At WWDC Apple said that Siri is now going to speak more coherently and smoothly, as it will be generated by the neural network in real-time. Just remembered that the Russian service Alice this problem was not. Explorer “360” decided to spend a few days with Alice in the column Elari SmartBeat and came to the conclusion that it is not ready to part with it.
Alice today is available to users as apps on your smartphone and different devices. One of them branded “Yandex. Station”, which is essentially a full-fledged multimedia website and even allows you to stream content on TV and a number of devices easier. One such device was the Bluetooth speaker Elari SmartBeat. Unlike the Station, which is almost 10 thousand rubles, Elari SmartBeat will be cheaper in six thousand roubles. It has another advantage — it is equipped with a battery, so that when desired it can be used even where there is no outlet, and Internet access to distribute example from a smartphone or 4G router.
Elari SmartBeat compact and lightweight — the size column more reminiscent of the mug. Despite the fact that it is assumed that the device will be controlled using the voice, the body still has a pair of buttons: power, mute, call Alice and adjust the volume. It is worth to pay attention to mute the microphone — it is implemented at the hardware level and should reassure those who fear for their privacy.
On the bottom hidden microUSB and AUX. Complete with Elari SmartBeat is only a USB cable, apparently it was intended to charge from a laptop, but today to find the unit from a smartphone or something is not a problem. Thanks to the battery capacity of 3200 mAh, the device can work without recharging up to 5 hours in wifi mode and up to 8 hours when connected via Bluetooth.
To connect the speaker to your home Wi-Fi network, it must first be paired with a phone, that needs to be installed in the application “Yandex”. There in the “Devices” section, it is necessary to choose the right model. The smartphone will offer step-by-step and very clear instructions. In the pairing process, the smartphone will emit a sharp and rather unpleasant sound, in which the column will be transferred to the data network Wi-Fi, as well as information about the account of “Yandex”. The entire setup procedure takes about three minutes.
Photo source: TV channel “360”
So Alice has heard your command, you must refer to it by name, for example “Alice, turn on the music” or “Alice, what’s the weather today?”. When Alice is active, the ring at the top of the column is highlighted in white. The voice assistant can set alarms or reminders, find information in “Yandex” search recipes, find nearby points of interest — from pizzerias to branch of the Pension Fund, which is especially useful for older people who find it difficult to gain such requests text. Along with the address of an object of interest Alice will report the schedule of his work and contact information. She can tell a joke or just fun to spar with someone. To understand all the features of Alice it is possible to ask and receive a complete answer.
You have to understand that the capabilities of Alice in the column slightly trimmed compared to Alice in smartphone. There she could call a taxi and to do more, utilizing related applications and services Yandex. But the entire multimedia part, including integration with “Yandex. Music” or playing of the online radio is more than affordable and comfortable. The team of “Alice, turn on the radio Capital FM” was my favorite every morning. It is very convenient that with Elari SmartBeat get a subscription on “Yandex. Music” and is free to listen to your favorite tracks or radio without ads.
It is important to remember that when asking Alice to turn the sound off, it disables it at the hardware level, and do not turn back without very specific team, a simple “Alice, turn on the radio”, there is not enough. A couple of times I forgot about it, and I was so pissed that nothing was included. So if you want to stay in silence, better to ask to turn off the radio or music. Or just ask to turn it down.
Elari SmartBeat is equipped with broadband loudspeaker 5 watts in a small room, it resource is more than enough to fill the space. But at maximum volume inevitably emerge blemishes resembling that before us still interesting gadget, not a specialized sound system. Some experts noted that when on full volume the sound column begins to fidget on the table and vibrate, but in my case this has not been noticed. Rubber ring on the bottom hides all the vibration and the column is stable.
Photo source: TV channel “360”
Perhaps the only thing I missed during testing, and this claim is not to Elari SmartBeat, and Alice is the aggregation service knowledge about me. Funny, but that’s exactly what the paranoid fear from IT, they say the service will know about my habits and all of this information is available to who knows who. But perhaps, that from the Concierge service (a voice assistant of the house in the future is destined to become something of a Concierge service) are you waiting for exactly this. Expect he will remember your favorite music, your preferences, as you call your dog and discern the voice of family members, creating each individual profile.
Instead, you communicate with Alice every time like the first. Like people suffering from amnesia, explaining everything from the beginning. But annoying this is for the reason that the voice command hooked and after a few days you catch yourself trying to include so ordinary radio or TV. And this is the level of user comfort, whether due to problems with localization, or even, for some, it is not able to provide Siri, and “Yandex” it is already happened.
As for the speakers Elari SmartBeat, it is a budget solution for those who want to understand how he as a whole comfortable existence in the same space with the voice assistant. For relatively little money — 5900 rubles — the user gets a helpful gadget with a very clever “brains” and a good set of features. And even if Alice “don’t go”, Elari SmartBeat can be used just as a compact wireless speaker. She and the quality is very good.
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