Have you been thinking about hiring an office assistant? Amazon has someone they think would be perfect for the job — their virtual voice assistant, Alexa.
I purchased the first generation Amazon Echo thinking it was the best Alexa-enabled speaker available — at the time, anyway. While the Echo does all right in a smaller room, the speaker is anemic at best. But I’ve had the opportunity to check out the KitSound Voice One Smart Speaker recently, and I’ve found it to be much better.
For all my grumbling about switching from Android to iOS, it’s really not so bad. The one thing I really missed was Google Assistant, but the JBL Link 20 is doing an excellent job of filling that gap. It’s a portable Bluetooth and WiFi speaker with Google Assistant built-in, so I can take my “Hey, Google” obsession all over the house!
I’m a huge fan of Ultimate Ears speakers. The UE MEGABOOM was close to perfection. It delivers huge, amazing sound, has great battery life and is waterproof. It is an amazing Bluetooth speaker and one I highly recommend. Now, however, the UE MEGABLAST is here. It improves on the MEGABOOM, which is still a great speaker, in almost every way.
On the surface, the smart speaker market is already pretty packed with competitors. The two most well-known of these, Google Home and Amazon Echo, dominate the market. So why would someone like Harman Kardon and Microsoft team up to create what is arguably a late entry into this competitive landscape?
It seems like everyone is coming out with smart speakers this fall. New to the game is 808 Audio. They recently released the XL-V Smart Speaker. It includes voice-control for Alexa, Bluetooth and is priced at $129. It looks similar to the original Amazon Echo, and it’s a good option if you are in the market for a smart speaker.
I’ve been a huge fan of Ultimate Ears speakers and have always impressed with both sound and aesthetics. In fact, the ROLL 2, BOOM 2 and MEGABOOM serve as our poolside speakers all summer long. (Check out all the reviews!) Now the company has announced the BLAST and MEGABLAST. They look amazing and have Amazon Alexa hands-free voice control baked in.
From the beginning, the JBL Pulse line has been made up of excellent portable speakers which happen to include a light show. But it wasn’t until the Pulse 3 that the design became sophisticated. The JBL Pulse 3 looks like the love child of a portable Bluetooth speaker and a fancier lava lamp, and it’s one pretty baby.
After years insisting their system be as closed as possible with regard to everything but the streaming music services with which it has partnered, Sonos has finally moved into the “smart speaker” space. With the launch of the Sonos One, Amazon Alexa will be available out of the box with support for Google Assistant sometime in 2018.
I love my Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and FABRIQ Speakers with Amazon Echo built in. Now Amazon has gone to town with not one, not two, but a host of new products that expand the Echo lineup. They look great, cover a lot of ground and I can’t wait to get my hands on a few of them.
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.
If you’ve got an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, then you’ve already found out that while intelligent speakers are okay, they usually aren’t that great to look at nor do they sound as amazing as one might hope.
It’s no secret that Amazon’s Echo devices are popular. The AI that powers the system, named Alexa, allows owners to do a lot of unique things, like ordering new products with voice commands or even controlling smart home technology. The space is really starting to get competitive with Google Home, and now what is rumored to be an Apple-branded smart voice assistant. That’s right — rumors claim Apple will be launching a smart speaker that will house Siri, the company’s own AI personality.
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.