Garmin Speak integrates Alexa: Now the navigation is even smarter


The product is priced at $150 and now on sale at select retailers including Best Buy and Amazon. So if, for example, you forgot to turn off the lights or lock the door (and you have the smart home accessories capable of doing that for you), you can simply take care of it from the driver's seat. Garmin - a brand known for its Global Positioning System fitness watches - has unveiled a new smart device which is said to be the first in-car gadget to offer drivers hands-free access to Alexa, as well as provide navigation through Garmin's own tech.

Sonos has talked up smart speakers for more than a year, but now that it's finally releasing one, the Sonos One, the big debut feels anti-climactic. But Sonos has proven that it's still here to play in a smart speaker world.

This means Sonos customers can add Alexa voice control to their existing Sonos systems for just £24.99. When you do call out for Alexa, the volume on the Sonos one will duck out to a lower volume so that you don't have to shout. So how does the Sonos One sound? Its weight of 4.1 pounds makes it feel substantial for its size.

Well, it looks like the embargo for the Sonos One just lifted. Besides the wonderful advanced skills it features, the speaker offers flawless sound.

You have everything you need integrated into the new Sonos One speaker. Whether I was listening to a soft- spoken radio host or a power ballad from a Broadway soundtrack, the sound was clear and rich.

The same thing happened with "Highway to Hell" from AC/DC - the chorus sounded compressed compared to the rest of the song, but the bass line really thumped.

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One other major difference: The new speaker has a pairing button where the ¼-inch threaded mount is located on the older model. We've seen this implemented in a wide range of products including connected speakers, refrigerators, and more.

Amazon's Alexa can already help you around the house, but Garmin is bringing the convenience to your vehicle. In addition to regularly flushing any logs on the device and not sending data to Amazon unless and until it hears the watch word ("Alexa", by default), Sonos provides visual indication of the microphone's status.

The one service that doesn't work yet? Like the partial Spotify integration, Sonos says it's working to add support for missing Alexa features soon.

Connecting Alexa and the Sonos One was a bit more involved than I'd like. I would have preferred to do both in the same app, ala an "Alexa for Sonos" app, but understand why the experience has to be done through multiple apps, given that Amazon and Sonos are expecting consumers to connect speakers from each of their respective companies. Once in place, you can start interacting with Alexa by saying her name out loud. However, a quick call with tech support resolved the issue. An LED indicator light at the top is also used to indicate when the Sonos One's microphone is active.

The sound quality is what I expected from Sonos - powerful, without blowing my ears out (my landlady who has told me to keep the noise down for dropping a box too loudly did not come knock on my door once during the four consecutive hours that I played my Sonos One).

The Sonos One retails for $199, which is $70 more than Amazon Echo and $150 less than the upcoming Apple HomePod. Without anything playing, I could talk in a low voice from about 10-15 feet away and it would hear my voice accurately. And if I split all the rooms apart again, I can stream different music to each room.