28 January 2018

REVIEW: Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker

Touch it

As we found out a while back when reviewing the KitSound Voice One, Amazon's Alexa smart assistant can be found on devices NOT made by Amazon. Which is nice. So when we heard that Tibo's latest speaker, the Kameleon Touch, also boasted Alexa inside, we jumped at the chance to check it out. We review the Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker.

Unlike the aforementioned KitSound speaker, the Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker is wee. At just 20cm wide, and with a consistent mesh front, Tibo have clearly designed this to blend into the background. That said, when pumping out the tunes, this speaker is anything but a Kameleon, with an impressive-for-its-size 30W of power.

The Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker permits a certain degree of personalisation, coming with a choice of three end plates, each in a different colour: walnut, white, and grey. We opted for grey, preferring a darker, cooler tone. The plates attach magnetically and stay in place quite firmly. Which is also nice.

Right, the Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker is smart in many ways. For a start it can connect to your music device via Bluetooth and the Aux-in port on the back. Hooked up to your home WiFi you can stream internet radio services, and even assign individual stations to the five easy-access buttons on top, just like an actual DAB radio. However, once connected to the internet you're definitely going to want to sign into your Amazon account and fire up the Alex voice controls... and here we were disappointed for first time.

Unlike most other smart speakers, such as the Google Home, Echo, and all the others running on Alexa, you merely have to say the trigger word ("Hey Google", "Alexa" etc) to get the ball rolling. No such luck with the Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker, as to get Alexa to listen to you, you have to 'Touch' the mic button on the top of the speaker. Oh.

Yeah, we have to say we didn't like that at all, especially considering Tibo's intention with this device. It's called the Kameleon after all: it's small, discreet and powerful, meaning you can place it just about anywhere. That means it'll probably be out of immediate reach - sorta negating the voice assistant features.

Having become so used to just saying 'Alexa, what time is it?', or 'Alexa, play anything by Atomic Kitten,' (just the essentials), not being able to do that with the Tibo Kameleon Touch Smart Speaker is a pain, and quite surprising that the 'always listening' feature hasn't been included.

That said, when music is playing through it, be it from the likes of Spotify or Amazon Music, or direct from your phone via Bluetooth, it sounded great. The quality of sound was perfect, being crisp and clean and with plenty of bass. The speaker is certainly 'room-filling' and, thanks to the WiFi connectivity, it can pair with other compatible speakers, to act like a group; all streaming the same track. If you already have a WiFi speaker, such as the Voice One, you can easily set-up a home-wide music system.

So although we're disappointed by the less-than-convenient Alexa button, we love both the look and sound of this thing.


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