KitSound Voice One

THIS DIS­TINC­TIVE SPEAKER HAS SOME NEAT TRICKS, BUT WE’D HOPED FOR BET­TER SOUND

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS -

The Alexa-pow­ered Voice One costs the same as a reg­u­lar Ama­zon Echo – but with plenty of orig­i­nal de­sign touches, it’s an in­ter­est­ingly dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion.

For a start, the Voice One is rel­a­tively large: it’s taller than an Echo Plus, with a foot­print al­most as big as the Ap­ple HomePod’s. The LED ring on the front is sur­rounded by a vol­ume dial, and ashes when you turn it.

Above it, there’s a mi­cro­phone mute but­ton – the light ring turns red when the Voice One isn’t lis­ten­ing – while be­low a source but­ton lets you switch be­tween Alexa, Blue­tooth and 3.5mm line in­puts. At the bot­tom sits a play/ pause con­trol, along with a KitSound logo that pulses in time to the beat.

In Wi-Fi mode, the Voice One can do most of the things we ex­pect from Alexa; you can stream mu­sic from Ama­zon and Spo­tify, and via the KitSound app you can also ac­cess Ti­dal and Nap­ster. That points to an in­her­ent ir­ri­ta­tion of third-party Echo de­vices, though: set­tings and fea­tures are in­evitably split be­tween the of cial Alexa app and the man­u­fac­turer’s own soft­ware.

There are also a few no­table fea­tures miss­ing: you can’t make calls to other Echo de­vices, and nor can you change the wake word – for bet­ter or worse, you’re stuck with “Alexa”. On the up­side, there’s a graphic equaliser built into the KitSound app, which you don’t get with Ama­zon gear – and un­usu­ally there’s a re­mote con­trol in the box too, which pro­vides a civilised al­ter­na­tive to shout­ing at the thing, and lets you switch in­put sources and mute the mi­cro­phone with­out leav­ing your seat. Most ex­cit­ingly, if you own more than one Voice One speaker, you can set them up as a stereo pair. This takes a bit of ddling in the app, but it’s well worth it: in­stantly, the sound gains a sense of space and depth, and seems to come from all around rather than em­a­nat­ing from a sin­gle point. The Voice One speak­ers go jolly loud, so they re­ally can ll a room in more than one sense.

Sad to say, the sound qual­ity isn’t all that great. The bass is quite weak and appy, and there’s a de nite box­i­ness to the mid-range. It’s hard to say that it’s more en­joy­able over­all than Echo, which is a dis­ap­point­ment con­sid­er­ing the much big­ger en­clo­sure. That be­ing the case, it’s a toss-up. The Voice One’s re­mote con­trol and stereo op­tion are cer­tainly ap­peal­ing for the price, but you’ll have to de­cide whether that’s worth the trade-off of miss­ing fea­tures and a frag­mented app ex­pe­ri­ence. $87 • www.ama­zon.com

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