Smart Speaker Review: Affordable, Portable Alexa-Enabled Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Amazon Alexa is great; I have a device in every room of my house. But that doesn't mean each device has to be from Amazon. The iLive Concierge Wireless Speaker with Amazon Alexa ($65) has earned a nice place right between Amazon's low-end and high-end speakers, and it adds a twist. When Amazon got rid of the Tap, it also stopped selling any kind of Alexa device that was battery operated. I find that too limiting.

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The Concierge is battery operated, with up to five hours in Bluetooth mode, but just a one to two hours in Wi-Fi mode. Still, that should be plenty for a dinner party on the patio or by the pool. Amazon and Google have added fabric to many of their technology gadgets and iLive matches that with the Concierge's cloth exterior. iLive even offer a rose-gold option for a little more. The device even supports iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, and TIDAL. Keep in mind that the speaker requires using the free iLive app, as opposed to the Amazon Alexa app.

Pros

  • Portable operation
  • Voice-activated Amazon Alexa integration
  • Bluetooth or wired option
  • Fabric exterior
  • Supports iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify and TIDAL
  • Multi-room capability

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Uses iLife app, not Amazon Alexa

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a voice-enabled wireless smart speaker, look no further. The Concierge Wireless Speaker with Amazon Alexa from iLive should meet your needs. 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.