage as they are always on and do away with the hassle of connecting physically. I can change the source between my devices in under 5 seconds. The HomePod software is a bit buggy and loses connection or does not display - that's for another review. It would have been nice to be able to plug in (aux input) but it seems that Apple has really cut the 3.5 Headphone Jack connector and also the USB connector.

A walled garden shall definitely keep visitors out, which might not be such a good idea in this case of HomePods, this shall therefore provide an opportunity to other manufacturers to step in and claim the segments left out. At this time, there is no speaker that can match the Apple HomePod 1 to 1 in quality, however if all you need is an extension of your music in the garden or on the patio, then the HomePod might not be the ideal solution (as yet) However 5 of the Cheaper $50-$100 Bluetooth speakers might work much better.