The good speaker section has solely lately begun gaining traction in India, ever since Amazon formally launched its Echo line of audio system final October, adopted by Google with its Home sequence of good audio system earlier this month. Both corporations have their very own AI assistants, which let you do issues like set reminders, stream music from the Internet, and even management the lights in your home.
Google and Amazon develop and promote their very own audio system to convey their assistants into your house, however have additionally licensed their respective AI assistants to different speaker producers. Harman Kardon launched its Alexa-powered Allure speaker in India again in December, and we lastly have one in our lab for evaluation. Priced at Rs. 22,490, it’s fairly a bit dearer than Amazon’s top-end Echo Plus mannequin, so let’s see if the premium is price it or not.
Harman Kardon Allure design
The Allure has a fairly funky, eye-catching design which is bound to show heads. In reality, it reminds us a number of the woofer of Harman Kardon’s SoundSticks speaker set, which has been pretty common through the years. The Allure is heavy at 2.5kg, however that’s not likely a difficulty because it is not supposed to be moveable.
The backside half of the speaker is a steel grille for sound to return by. The higher half is a clear plastic case so you may see the pulsating LEDs, which glow when music is enjoying. However, the lights do not sync to the beat of your music. You have the choice to show this off by the HK Alexa Setup app.
The prime of the speaker has contact delicate zones and an LED-lit ring, which prompts once you use the new phrase ‘Alexa’. You can manually summon Alexa by touching the ‘circle’ within the centre too. There’s a touch-sensitive quantity management strip right here, and a button to mute the microphones. You get an influence indicator going through forwards on the backside, and the facility inlet is on the again. The Allure will also be used as a Bluetooth speaker, for which there is a devoted touch-sensitive backlit pairing button.
The Allure is extraordinarily properly constructed and appears actually elegant. The distinguished rubber toes assist it keep planted on a desk or the ground. In the field, you get the quick-start information, guarantee pamphlet, and a comparatively fats energy brick.
Harman Kardon Allure efficiency
Audio is dealt with by three full-range, 1.5-inch drivers firing outwards, together with a three.5-inch subwoofer that fires downwards. Unlike the speaker association on the Amazon Echo Plus, the subwoofer within the Allure fires immediately on the floor beneath, which pushes it outwards, and is why the bass sounds so significantly better. At the identical time, you additionally should be cautious the place the speaker is positioned as at excessive volumes, the bass from the subwoofer could cause undesirable vibrations. Your finest guess is to position it on the ground, or a sturdy desk.
The Allure has a rated frequency response of 40Hz to 20,000Hz and makes use of Bluetooth four.2. It additionally has dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac for connecting to the Internet. The speaker doesn’t appear to help any high-resolution audio codecs for Bluetooth streaming, and once we linked it a Google Pixel 2 XL (Review), it defaulted to the SBC codec. We examined the Allure operating firmware v5009.145, however it did get an replace to v5507.150 throughout our evaluation interval.
Setting up the Allure isn’t very easy. You’ll want the HK Alexa Setup app to attach the speaker to your house Wi-Fi community, after which you’ll have the ability to use it by the Amazon Alexa app for Android or iOS. The HK app didn’t play good with our Xiaomi Mi Router 3C (Review) however labored high-quality in all places else. The app is required to determine the preliminary connection, replace firmware, set the language for Alexa, and sign up to your Amazon account. Actions resembling enabling expertise and establishing dwelling automation might be accomplished by the Amazon Alexa app.
One subject we confronted immediately was the unresponsiveness of the contact buttons. It took a few presses earlier than the ‘Alexa’ button activated. It was the identical with the Bluetooth button and we needed to battle a bit to get the speaker into pairing mode, which requires a long-press. The button to mute the microphone labored higher. It’s additionally onerous to get the precise quantity stage you’re on the lookout for on the primary strive, because the contact panel isn’t as correct as a bodily dial can be.
We discovered that Alexa labored decently once we requested it to carry out easy duties resembling creating reminders or a to-do record, and enjoying music. It’s nonetheless a bit behind Google Assistant in sure circumstances like dealing with contextual searches properly. Things just like the capacity to play a recreation, for instance, require you to allow that specific talent from inside the app.
By default, there’s Saavn and Amazon Music for enjoying music, NDTV for information briefings, and Amazon’s personal app for the climate, however you may add much more. Some expertise resembling Uber require extra login particulars in order that Alexa is aware of your ‘Home’ and ‘Work’ addresses. There are loads of different localised apps together with Ola, Syska Smart Home, Zomato, and so forth.
You can’t make voice calls or ship messages utilizing voice instructions by the speaker but, however you may by the Alexa app. The contact you’re calling additionally must have an Alexa-enabled system for a name to undergo. When streaming music over a Bluetooth connection, the Allure would not allow you to use Alexa to alter the monitor, which is one thing you are able to do with an Echo speaker. We did tinker a bit with dwelling automation utilizing a Syska SmartGentle, which labored properly and is one thing we might completely get used to.
We have been in a position to make use of the Allure to play music on one other system such because the Echo Plus on the identical community. However, once we tried to do the identical by the Echo Plus, it wasn’t in a position to detect the Allure. According to Harman’s FAQ webpage, The Allure is not outfitted for multi-room audio but, which might be why Echo units cannot detect it.
The Allure has 4 microphones for far-field voice recognition, however sadly, we didn’t discover them to be delicate sufficient relating to waking up Alexa. In a quiet room, it labored alright, however typically the place there’s ambient sound round the home, we normally needed to say the phrase a number of occasions earlier than it was detected. If you’ve got music enjoying at a excessive quantity, it’s practically unimaginable for the speaker to listen to you. In comparability, we discovered the Echo Plus with its seven-mic array much better at receiving instructions. The firmware replace we acquired throughout our evaluation interval (v5507.150) appeared to enhance the efficiency on this division a bit.
On the opposite hand, one factor the Allure did properly is produce room-filling sound. Audio has a heat tone to it and there’s ample bass that may be felt even at decrease volumes. The sonic signature isn’t very balanced although, and the bass tends to overpower vocals and mids at larger quantity ranges. The Allure manages to remain distortion-free even at full quantity, however the bass feels too boomy. The mid-range has element however instrument separation can be onerous to make out at occasions. The highs are dealt with properly with out sounding shrill. Also, because the drivers fireplace in all instructions, there is no particular candy spot for you’re listening to music.
Harman Kardon has definitely chosen an apt identify for its speaker. The general design with the clear prime and tender pulsating lights makes it very alluring certainly. Build high quality is great, and it will look simply nearly as good on a desk as in your bed room. We like the quantity of bass it will probably put out, which is lots higher that what the Echo Plus delivers. The heat sonic signature can be a plus.
However, Alexa integration is likely one of the predominant promoting factors of the Allure, and easily put, it doesn’t work fairly in addition to Amazon’s personal Echo units. The sensitivity of the contact buttons is an issue, and getting the speaker to recognise its personal hot-phrase from a distance is tough. Plus, the Allure would not fairly have all of the performance of the Echo simply but.
Then, there’s the worth. At Rs. 22,499 in India, it’s about Rs. 7,500 dearer than the Echo Plus. If you completely want the upper quantity ranges and thumping bass, then the Allure beats the Echo Plus arms down. However, for all the pieces else, you’re higher off with Amazon’s system, and the cash you save can be utilized so as to add extra IoT units to your house.
Price: Rs. 22,499
- Eye-catching design
- Powerful bass
- Warm sonic signature
- Touch buttons aren’t very responsive
- Bass might be overpowering
- A bit costly
Ratings (Out of 5)
- Design: four
- Performance: three.5
- Value for cash: three
- Overall: three.5
Adapted From: Gadgets360