At IFA 2018, radio specialist Pure marked the start of its voice-controlled voyage with the new DiscovR, an Alexa-enabled smart speaker that will be available in October for £230.
You know the drill: Alexa functionality means users can ask the speaker to do anything, from playing music and controlling other Alexa-compatible smart home products to reading the news and settings alarms.
Suspicious folk, or those who find Alexa pops up unprompted during conversation, will be pleased to know that when not in use, the DiscovR physically disconnects the microphones to offer total privacy from Alexa.
Basically, if you can shout commands at your wireless speaker to make it do things, it’s a smart speaker.
Smart speakers are most commonly wireless speakers (although smart soundbars exist too), and have one or more voice-controlled personal assistants built-in, with the most popular being Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant.
Apple’s Siri is the brains behind the HomePod speaker, however, while Cortana is Microsoft's offering and Samsung has Bixby.
For when voice commands aren’t practical, you can allocate any voice command, radio station or playlist to the four pre-set buttons on the top panel, where there’s also a button to mute the microphone, as well as touch controls for volume and track skipping. Colour-changing lights signify source selection, too.
The DiscovR can work in a multi-room capacity when connected to any Amazon or Apple AirPlay 2-compatible speakers, and furthermore two DiscovR speakers can be paired in a stereo set-up.
The DiscovR’s twist: portability, owing to a built-in battery offering up to 15 hours from a single charge. (It is also compatible with USB C fast-charging.) You’ll need a wi-fi connection to make use of Alexa and network playback (from Spotify Connect for example), though, so while, signal-dependant, you could order a pizza from the comfort of your garden deckchair, its on-the-go ambitions outside of the home really only span playback over Bluetooth and from its 3.5mm input.
Lastly, Pure claims the DiscovR offers a 360-degree sound from a 7.5cm woofer and twin 3cm.