Microsoft’s Cortana is one of the major AI assistants in the market. Its main rivals – Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant both have smart speakers – a bunch of them actually which have been available for a while now. However, Microsoft just announced its first – the Harman Kardon Invoke a few days ago, and it is set to take on the Echos and the Homes.
The Harman Kardon Invoke has the same tower-design as the Amazon Echo but gets bigger towards the base. There is a metallic speaker grille that wraps around a large portion of the phone save for the base (plastic) and the top.
It has a touch-sensitive top that lights up when Cortana is listening as well as when you rotate the dial to adjust the volume. At the base are two buttons – one for muting the microphone and the other for pairing with Bluetooth devices.
Specs and Features
The Invoke stands at 242 mm tall. It is also pretty heavy at 1kg thanks to the three 45mm woofers and three 13mm dome tweeters under its metal and plastic body. At the top lies seven far-field microphones for picking up your voice from any corner of the room
Even with that weight, it doesn’t have a built-in battery. There is dual band Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 4.1 for connectivity and a micro USB port at the bottom for power.
Like other smart speakers, you can ask Invoke to create reminders, lists, and answer questions. You can also make calls to landlines and mobiles using Skype. Got some smart home devices like thermostats and bulbs? Ask Cortana to turn the heat up or dim the lights.
Invoke can also stream audio from services like TuneIn, iHeart Radio, and Spotify. Although it is limited compared to what you have on other smart speakers, Microsoft says it is in talks to add more services.
Setting up the Invoke is easy. Plug it to an outlet, download the free Cortana app (Windows 10 PC or phone, Android 4.1.2+, and iOS 8.0+). Sign into your Microsoft account and you are ready to go.
Invoke Price and Availability
The Harman/Kardon Invoke is priced at $199.95 and comes in silver and black. It is available on the Harman Kardon official website and is limited to the US alone.