A few months ago, I tested and reviewed the Muse device. It was a gadget that installed in the car and connected with the smartphone to deliver Alexa voice capability in a car. It was a neat device, but eventually, the glaring caveats won over and we stopped using it. The caveats were poor listening capability and long delays in responses. At the time I chalked these up to road noise and Bluetooth inadequacies, but after installing and testing the Roav VIVA, I can now clearly see that those Muse caveats were due to bad design.
The VIVA is able to eliminate road noise and its responsiveness is exactly like what you’d expect from a standard Amazon-designed Echo speaker sitting in the house. I had noted in the Muse review how that device incorporated a wired microphone so you could hand Alexa to passengers in the back seat so they could make requests, but the VIVA works so well, Alexa can hear commands from every corner of the vehicle. The microphone sensitivity is nothing short of amazing. The VIVA really does put Alexa in your car, and in a way that works.
The VIVA does have trouble with listening if you have the car stereo turned up too loud, but turning down the audio volume a bit works. I only did this for testing, of course, its not like I’m an 80’s headbanger or something – at least not anymore.
The reliability of the Bluetooth connection is also a lot better. For the Muse, I’d have to go through a pre-ride flight check every time to make sure the Muse was connected correctly. With the VIVA, it just connects whenever the smartphone is within Bluetooth range of the vehicle. In fact, its so reliable, I have to remember to manually unpair the device from my smartphone. Because our bedroom is over top our garage, I was woken in the middle of the night a couple times by the connection because when the connection is made, the VIVA app on the smartphone always announces its success – and very loudly, I might add.
The app that’s required for the smartphone to VIVA connection is easy to navigate and use, and it comes with several customization options including how you want to connect to the car stereo (Bluetooth, AUX-in, and USB cable), and which location and NAV service to use. It comes configured to use either Google Maps or the smartphone’s built-in maps (for iOS), or even Waze if you use that. Setting the device up using the app is also a breeze. The app walks you through installing, configuring, and connecting the device. Connecting your Amazon account to Anker is required.
The VIVA is all that you would hope an Alexa add-on for the car would be in functionality, plus it sports a couple fast charging ports, a mute button, and the familiar Alexa light ring. Alexa capability is coming pre-installed in some new cars, but for those without, this is the superior way to add Alexa to any vehicle.
Available from Amazon for around $60: Roav VIVA, by Anker
- Alexa Inside: Amazon’s voice service gives you complete voice control in your car. Just say the word to get directions, listen to audiobooks from Audible, shop online, play music, and more over Bluetooth, Carplay, Android Auto, or an Aux in connection. Spotify feature will be added as soon as third party support is available. Updates will be posted here.What You Get: Roav VIVA, Manual, Quick Guide, Happy Card, Skills Cards, 12-month warranty and our friendly customer service.
- High-Speed Charging: Dual charging ports equipped with Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ technology deliver blazing charging speeds to both driver and passenger. Qualcomm Quick Charge not supported.
- Tap To Mute: Just hit the button to effortlessly mute and unmute the microphones, so Alexa is only listening when you want her to be.
(tap or click each photo for a larger view)
Alexa is available for Amazon devices Echo, Echo 2, Dot, Tap, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Look, Echo Connect, Dash Wand, Amazon Cloud Cam, Fire tablets, and Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs, in the Music app, but also on iOS, Android, and the web with Reverb.ai.
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