[dmwidget name=”voice-assistant technology”]
- Small size
- Integrated Alexa
- Alexa only works on home network
- So-so audio performance
- Comparatively short battery life
- Review Price: £37
- Amazon Alexa built in
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- Three-hour battery life
What is the iLuv Aud Click?
With Amazon keen to share its Alexa voice-assistant technology, there are ever-growing numbers of smart speakers hitting the market every day. The iLuv Aud Click is just such a device.
Despite the funny-sounding name, this smart speaker has one thing that the Echo family doesn’t: an integrated battery. This makes the iLuv Aud Click a device that you can take away with you anywhere.
A small body and integrated Bluetooth round-off the features. However, the tinny, below-par audio is disappointing, as are the lack of some key Echo features.
iLuv Aud Click – Design
If you thought that the Echo Dot was small, you’ll be impressed by the size of the iLuv Aud Click. Measuring just 90 x 64 x 64mm, the speaker looks more like a cocoa shaker for a cappuccino than a smart speaker.
It’s built entirely from plastic, but the soft-touch black body and chrome-effect top look great. The top of the Aud Click is actually a dial, which controls the speaker’s volume. You press it to activate Alexa, too; this speaker doesn’t have an always-on microphone.
The button press generally works well, with a responsive click to let you know you’ve pushed far enough. But, press at different points around the dial and I occasionally double-clicked. This doesn’t seem to affect operation, but it’s a little strange.
The rear of the Aud Click is home to a micro-USB input, for charging the battery. There’s no USB adapter in the box, and the exceptionally short micro-USB cable (25cm) doesn’t much room for flexibility if you want to leave the speaker plugged in. A power button underneath lets you turn the iLuv Aud Click on and off.
iLuv Aud Click – Features
Amazon Alexa is the obvious stand-out feature of this speaker. Effectively, you get most of the main Amazon Echo features in the speaker, from controlling your smart home devices, to getting weather reports, diary information and even the odd bad joke.
The setup isn’t quite as straightforward as it is for an Echo device. First, you have to connect the iLuv Aud Click to your home network, using the Aud Click app on your phone. This took a while, since the speaker only supports 2.4GHz networks, and I’m using a mesh system that combines the 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks under one name. After a couple of attempts, the speaker connected. Once done, you then have to configure the Alexa part, which adds the iLuv Aud Click to your Amazon account and enables the smart assistant.
Since there’s no always-on microphone, using Alexa will require the tapping of the button on top of the speaker. There’s a short delay before Alexa is ready to respond, which makes the speaker less convenient to use than an Echo, which is always ready to go.
The microphone here isn’t as good as the type you’ll find on an Echo, and on several occasions Alexa misheard my simple commands. Saying “Weather”, for example, returned the response, “There are no results for the destination you specified”.
The Aud Click can do pretty much everything you’d expect from Alexa, but there are some features that are Echo-only, such as voice-calling and drop-in. To be fair, this restriction is in place for all third-party devices, including the Sonos One.
You can play music directly from an Amazon Prime Music account, but not from Spotify, which isn’t supported on the iLuv Aud Click. However, Spotify Connect is available, so that you can stream music to the speaker directly from the app. Bluetooth is built-in, too, so the iLuv Aud Click can also act as a portable speaker.
Battery life is quoted as “more than three hours of playback”, which is a little weak for a Bluetooth speaker. And, there’s a second problem with regards to portability involving Alexa. As soon as you take the speaker out of Wi-Fi range, all of the Alexa smart features stop working since they require an internet connection. When you have to go through the rigmarole of connecting the iLuv Aud Click to a new network every time you move it, Alexa isn’t that useful.
iLuv Aud Click – Performance
Very small speakers generally don’t perform as well as larger models, and the iLuv Aud Click is no exception. For quieter tracks with not a lot going on, there’s enough detail and, at lower volumes, the iLuv Aud Click is a step up from your phone’s built-in speakers.
With more complicated tracks made up of many layers, I found the sound blended, making it hard to pick out the subtleties and finer detail. At high volumes, the iLuv Aud Click sounded quite harsh, while bass lacks presence.
At its best, the iLuv Aud Click is a step up from listening through your phone’s speakers, but there are better Bluetooth speakers out there.
Why buy the iLuv Aud Click?
The idea of having Alexa in such a small, and well-priced speaker makes the iLuv Aud Click an interesting choice. In some regards, it works well, and the integrated battery offers something a bit different to other Echo devices.
Yet, the tap-to-talk function isn’t as convenient as speaking, the short battery life is disappointing, and Alexa only works on the network to which you’ve connected the speaker. As such, it’s hard to recommend the iLuv Aud Click.
If you want an Echo with a battery, the Ninety7 Vaux converts an Echo Dot into a portable speaker; the UE Blast is far more expensive, but has Alexa and sounds fantastic. Otherwise, if you can forego Alexa then our choice of the top Bluetooth speakers has a wider range of better-sounding models.
A neat idea, but the relatively short battery life and poor sound quality detract.