Amazon Tap review: Alexa’s magic is gone

The Tap does not capture the appeal of the other devices of Amazon

Even if you’ve only viewed Alec Baldwin’s commercials for it, or if you have an Amazon Echo, you are aware this gadget talks back when you address it by name. Alexa, play some relaxing music. Alexa, purchase more paper towels for me.

Last week, Amazon sent a device that doesn’t answer to anyone, regardless of what you call it. Except it merely works when you reach out and tap a button on it before speaking — you don’t even need to bother saying “Alexa” out loud after you hit the button.

BUY NOW Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Amazon Tap is a black cylinder that measures about the height of a sizable glass of plain water. It’s a little briefer than the $149.99 UE Boom 2 and visibly smaller, all around, than the $179.99 Amazon Echo. My favourite characteristic of the Tap is its included charging cradle, which saves you the hassle of reaching behind sofa or a desk when this matter runs out of juice to untangle a charging cable. Amazon estimates since it sleeps when it’s not being used, and that the Pat’s battery will last for nine hours of music playback, and it regularly dropped back in its cradle to charge, I was never surprised by a battery that was dead.

The idea for the Amazon Tap is compelling: you get a reasonable Bluetooth loudspeaker that also happens to do some smart things that is assistant. However, this notion only works adequately. The sound quality of the Tap’s Dolby- powered, omnidirectional speakers is fair, at best, for listening to music. And every time that I played the same song on the UE Boom 2 and it, the latter sounded much richer with more powerful bass and general sound. While the UE Boom 2 may be paired with another UE Boom 2 to play the same music streamed from one source, Amazon Pats can’t pair with one another. The UE Boom 2 also boasts a better battery life (15 hours in comparison with nine hours), and it’s waterproof (the Pat is not).

Once in a while, I enjoyed using the Tap’s physical buttons to quickly skip a tune, correct volume, or check battery life (simultaneously press the and – volume buttons) without saying a word. But pressing a button to talk to Alexa can get frustrating. Using it’d feel natural, in case the Pat could automatically switch into listening mode when docked in its cradle.

I set up the Pat’s charging cradle in my kitchen, but taken the loudspeaker around my house and outside — most of the time so that I could bring meh-sounding music with me. This could possibly be seen as more convenient than the Amazon Echo, which can hear your Alexa calls from 20 feet away but remains plugged-in and anchored in one place. Sure, using the Wiretap’s Alexa prompts to do these things feels more graceful. However a big piece of that Alexa expertise comes from never using your hands to do anything, and the Wiretap takes some of that magic away.

BUY NOW Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Five miniature dots on the very best border of the Tap light up, so you know she’s listening, when you press the Tap’s mike button to speak to Alexa. These dots change and gleam in blue-green colors as Alexa reacts, giving the Exploit a suggestion of character. This app shows you a visual history of everything you’ve requested links to get additional information or to tell the app it heard you right, as well as Alexa.

Your Harness must be connected to Wi Fi to use Alexa’s results. This means that in the event you bring the speaker with you to listen to music while you’re out on a picnic or bike ride, you can’t request Alexa what the elements will soon be like for the remainder of the day. Obviously, you may tether your Exploit to a telephone for Wi-Fi, but chances are you’ll live without Alexa. I find her useful in my home, anyhow, so this constraint that is Tap isn’t a huge deal to me. And really, if you’re going to mess around with turning on tethering in your phone, you may as well just use your telephone’s personal assistant, like Siri.

Amazon sells $19.99 silicone covers called Slings that are made to protect your Bug from damaging drops. I tried a green sling (it also comes in black, blue, magenta, tangerine, and white), and its built-in hook provides a simple solution to hang this 16.6-oz speaker from a back pack. However, the Tap doesn’t charge in its charging cradle while it’s wearing a Sling, so you’ll need to take off the Sling to do this — or jump the cradle and plug the Harness directly into its USB charging cable.

Meanwhile, the UE Boom 2 has built in fenders on its top, bottom, and side to protect it from falls. Additionally, it has a built in hook. So the $130 Amazon Tap plus $20 Sling costs the same as a $150 UE Boom 2.

You’ll be disappointed, if you’re purchasing the Amazon Tap in hopes of receiving an Echo for $50 less. The magic of the far-field voice recognition — calling requests to Alexa from 20 feet across a room — is completely lost when you’re forced to walk up to this device and press a button on it to do anything Alexa-connected. And even in the event that you don’t think you’ll use the Tap’s Alexa attributes, you’ll still be better off with a different Bluetooth loudspeaker that offers better sound.


Without Alexa’s effortless, voice-prompted smarts, the Amazon Tap is missing the polish that comes with the Echo experience. The effect just feels rough.

BUY NOW Amazon Tap – Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker


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