If you’re a devoted iOS fan, using HomeKit to power your smart home is an easy choice. Not only does it play well with other Apple devices, but HomeKit is compatible with a bunch of third-party products -- and that selection should only grow more enticing as Matter continues to gain momentum in 2023.
Before you can set up a smart home with HomeKit, you’ll need to get a HomeKit hub to serve as the brains of the operation. Your options are a bit more limited than they are for Alexa or Google Asisstant, but here’s a look at the best HomeKit hubs of 2023.
- Computational audio optimizes the experience
- Clean-sounding highs and mids
- Compact size makes it discrete
- It's the most affordable HomeKit home hub
- Siri lacks the advanced intelligence of its competitors
- Short power cord
Unlike Amazon Alexa and Google Asisstant, you won’t find many smart speakers that play nicely with HomeKit. Thankfully, HomePod mini more than makes up for the dearth of options. It’s available in a wide array of colors and boasts a sleek design that should fit into most households without clashing with your décor. It’s designed to work seamlessly with iPhone and other HomeKit devices, giving you quick and easy access to everything in your smart home. The icing on the cake is the $99 price tag -- and despite its reasonable price, you’ll still be treated to premium audio that can churn out some impressive tunes.
Apple TV 4K
- Lightning quick navigation
- Gorgeous Audio and Video output
- Extremely Powerful
- Intuitive, uncluttered interface
- Several features exclusive to Apple users
Although smart speakers are typically used as smart home hubs, the Apple TV 4K is actually a great alternative. Since it’s often placed in a central location in your home (that is, right next to your TV), Apple TV 4K is in a prime position to hear your voice commands and take control of your smart devices. Beyond serving as a HomeKit hub, the Apple TV 4K lets you access some of today’s most popular streaming services (such as Apple TV, Netflix, and Prime Video) and comes with a versatile remote control for easy access.
Apple iPad Pro
- Sleek and modern design
- Bright, vivid, gorgeous display
- Wild performance from the M2 chip
- Apple Pencil hover feature
- iPadOS 16 is super robust
- Stage Manager needs more work
- Lackluster, awkward front camera
- Prohibitively expensive
Although there are a few caveats to work around, your trusty iPad can double as a HomeKit hub. Consider using this for your hub if you don’t need a standalone device such as a smart speaker, or if you love the portability and versatility offered by this powerful tablet. It's important to note that iPads are much more expensive than both the HomePod mini and Apple TV 4K, so only consider this option if you also need a tablet (or can find a refurbished one at a great discount).
- Great sound quality
- Incredible bass performance
- Dazzling Spatial Audio surround
- Plug and Play wireless
- Slick design
- Limited connection options
- No direct Spotify playback
Need something with a bit more power than the HomePod mini? Consider stepping up to the new-and-improved HomePod. The latest version of the beloved device is a bit pricey at $299, but benefits from high-quality audio (thanks to a four-inch high-excursion woofer and an array of five tweeters) that’s loud enough to fill the entire room. It also boasts Room Sensing technology and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos to help optimize its performance regardless of where it’s placed. Beyond enhanced audio and a larger footprint, everything that makes the HomePod mini so special is available in the HomePod, such as full support for HomeKit, Siri, and easy integration with other iOS devices.
Once you've installed your HomeKit hub, you're ready to sync it with all the HomeKit-compatible gadgets in your house. If you need help figuring out which products are best for this ecosystem, be sure to check out our roundup of the best HomeKit devices available today. You'll also want to keep a close eye on Matter – which is expected to make waves throughout the rest of 2023.
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