iLive Platinum Concierge Review: smart speaker with Amazon Alexa

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iLive Platinum Concierge smart speaker 

We are in a time when smart speakers are common in many homes; although they are not yet an essential device, little by little they are gaining ground in that aspect. A while ago at home, we had the company of an Amazon device that works with the virtual assistant Amazon Alexa. This assistant works better every time and seems to be a little smarter than others like Siri or Google Assistant. Now I had the opportunity to try another smart speaker that the firm iLive Electronics gave us to carry out a review of it. This is the iLive Platinum Concierge with Amazon Alexa.

 

Inside the box

  • iLive Platinum Concierge Smart speaker
  • USB – USB micro cable
  • 5 mm audio cable
  • User guide

 

Design

The iLive Platinum Concierge has the same cylindrical shape as the Amazon Echo, but a bit taller and thinner. It is 18.41cm (7.25 inches) tall and has a diameter of 7.62cm (3 inches); whilst the last generation of the Amazon Echo is 14.8 cm (5.8 inches) tall and 8.8cm (3.4 inches) in diameter, its approximate weight is 544 grams.

Like the Echo, the top is flat; it includes a ring with light and the rest of the device plus approximately 1.9 cm around down (sides), is made of plastic. The base is covered with a woven cloth, similar to that of the burlap bags.

At the top, there are microphones and two small LED lights:

  • Red: that indicates the battery charge
  • White/blue: that indicates Mode and Bluetooth connection.

All iLive Platinum Concierge controls are at one side, on a rubber band, which at its lower part includes the micro USB port and the 3.5 mm audio jack.

The control buttons (from top to down) are the following:
  • To activate the microphone
  • To deactivate the microphone and deactivate Alexa
  • Button with the + sign to increase the volume
  • Button with the sign – to lower the volume
  • Play/Pause button
  • Button to turn on / off the speaker and also to change the operating mode (WiFi, Bluetooth or Auxiliary)

The base is also made of plastic as the top part of the device and it has a rubber ring to avoid sliding.

Something necessary to remark is that unlike the Amazon Echo, this speaker includes a lithium-ion battery; so once charged can be moved and placed anywhere in the home. This way, you won’t have to worry about plugging the speaker into an electrical outlet for several hours.

 

Settings and Applications

First, you connect the speaker to a power outlet or a PC using the micro USB – USB cable (iLive does not include a plug, but you can use any plug that has USB port) and press the power button.

Then, you have to download and install on your smartphone the two applications to control the speaker. The first one is the Amazon Alexa application (Android or iOS) that allows you to connect the loudspeaker to Alexa voice services; in addition to allowing us to install skills, manage contacts, lists, access news, music and other settings.

Keep in mind you must have an Amazon account; it is mandatory (it’s free) since they cannot use Alexa services if they are not connected to Amazon.

The other application is iLive WiFi (Android or iOS). This allows us to play music and audio streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and others. With this application, you can also control other speaker functions such as multi-room playback; so you can place speakers in any room and play music from any speaker or multi-channel playback that allows you to get stereo sound with two or more connected speakers.

With the last application, you just follow the instructions to connect the speaker to the WiFi network and then connect the Amazon Alexa services.

 

Performance

As soon as you set the device you can start using the speaker as you use any Alexa smart device.

Invoking Alexa by its name, you can ask questions like “Alexa What’s the weather forecast?” Or “Alexa, what are the best Mexican food restaurants?” And commands such as “Alexa, set the timer for 25 minutes” or “Alexa, start iHeartRadio”. We can also control smart home devices such as lights, thermostats, security cameras and other compatible devices.

Testing both devices, Amazon Echo Dot and iLive Platinum Concierge; there is not a noticeable difference in the Alexa response between both devices.

You can download and install everything with the Alexa application in the terminal; as you do with Echo Amazon devices.

The Alexa configuration from iLive WiFi app allows us to do only two things: change the language; which only supports American English, British English, and German. You can also activate a function that allows you to reproduce a sound when you say something to Alexa. If you want to do other things, there is a link where you can go straight to Alexa app and there, as I mentioned before, we can set everything else.

With iLive WiFi application, as I mentioned, we can connect to music streaming services and the first I test was iHeartRadio. Everything is controlled by the mobile application and if you have a premium account you can use ALL the services from iLive Wifi interface. With the free account, the interface allows you to choose your favorite radio station, look for other themes, play or pause the current theme and control the volume. In general, other music streaming services also worked similarly.

The iLive Platinum Concierge has 3 different ways to play music:
  • Cloud: online music streaming services (Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and more)
  • Bluetooth: it allows to reproduce music from any device, even from an Alexa device we can reproduce an audio in this speaker. Everything is controlled from the player device. Something interesting is that the iLive Platinum Concierge can remember multiple Bluetooth devices connected before, so we don’t have to connect them again and moreover, it always remembers the last connected device.
  • Aux in: to connect another music player device we must do it through the audio cable with 3.5 mm terminals. Here also the music is controlled from the player device.

Another interesting feature of this smart speaker is that you can connect 5 more iLive Platinum Concierge speakers and play music with all them at the same time; although this feature has an important limitation: only one, the main speaker, allows to keep using Alexa while playing music.

To do that, just go to the iLive application and touch + sign. Once you add a new speaker you can control it separately. If you want to pair it with the main speaker, you touch it and drag it on the screen to release it on the main speaker and once connected, you can choose that one speaker only plays the left channel (L) and the other the right one (R), in stereo or both reproduce in mono (LR).

About the speaker itself, the sound is good. It is not high quality, and for the price, we can’t expect that, but it offers a sound that will not let us down.

 

Final conclusion

Sadly, for some people, it does not have a couple of features offered by Amazon Echo smart speakers such as voice calls and messages. I say for some because during the review, I asked some Amazon Echo users if they used that call and message feature in their house and they answered the same thing, they still do not use it. At home, we do not use it either.

About the sound, I already told you, is good, but don’t expect a Bose sound but it is acceptable.

Regarding features, Alexa is very complete and about music streaming services it includes the best; moreover, you can play your own music and you can connect a smartphone or play music from another person device.

Something that I really liked about this speaker is the ability to connect other speakers to offer stereo sound in the same room or to offer the same music in different rooms of the home.

I also liked the possibility of being able to control different smart home devices; and something that undoubtedly gives a high added value is the battery, which allows you to change it to other areas of the home, without cutting out what we are listening or looking for a plug without moving it temporarily.

Without any doubt, iLive Electronics offers a high-quality product for an affordable price, US $ 65 on iLive and approximately $ 10 less than Amazon.

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