At first glance, the Roav VIVA looks like any USB charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter receptacle of your car. Until of course, you notice the strange button on top with a microphone label. Well, that’s because this thing is no ordinary charger.
Just like any two-port USB charger that plugs into your car’s DC outlet, you can use it to charge your phone and your other phone while on the way to work, back home, or anywhere else. Unlike them, the darn thing comes with Alexa onboard, so you can take advantage of Amazon’s voice assistant all throughout your drive, relying on it for your step-by-step navigation, your music playback, and whatever else you need to get done while keeping your eyes on the road.
The Roav VIVA comes with dual charging ports, both equipped with Anker’s PowerIQ (Roav is a subsidiary of Anker), the accessory company’s exclusive fast-charging technology, which can identify your device and subsequently deliver the optimal amount of power to ensure best charging times. That way, both you and your passenger get to enjoy fast charging times, allowing you to get plenty of juice in your phones right before you get to your destination. Will it work with your car? We don’t know, but they have a detailed list over at the product page for car models with known issues, so if yours isn’t there, you’re probably good.
Of course, the big selling point here is the inclusion of Amazon’s intelligent assistant, which has slowly been expanding its reach well beyond Amazon’s range of Echo speakers. To enable Alexa, simply tap the mic button on top of the device, which you can also tap when you don’t want Alexa to listen in on your conversation (the LED light around the device turns off when it’s muted). It picks up your commands using a pair of microphones, which comes equipped with acoustic echo cancellation to ensure your commands are picked up clearly and accurately, even when there’s music playing.
Do note, the Roav VIVA doesn’t come with its own speaker or LTE connection. As such, it will rely on your phone for both of those, jumping on its Wi-Fi hotspot for connectivity and using your phone to send audio to the speakers. As such, your phone will need to be either paired with the car stereo over Bluetooth or hooked up through an auxiliary port to get everything to work.
Once the initial setup is done, you can, pretty much, use it like any Alexa device, so you could command it to dial someone from your contacts, play music from your favorite service (it supports Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn, with Spotify coming soon), or answer any question that suddenly pops in your head. Yes, it supports voice-controlled navigation, too, so it can be a full-time replacement for your favorite GPS device (unless, of course, you appreciate the visual cues your dedicated GPS adds to the feature set).
Want one? The Roav VIVA is available now.