Netgear who have been very quiet of late, is getting ready to launch several new products including their all new Orbi RBK50V tri band, router that delivers 465 square metres of wireless coverage.
As part of the new offering is an extender that extends coverage an additional 186 metres, however the big plus is the new Orbi includes an Alexa voice activated Harman Karman speaker built in.
I first saw this offering at CES 2019 and while pricing has not been announced for Australia it is tipped to be pricey.
Feedback I got at CES was that this was a much improved Netgear Orbi device due in part because of a dedicated 5GHz link between the Orbi router and the Orbi Voice. Using the one channel to keep a constant connection ensures smooth handoffs between devices and consistent coverage within the entire signal radius Netgear executives claimed especially when delivering NBN broadband.
larger than its competitors such as Google Wi-Fi and D-Link the new Orbi offering has, six high performance antennas, a quad core processor, and a hefty heat sink, this is needed to keep the networking gear cool. It’s also heavier than their competitors.
On the model that I saw the sound of the speaker was seriously loud.
The downside is that the Orbi speaker only works with Alexa and does not have Bluetooth connectivity, so if you want to use it as a speaker, you’ll have to hook it up to your Amazon account.
Another problem I detected is that the Orbi Voice unit has built in far-field voice recognition that is extremely sensitive which means that if you are in another room and only want an Echo speaker to respond you have to speak very quietly.
The mesh satellite offering has four antennas and 2.4 and 5GHz band beamforming for extended Wi Fi coverage.
Arch rival D-Link is also set to launch several new products this year and as Netgear has cut back resources in Australia following the setting up of a separate Arlo Company for their security and camera products it’s going to be an interesting battle as Google is also tipped to launch new Google Wi Fi products this year.