Use cordless

Libratone Zipp 2

Siri's home

Apple HomePod

Thanks to AirPlay 2 integration, you can use the Libratone Zipp 2 just as you would an Apple HomePod speaker within reason. In this case, however, Alexa, not Siri is the star of the show.

$299 at Amazon

Pros

  • Portable, offers 12 hours between charges
  • Works with Alexa for voice control
  • Part of Libratone's growing speaker family

Cons

  • Touch Surface learning curve
  • Key limits for Apple-only users

For those tied exclusively to the Apple ecosystem, the HomePod is the way to go. Featuring Siri and Apple Music integration, this smart speaker provides a beautiful, yet largely closed experience.

$299 at Apple

Pros

  • Built-in Apple Music integration
  • Compatible with HomeKit
  • Siri, baby

Cons

  • Need to AirPlay other music streaming services
  • Only compatible with Apple devices
  • No Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Older of the two devices

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.

Libratone Zipp 2 Apple HomePod
Dimensions 10.3 inches high by 4.8 inches wide 6.8 inches high by 5.6 inches wide
Weight 3.3 pounds 5.5 pounds
Portable Yes No
Digital Assistant Alexa Siri
Siri and HomeKit integration Yes Yes
Mics 6 6
Touch Surface Yes Yes
Multi-speaker support Yes Yes
Colors 4 2
Bluetooth yes, Bluetooth 4.1 Not turned on
Apple Music through AirPlay 2 Built-in
Spotify Connect Yes No
AirPlay 2 Yes Yes
Smart Home compatible HomeKit HomeKit
Platform compatibility iOS and Android Apple only
Release February 2019 February 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.

Our choice

Libratone Zipp 2

Colorful and powerful solution

With Alexa and Apple HomeKit integration plus fantastic internals, the Libratone Zipp 2 is the ideal choice for most home users.

For fanboys

Apple HomePod

Terrific audio

For Siri-only households that listen to Apple Music exclusively, you can't do better than Apple HomePod. Still, you might want to wait for the next-generation model to arrive.

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