HomePod vs. Libratone Zipp: Which should you buy?

Smart speakers remain all the rage and are getting better with each new generation. These products aren't just voice assistants anymore, but rather fully-functional, powerhouse audio suppliers. The Libratone Zipp 2 and Apple HomePod are both excellent speakers that should give you years of enjoyment. In the end, however, one is a better fit for most users.

Time to compare

Like every other Apple product released on the planet, the HomePod smart speaker packs a punch when it comes to hardware design and features. To say this is the best smart speaker currently on the market for Apple fans would be appropriate. However, not everyone only uses Apple products. Some, for example, might own an iPhone, but like Spotify over Apple Music; others might not be crazy about Siri, Apple's voice assistant.

Being able to use the speaker anywhere without a cord might also be a factor. Because most people aren't exclusively tied to Apple, we recommend the Libratone Zipp 2 as your next smart speaker.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Libratone Zipp 2Apple HomePod
Dimensions10.3 inches high by 4.8 inches wide6.8 inches high by 5.6 inches wide
Weight3.3 pounds5.5 pounds
Digital AssistantAlexaSiri
Siri and HomeKit integrationYesYes
Touch SurfaceYesYes
Multi-speaker supportYesYes
Bluetoothyes, Bluetooth 4.1Not turned on
Apple Musicthrough AirPlay 2Built-in
Spotify ConnectYesNo
AirPlay 2YesYes
Smart Home compatibleHomeKitHomeKit
Platform compatibilityiOS and AndroidApple only
ReleaseFebruary 2019February 2018

The Libratone Zipp 2 offers many of the same features as the older Apple HomePod including AirPlay 2 and HomeKit compatibility. The non-Apple device also includes extra goodies such as portability, the ability to use through iOS and Android devices, and more. The Libratone Zipp 2 connects directly to Amazon Alexa in the same way that Siri is built into Apple HomePod.

You can use Alexa on the Zipp 2 just as you would with any Amazon Echo device. Features include the ability to ask Alexa to play music, read the news, set alarms and timers, answer questions, and the like. Additionally, you can use Alexa's long list of Skills that makes the experience even more powerful.

Unlike the stationary HomePod, the Zipp 2 features a rechargeable battery, allowing you to enjoy your tunes and other audio content for up to 12 hours between charges anywhere you'd like. Think July 4th next to the pool or while tailgating before the big game in the fall.

Beyond this, the Libratone Zipp 2 supports Apple AirPlay 2, which enables multi-room streaming via Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect up to 10 speakers. The speaker also features powerful surround-sound arrays and sports 360-degree FullRoom sound. The Libratone Zipp 2 has a 4-inch Neodymium woofer, two low-frequency radiators, and a 360-degree reflector. You'll also find a 6-speaker noise isolating microphone array with Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.

Are you looking for more?

The Zipp 2 is the flagship device in Libratone's speaker lineup that also includes the Zipp Mini 2, among others. As its name suggests, the Zipp Mini 2 is similar to the Zipp 2 but smaller. It also uses Apple's AirPlay 2 framework. To date, Apple only sells one HomePod, which is something to keep in mind.

The Zipp 2's touch interface at the top of the device is the one area where you might find a slight learning curve. From this interface, you can control music playback and volume, plus wake up the voice assistant. The interface also includes status indicator lights for the battery and firmware updates. After using the Libratone app to create, you can toggle through five of your favorite playlists from the interface. This favorites list can include internet radio stations and Spotify playlists.

As noted above, if you're exclusively using Apple products, it's a no-brainer that you should probably be using an Apple HomePod in your home. If you're listening to content from your iPhone or iPad, the HomePod will give you the best experience. It's a dedicated speaker that supports Siri for access to Apple Music and HomeKit-enabled devices. Because it's built with Siri inside, you can use it to play tunes through Apple Music, send messages, make phone calls, and much more.

Additional thoughts

Unfortunately, if you're an Android user or live in a mixed home where non-Apple devices are also used, you'll run into many limitations. For example, you can't connect it directly to Bluetooth devices, like a television, game console, or Android device. Though HomePod does have Bluetooth 5.0, it's not currently capable of streaming audio from Bluetooth devices.

There's also the age factor. HomePod was first announced in June 2017, although it wasn't released until the following February. The odds are growing that a second-generation HomePod could arrive in 2019. Whether this model is cordless or comes in multiple sizes isn't yet known.

The bottom line

I love both of these speakers, but flexibility is essential to me. Because of this, I recommend the Libratone Zipp 2 (and Mini 2) over the HomePod.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.