One of the growing trends of the year is voice control. Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri are all facing off to control your devices by chatting to you, and we're seeing other tech brands choosing sides.
The Harman Kardon Allure is the latest smart speaker to plant its flag in Amazon's camp. It's been announced at technology trade show IFA in Berlin, and like some other smart speakers at the show it's controlled by Alexa. (We've also seen .)
All you have to do is say "Alexa, play music" and your tunes will flow forth.You can specify the music you want or let Alexa choose something, and you can also ask it to read the news, control your smart home devices, buy stuff from Amazon Prime or activate Alexa skills.
On the subject of voice control systems, Harman also produces the budget JBL brand, including the wallet-friendly JBL Link smart speaker also announced at IFA. For the Link, Harman opted for Alexa's voice control rival Google Assistant. Make of that what you will.
The round Allure pumps out 360-degree sound, so you can hear it no matter where you are in the room. You'll also see it: It glows with multicoloured ambient light that reacts to your voice commands and pulses along with the rhythm of the music it's playing.
The Harman Kardon Allure goes on sale by the end of the year for £250 -- that UK price converts to about $320 or AU$410, but local prices will vary. That is substantially more than an actual Amazon Echo ($11 at Walmart) speaker with Alexa, but Harman is a more established audio company so is likely to offer better sound quality.
- Amazon Alexa voice control
- Dual-band Wi-Fi
- Far-field Voice Recognition
- Built-in four-microphone array with advanced noise cancellation
- 360-degree sound
- Ambient lighting
- Wireless Bluetooth streaming