CNET First Look
Meet Invoke, a Cortana-enabled smart speakerHarman Kardon's Invoke brings Microsoft's Cortana to the smart speaker.
[MUSIC] Microsoft's answer to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri is finally here. Meet Invoke. This Cortana enabled smart speaker built by Harman Kardon costs $199. And will be available in the US October 22. The two companies partnered to built a smart speaker with the audio quality of Harman/Kardon and the brains of Microsoft Window 10 assistant. Invokes metal outer body has the end finish you'd expect from Harmon?kardon. At the top of the speaker, a smooth turning volume ring and touch pad act as user interfaces while LEDs indicate Cortana's activity. The Invoke's sound quality is noticeably better than the Echos. A deeper, fuller bass and crisp treble makes music, call audio, and Cortana's voice sounds rich and clear. Voice control gets a boost from a seven microphone system with two audio pipelines, so Cortana can hear you from across the room or over music. Invoke's integration with Skype comes with free unlimited calls within the US. Pair your phone via Bluetooth, and once your contacts have synced, it's easy to make a call with Cortana commands. Hey, Cortana! Call Andrew Gerhard. Calling Andrew Gerhard. Hey there's a danger. Cortona has just a handful of skills for the smart home at the moment. We've tested Philips hue lighting and the nest thermos set E. Both responded quickly and accurately to Cortona commands, though Philips' hue account connection was a bit tricky to configure. Overall, Microsoft and micro carbon are headed in the right direction. With a growing skill set, attractive design, and premium audio the Invoke is a real contender in the smart speaker game. [MUSIC]