FABRIQ Is a Smart Speaker at an Even Smarter Price

To call the FABRIQ speaker cute is a fair assessment. It is fair… but it is incomplete. Because while the FABRIQ is a small, cute, Bluetooth speaker, it is also a smart speaker that integrates with Amazon Alexa, has an affordable $49 price, and offers multi-speaker connectivity. Those last two points, price, and multi-speaker connectivity are an especially nice combination.

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Reviewing the $49 FABRIQ has been a challenge. For some reason, this particular speaker makes my golden doodle puppy Nava go crazy. Nava doesn’t bark at AudioEngine speaker. She doesn’t bark at Sonos. She doesn’t bark at Libratone. But turn on the FABRIQ review sample, and Nava starts barking. I’m not sure why this happens and it certainly isn’t a knock on the speaker, but it made for a difficult time reviewing it. I was finally able to spend some time in a room with the dog locked away and… I’m impressed.

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In keeping with its name, the FABRIQ is a small speaker covered in a variety of fabric materials. There’s the FABRIQ Splat, the FABRIQ Earl Grey, the FABRIQ Jack Plaid and the FABRIQ Splat. The various offerings mean you can get an unusual looking speaker that fits your style. And since they are under $50, it isn’t crazy to pick up more than one.

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This is key since, despite its small size, this speaker is multi-room capable and offers WiFi enabled for multiroom streaming. Buy one for each room, and you can get the music playing throughout your home for a surprisingly small price.

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The style aspect of the speaker isn’t simply fabric-deep.

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The FABRIQ name is embossed in rubber on one side of the speaker and the controls are part of a second rubber band that runs from top to bottom on the speaker.

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There is a play/pause, volume up, volume down and a special voice button that we will discuss in a moment.

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The rubber also extends to the bottom of the speaker and gives it a no-slip grip. Just above the rubber base is a light ring.

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It can glow a number of colors depending on your mood or, with one more push of the button that sits beneath the rubber control strip.

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As if it weren’t impressive enough that this small — it is just 3.15” x 3.15” x 3.15” and weighs just over 10 ounces — has both a WiFi and a Bluetooth chip inside, it also packs both a 2” driver and a 2” passive bass radiator so you get a surprising amount of bass from a small speaker that punches out 5W of power. Oh, and it gets up to 5 hours of playback per charge with the charging port hidden behind a rubber flap.

For those who love numbers:

  • The FABRIQ offers a maximum sound level of 92dBA and a frequency range of 60Hz – 18kHz.
  • WiFi is 802.11b/g/n – 2.4 GHz.
  • Bluetooth is v2.1 + EDR

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The real trick served up by the FABRIQ, however, comes into focus when you start looking at its integration with Amazon Alexa. This little speaker is a great companion device if you, like me, have become one of the growing number of devoted Alexa users. With a simple tap (yes, the is akin to the Echo Tap which requires a physical tap of a button to activate Alexa) you can connect to Amazon Voice Services and, for example, ask Alexa to play music, hear the news, check the weather, control your smart home, and more. It is a bit of a bummer that you need to tap a button to activate Alexa but it makes sense since this speaker is portable. Having the upstream to Alexa always running would kill battery life. This way you get Alexa on demand without the connection to Amazon Voice Services killing the battery.

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The fact that FABRIQ runs Alexa Voice services is surprising. Also surprising is its extensive ability to offer multi-room connectivity. By connecting multiple FABRIQ speakers —up to 10!! — to the FABRIQ app available bit through the App Store and the Google Play store, you can combine and control all of the speakers to get truly huge and immersive sound. It’s pretty impressive!

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So let’s run this down. The FABRIQ comes in a variety of fabrics, has multi-room capability, is WiFi enabled for multiroom streaming, is portable, has Bluetooth for streaming and offers Alexa voice services. And it is under $50. Considering the new Amazon is usually $49.99 (it is currently on sale for $39.99) and doesn’t have a speaker for anything other than notifications, this speaker is a bargain.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  1. AUDIO:
    Maximum Sound Level: 92dBA, Frequency Range: 60Hz – 18kHz
    Drivers: A 2” Precision active driver and a 2” passive radiator combined with 5W of power fill your room with rich sound.
  2. SIZE: 3.15” x 3.15” x 3.15” (80 x 80 x 80mm)
  3. WEIGHT: 10.6oz (300g)
  4. BATTERY LIFE: Up to 5 hours, 3.7V(1400mAh Capacity)
  5. WIFI CONNECTIVITY: 802.11b/g/n – 2.4 GHz
  6. BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY: v2.1 + EDR
  7. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iOS & Android

I’m impressed by this little speaker. No, thanks to Nava I can’t use it at home, but that’s okay since I’m perfectly happy to use it in my study at the synagogue. After all, I had been thinking about wanting to add some Alexa functionality to my office anyway, and the FABRIQ is a good start! Check it out here. Get it here on Amazon. [Affiliate link]

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Small; Various styles available; Packs a punch; Sounds pretty impressive, especially for something this size; Can be controlled with the free app; Using the app you can connect up to 10 speakers; Connects to Amazon Alexa Services

What Needs Improvement: The charging port is hidden behind a rubber flap which makes it difficult to keep plugged in all the time; Need to push the button to activate Alexa

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.