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Garmin Speak is a GPS That Puts Alexa In Your Car

19 October 2017

Much like any Echo device, you can adjust music, ask questions, issue commands and control smart home products without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel. The GPS device maker has just released Garmin Speak, which it says is the first in-vehicle device with hands-free access to Alexa.

In a shootout with the Google Home and the original Amazon Echo - the new ones are days away - the Sonos One excelled.

Anyone who is considering an Echo or Google Home would do well to consider the Sonos One as well.

"Next year, the Sonos One is supposed to evolve into something much bigger than the thing that goes on sale October 24th". And if you're already looking to shell out for a new Sonos speaker, the Sonos One is only a tad more expensive than the Play:1, although it's not hard to find a discount for the latter online. But having a similar form factor to the PLAY:1 is where their similarities end, because on the inside, Sonos has completely reengineered the speaker system of the Sonos One.

As far as Global Positioning System units go, the Garmin Speak is easily one of the smallest and least obtrusive aftermarket upgrades.

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To begin using Garmin Speak with Amazon Alexa, start by downloading the free Garmin Speak app for iOS or Android. The Sonos One has a natural reduction in mid-range sound with more articulation from the highs and high-mids.

You can also use Garmin's turn-by-turn navigation by simply saying "Alexa, ask Garmin". But after just a couple minutes of playing around, I found the interface slick and easy to use. It has a blue LED circle, and displays simplified turning directions and arrows on the front.

The six microphone-array picked up my voice from every room of my admittedly small, two-bedroom apartment. I could have had 40 people packed into the room and still heard crisp sound. So you can tell your Sonos One in your bedroom to play music in another room, i.e.: "Alexa, play Alanis in the kitchen". Alexa intelligently lowers, or "ducks" the music, so that both Alexa and the song remain audible. Great, my very first Alexa question was about my least favorite song of all time.

Support for Spotify is coming soon - likely before the holidays - but you can still play Spotify tunes and playlists on the One through the Spotify app. The assistant will prompt you to say a name for the list. That's where voice control shines. But Sonos has long prided itself on taking painstaking efforts to create speakers that deliver top-notch audio at a top-notch experience. So realistically, a consumer that is considering purchasing Sonos One in lieu of a Home Max or Home Pod would shelve out almost $400). But it serves as yet another sign as to how slowly Sonos moves sometimes in finalizing integrations - and with formidable competitors, Sonos can't afford to move slowly. You can just change those settings in the Sonos app. When you do call out for Alexa, the volume on the Sonos one will duck out to a lower volume so that you don't have to shout.

The Garmin Speak with Amazon Alexa is available now for a suggested retail price of US$149.99, you can see the system in action in the video below. Users then have options to add other Sonos players and register their new Sonos speaker.

Garmin Speak is a GPS That Puts Alexa In Your Car