>>>I fervently believe that the HomePod 2 more than justifies its higher price tag<<<
It does. It is a bit out of reach for me right now but that doesn’t mean it’s not priced correctly. It is for what is when someone in the Apple eco is looking for a premium sound quality.
The argument HP G2 is too much is often made using the 199 price tag of the Amazon Echo Studio. First, anyone doubt that the HP will last longer than the Echo Studio? Anyone have any doubt that besides bass thump, the HP is best sound? Anyone have any doubt you’re getting a discount by Amazon getting your data (that will surely result in more purchases)? The Echo is directional, HP is 360 but recognizes if against a wall to adjust. The HP is more aesthetically pleasing imho.
A premium sound, smart speaker will cost you. Smallest of increments in premium sound cause the price to rise quick.