Apple’s Siri is finally making the jump to macOS Sierra this fall. Unfortunately, you still won’t find Cupertino’s voice assistant on non-Apple products. The same can’t be said for Amazon’s Alexa. Since the voice technology arrived on the Amazon Echo in late 2014, it’s been slowly moving onto other devices through the Alexa Voice Service. Created by France-based Invoxia, Triby is a Wi-Fi connected communication device intended for use in a kitchen. First announced in late 2015, the Triby Smart Speaker launched earlier this year as the first third-party product to feature Amazon Alexa with far-field voice capabilities.
Is the Triby Smart Speaker for you? It’s time to find out.
Design and Hardware
The simple design of the Triby Smart Speaker is welcomed
Triby is a cute little speaker that looks right at home on a refrigerator or other kitchen appliance, where it’s intended to reside thanks to its magnetic back. Resembling something close to an old-school, square lunch box, but flatter, Triby features a protective bumper case and rounded corners. This unique design helps protect it from accidental falls, but also appeals to kids, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given what the device can do.
Tiny holes cover the speaker’s surface, with a few physical buttons on its face. A 2.9-inch e-paper display shows the date, time, and temperature by default. On one side, you’ll find a micro-USB charging socket; on the other, a mechanical flag, which extends each time there is a new message.
Inside, Triby includes temperature and humidity sensors, four microphones, two speakers, a lithium battery, and a passive radiator for bass amplification.
What Can Triby Do?
Take phone calls, listen to the radio, even get a sketch!
You’re probably reading this review because of your interest in Amazon Alexa. On a positive note, many of the native Alexa Voice Service features work here, including the ability to control music, set home controls, add text to shopping and to-do lists, and, of course, hear the latest news and weather.
Triby and Alexa play well together
Triby and Alexa play well together. However, having been an Amazon Echo user, I have noticed that there are some things that feel a bit off about Alexa on Triby.
For one, there’s a slight delay between the time you ask Alexa a question and when it is answered. In my household, this pause was usually just long enough for my 9-year-old to ask the question again. And again. The result, Alexa often got confused.
Other times, Alexa didn’t even hear the question, even when it was asked very close to the Triby microphones.
Though I enjoyed using it with Alexa, Triby’s other features stood out more, at least in my household.
My ex-wife and I share custody of my daughter. When my daughter isn’t here, she likes to use her iPad mini to send me doodles and text using the Triby app. Those messages are automatically sent to Triby’s always-on-message screen for others in the home to see. I also liked Triby’s ability to make calls over VoIP or with a paired smartphone from 15 feet away.
These communication tools are terrific for parents with children who are too young to text or have a cell phone.
Triby isn’t the best wireless speaker on the market, nor does it claim to be. However, given its size, Triby performed much better than I expected. The device uses In Vivo Acoustic technology for sound processing. This translates into clear treble and moderate bass, which is suitable for short-term or background music listening.
Music choices on Triby include up to 27,000 online radio stations, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and through Amazon Alexa, iHeartRadio, Amazon Prime, and TuneIn. An impressive list, no?
The Bottom Line
Triby is a unique, magical device that arrives just as the voice recognition wars are heating up. Still, though marketed as the “Smart Portable Speaker with Alexa Voice Service,” Triby’s most impressive features extend beyond Alexa.
VoIP, a doodling and text feature, and impressive music integration make Triby worth considering for families with children 10-years-old and younger. For everyone else, Triby is every bit the niche product, and probably should be avoided.
Triby is available with a removable gray bumper for $199. The blue, green, and red models are each $209. Extra bumpers are available through Amazon for $19 each.
- Draw and share doodles and texts from your smartphone to Triby's alway-on display
- Stick Triby to the fridge with its magnetized back
- Preset Internet radio stations and Spotify playlists for one-button access
- Make calls over VoIP or with a paired smartphone from 15 feet away
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