When reviewing the Orbi Voice a while back, I thought to myself “there’ll soon be a day somebody makes a competing product.” That day is today. Asus just now unveiled its Lyra Voice, the second Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) broadcaster on the market that also works as a smart speaker.
Lyra Voice: More than just an AiMesh extension
As the name suggests, the Lyra Voice is similar to a unit of the Lyra Trio. It’s a dual-band router that can also work as part of Asus’s popular AiMesh ecosystem. In other words, you can use it as a standalone router or as part of an AiMesh system.
RELATED: How Asus makes Wi-Fi awesome with AiMesh.
This ability alone makes the Lyra Voice more versatile than the Orbi Voice which can only work as a satellite of an Orbi router. But there’s more; you can also use the Lyra Voice as a standard access point (AP) or Wi-Fi extender. As a result, you can use it with any existing routers, including those from other vendors.
|Speaker||Two 8-Watt stereo speakers with two passive radiators|
|Alexa ability||Alexa Skills, Music services, Free audio calls to US, Mexico and Canada (availale in Q2 2019)|
|Controls smart home devices||Will be supported in Q1 2019|
|Microphone features||Far-field mic array, Echo cancellation, 360-degree sound detection|
|Wi-Fi standard||Tri-band AC2200 (Up to 687 Mbps on 5GHz and 400 Mbps on 2.4GHz)|
|Memory size (RAM/FLASH)||512MB/256MB|
|Ports||One Gigabit LAN port, one Gigabit WAN port|
|DC Power Adapter||AC Input: 110V~240V (50~60Hz) | DC Output: 19 V with max 2.375A|
|Features||AiMesh mode, Router/AP/Repeater mode, Spotify Connect|
So in short, this is a smart speaker that can also work as a router, an AiMesh point, an AP, or a generic Wi-Fi extender. Oh, there’s one more thing, you can use the Lyra Voice as a Bluetooth speaker, too.
By the way, when working as a router, according to Asus, the Lyra Voice has a similar feature set as that of other Asus routers, such as the RT-AC86U or RT-AC88U. Thus, you can expect useful features like Game Boost, AiProtection, Parental Controls, and more.
Lyra Voice: A formidable Amazon Echo alternative
The biggest thing about the Lyra Voice, however, is the fact it’s also an Alexa-enabled smart speaker. It works like an Amazon Echo but likely with a higher volume and better sound quality. Asus says you can use the Lyra Voice to ask Alexa anything as well as controlling other smart home devices.
To hear your inputs, the Lyra Voice has a pair of microphones with 360-degree, far-field voice detection. According to Asus, these mics are capable of picking up commands across the room. They can also pick users’ voices out of a noisy ambient environment thanks to their enhanced noise cancellation and background-noise filtering capabilities.
As a speaker, the Lyra Voice has two built-in stereo speakers, two passive radiators and bass reflex ports. Consequently, it can extend the resonance of low-frequency sound.
Additionally, Asus says the speakers feature DTS surround-sound technology and “have been tuned by expert audio engineers on the Asus Golden Ear team to ensure they deliver maximum audio fidelity.” The result? The company claims the Lyra Voice will deliver “natural, full-sounding audio that’s incredibly spacious and immersive.”
Availability and pricing
If you’re curious to check out the Lyra Voice, Asus is showcasing it at CES 2019 which takes place next week in Las Vegas.
Ready to get one? You won’t need to wait for a long. Asus says the device will be available as soon as the end of this month and will carry the suggested price of $219.99, some $80 less than the Orbi counterpart.
I’m not an audiophile, but the Lyra Voice sure seems like an exciting Wi-Fi device.