Last year I reviewed a small Alexa-enabled speaker from FABRIQ. (Read the review.) I was impressed but wished it had the voice-enabled feature that makes my Amazon Echo so great. Now FABRIQ has released an updated device. The Chorus is bigger, sounds better and is voice activated. It is Amazon Alexa-enabled AND Bluetooth and costs under $100.
FABRIQ’s Chorus Alexa-enabled, Bluetooth speaker, is a “smart speaker that, “combines the voice-activated Alexa service powered by far-field voice recognition with high-quality sound and multi-room connectivity.”
The previous speaker from FABRIQ was the Riff. It was just $49.99. It sounded pretty impressive, especially for something as small as the Riff, but it required the press of a button to activate Alexa. (In this way it was similar to the Amazon Echo Tap before a recent update that enabled voice activation.)
The new Chorus takes a different approach. While it still has an internal battery so it can be used away from an outlet, it is always listening so you can activate Alexa with just your voice.
That means you can say, “Alexa” and then ask the speaker to play music, check the weather, place calls and more. Better still, as the press release notes, “Alexa can hear voice requests even when the music is playing and can be activated using the awake word “Alexa.”
Built-in bluetooth and Wi-Fi allow you to stream music from most major services and have access to your music on the go.
Of course, in addition to using wifi to connect to Amazon’s Alexa service and its ability to stream music from a wide array of streaming music sources, the Chorus also has Bluetooth so you can connect and phone, tablet or computer and stream from that.
But there’s more. The Chorus ships with the Chorus speaker, a wall adapter, and a charging base. The speaker sits on the base most of the time and charges as it does. But, if you want to take the Chorus to another room, or even outside, all you need to do is pick up the speaker from its base and take it where you want.
When you do, you will get up to 6 hours of battery life before you need to put the speaker back on its charging base.
The Chorus works with the Alexa system so you can control it by voice. It also works with the FABRIQ app that is available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.
Also, there are controls along the rubber strip on the side.
A button for pairing, a button to turn off the always-on voice control, a micro-USB charging port (if you are away from the charging base) and a reset button are hidden behind the lower part of the rubber control strip.
Sound matters and the Chorus delivers on that as well. It puts out 8 watts of power thanks to two drivers and a passive radiator. That means it can serve as a standalone speaker and do the job quite well. (In my testing, the sound from the Chorus was rather good for a speaker that is just $99 and is as small as it is. It won’t win any audiophile awards, but it is more than enough for casual home use.) Even more impressive is the fact that, as with the Amazon Echo since the recent update, you can now link multiple speakers for even bigger, or room to room, sound.
Use Chorus as your command center and pair it with our Riff speakers for an affordable whole home surround sound system.
It took some time for FABRIQ to release a voice-activated speaker but that was for specific reasons. The company took their time developing the chorus. As Jordon Sansom, Director of Marketing for FABRIQ explains,
We were able to deliver tremendous value when we launched the touch activated Riff last year, but knew we were leaving a large portion of the market untouched without a voice activated unit. We were building Chorus in tandem with Riff, but needed time to make sure the far field voice control technology worked in conjunction with Chorus’s speaker power. During this time, we were able to observe consumers reception to products on the market which helped to solidify what features we wanted to include in our all-in-one Alexa solution at the sub $100 price point.
So the Chorus offers good sound for something as small as it is, is voice-activated, offers connectivity to Amazon streaming Music and many other streaming services, has Bluetooth for streaming from phones, tablets, and computers can run on battery for up to six hours and can do multi-room music. What more could you want? Oh, yeah, decent aesthetics. The Amazon Echo is available in any color you want so long as you want black or white. The truth is, Amazon’s smart-speaker is understated in its appearance and is, I suspect, designed to disappear simply. Not so the FABRIQ Chorus. It will be available in four different patterns: Duke of Earl, Static, Quartz and Midnight Blue. And as if that were not enough, additional seasonal patterns will be available in coming months.
So the Chorus has all the features you find in the Amazon Tap, AND it looks quite pretty. All that and it is under $100!
- Audio: Two 2” precision active drivers and a 2” passive radiator combined with 8W of power to fill your room with rich sound
- Dimensions: 3.15” x 3.15” x 6.3”
- Weight: 540g
- Battery: Up to 6 hours, 7.4V (2200mAh Capacity)
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Voice-activated Alexa through far-field technology
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
To quote Jordon Sansom again,
There are several smart speakers currently on the market but each one seems to compromise an important feature. With Chorus, we set out to fulfill the consumer’s full wish list – excellent audio, the ability to link with other smart speakers, the ability to play music from major streaming services, voice control and affordability – all without breaking the bank. We have seen the profound impact voice has had on the adoption of smart home technology and we will continue to advance our technology as we further grow the FABRIQ brand.
Here’s a video of the FABRIQ Chorus:
I love my Amazon Echo and Echo Dots. They control our lights, our ceiling fans and the temperature of our homes. They are our morning alarm clock and our “fall-asleep” music player. They tell us stupid jokes each night and provide the weather each morning. They do all this by simply telling the Echo what we want to do or know. But my Amazon Echo is a boring black, needs to be plugged in and sounds decent but not good. The FABRIQ Chorus does everything my Amazon Echo can do while also having the benefit of fun aesthetics, better sound and the ability to pick up the Chorus and, for example, take it into the bathroom when I am showering. And did I mention… it is under 100 dollars!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the FABRIQ Chorus
What I Like: Does everything the Amazon Echo does but with style; Offers better sound than my Echo; Can be used away from the charging base for up to six hours; Is under $100; Can be paired with other devices for multiform sound
What Needs Improvement: Nothing. I am quite happy with what FABRIQ has done here