hey everybody it’s LAN Simon and we’re taking a look today at the anchor Zolo hallo speaker I like this thing because it is cheap 20 bucks right now on Amazon and it gives you the Amazon echo experience in something that costs less than the Amazon echo dot does and James who works for us here on the channel is about to head back to college and he wanted to get an echo device for his dorm room and he found this to be a good alternative at only 20 dollars that’s delivered too so we’re going to be taking a closer look at the speaker and see how it works and how it interacts perhaps with other echo devices in your home in just a second but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that James paid for this with his own funds all the opinions are going to be my own nobody is paying for this review and no one has reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what 20 bucks buys you so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware not spectacular build quality here but it’s decent enough for the price point it’s all plastic it’s got rubber here on the top for your controls and you can pair it up with the app that you download for it on Android or on iOS we’ll show you that in a few minutes when you do that pairing you put the speaker on your Wi-Fi you can then connect it up with Amazon’s echo services to get the voice commands
working and then if you want to use it with your phone or tablet via bluetooth you push the Bluetooth button here at the top and pair it up with your phone like any other Bluetooth speaker so you have kind of the best of both worlds you can stream audio to it via Wi-Fi or you can go in and go directly via bluetooth you can play a number of services including Amazon’s music service Spotify if you have a premium account I Heart Radio and a few others and I’ll show you all of that when we get to the app you have some basic controls here on the speaker itself so right here is a play and pause button volume up and down Bluetooth so you can enable or disable it just by pushing that if you push here in the middle you can trigger the device without uttering the a word so that’s an option you have available to you if you want to mute the microphone you just push that there and that will mute everything for you so everything seems to be pretty well laid out here in a very simple way and a lot like the echo dot you can run a separate speaker out if you want so it has an auxilary output here if you do want to plug in a better speaker and your power goes in there no battery on this one it needs to be connected to power at all times so let’s take a look now and see how it works with voice commands and we’re going to start by seeing how it might interact with other echo devices in your home so what we’ve got on screen right here is an echo dot across the room and the Zolo here on the desk with me because I wanted to see what would happen if both devices picked up my trigger word so let’s do that right now Elektra what time is it 257 p.m.
So you can see the one across the room initially heard the trigger word but then it tossed it back over to the speaker here and one of the things that I saw on the Amazon reviews was that this feature wasn’t working perhaps in an earlier firmware iteration but just in our experimentation with it over the last day or so it has been working fine that if we get closer to that dot the dot will take the command and disable the command on the halo here and vice-versa so far we haven’t had any real collisions with our official echo devices and this doesn’t have the sophisticated far-field microphones that the echo devices have so we did find that sometimes you might have to trigger the trigger word a few extra times to get it to respond we also found that you really should put a pause between the trigger word and your command because it doesn’t seem to process things as quickly as the echo dot does but if you pause after that trigger word generally it was working fairly well and even worked across the room here at a reasonable distance to so by and large if you are just looking for a very inexpensive alternative perhaps to one of the Amazon devices this should do the trick it just won’t be as elegant all the time and we found most of the commands you issue to an echo device seemed to work here so I’ve got a Philips hue lamp set up right now and I can say elect turn off the couch lamp okay and there you go the lamp is off we can also have the device play us some music elect a some 80’s music here’s a station for 80s music all 80s from Amazon music and there you go you can see you can connect up with the Amazon music services along with a few others that I’ll show you here in just the second and it seems like for the most part things are about the same as they would be with the official device couple of things don’t work though multi-room audio will not work along with your official Amazon echo devices it does support multi-room audio but only with other Zolo speakers so bear that in mind it also does not support making calls that you can do on official Amazon devices so that drop-in thing where you can just show up or listen in on one part of your house doesn’t work here you also can’t make calls through Amazon’s call services but generally everything else we’ve played with seems to work pretty well audio quality on here is louder than the dot
but not fantastic you are getting what you pay for here so it is a rather tinny speaker one reviewer on Amazon kind of compared it to a transistor radio it’s in that in that realm it’s not the best speaker here it is quite tinny but it is loud and carries across a room so you might want to do if you really want better fidelity as maybe plug in a speaker to the back of it but it definitely sounds better than the dot and certainly carries a lot further to now just like every cheap speaker out there it does have some speakerphone capabilities and just to give you an idea as to how far the speaker is away from me here we’re going to now do an audio test of that microphone to see how it sounds so here you go this is what it sounds like not very good at all even though I’m right next to it here it doesn’t sound all that great so if you are trying to make a call and you want to go across the room I don’t think it’s going to be a very good calling experience so here is the companion app for the speaker right now is playing a live broadcast back from my local NPR station and the speaker is actually playing this back independently I quit the app earlier took it right out of memory and the speaker kept on going so once you get it going on the phone the speaker will be able to continue playing for you over Wi-Fi so that was pretty cool it supports a few other services here including iHeartRadio Spotify title and Napster I did find with Spotify you need a subscription to playback content from there and of course you can use your Amazon Prime account with Amazon music if you wish and you can always just broadcast Bluetooth over to the speaker if you wish to have some other service play with it so you do have some options there for playing back other music services but other than that initial
configuration I don’t think you’re going to spend all that much time in the app but it’s nice to see you can get a few services to work with the speaker if you want outside of an Amazon account so overall I think it’s a pretty good deal for 20 bucks it sounds better than the dot it’s not saying much but it certainly does sound better and is louder it does handle most of the the echo commands that you might want to issue to it and we found it to be a good alternative for the price point so if you’re looking to just get something quick and easy for a dorm room or whatever this is probably something to consider because at 20 bucks it’s not a bad deal the parent company here is Ankur who makes a lot of power products we’ve looked at a few of their batteries and some of the other stuff that they’ve made here on the channel in the past they’re actually a pretty good company they’ve got decent customer service in my experience and I think you can’t really go wrong with one of these things if you’re looking to save a few bucks with an echo compatible device until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters Chris Allegretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht bill Reiner and Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to land TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe