Howdy all, I got a HomePod Mini very recently for my study (the audio quality is great and hand-off is magical) and to replace my iPad as the main HomeKit controller for my house (we use HomeKit mainly for Presence detection which is IMO best in class).
We also have a dozen Amazon Echo's of various flavors around the house (they are very good and my family loves them). However, I had never tried using my HomePod Mini for voice commands until today .... Holy Crap they are fast!!! I mean really significantly faster than the Echo's at carrying out commands.
eg Lights On/Off:
Alexa - Echo Dot Gen2 = 1.5-2.5 seconds
HomePod Mini = too fast to measure!!!
I'm guessing this is due to the HomePod's being powered by Apple's powerful A8 SoC to perform most of the processing locally. In comparison iirc Echo's rely mostly on cloud-based processing.
I'd love to replace the rest of my Echo Dot's with HomePod Mini's but at triple the price of what I've previously bought the Dot's for I doubt I'll be doing that any time soon. Plus my wife and kids use the Alexa Shopping list and "find answers" functions extensively.
PS, Im using "Homebridge v2" on Hubitat to connect to my HomeBridge server.