If ever a name was spot on the money it’s the Harman/Kardon Allure speaker. At a glance this sci-fi design inspired speaker certainly is alluring, even more so when you first hear the quality of sound that it outputs. That being said, the Allure isn’t completely perfect, allow me to elaborate.
In a world where home speakers seem to be getting smaller and more powerful, HK Allure bucks that trend. Compared to something like the UE Megaboom, HK Allure is sizeable. Not that that is a bad thing. The design is a sci-fi geek’s delight, this thing looks like it’s been plucked right off the set of Star Trek and that is 100% OK with me. You’re looking at a form factor that is just under 20cm tall, and is about 16cm round. The top half of the Allure is see-through to show off the dark grey cylinder in the centre that extends to the top of the Allure. Down below you’ve got a metal grille that hides the subwoofer and the audio drivers. The top of the Allure is also able to output a light ring that adds some colour and pop to the eye catching design.
One of the biggest things to note with the HK Allure is that doesn’t have rechargeable batteries so this one will always need to be plugged into power to work. It also doesn’t support wired playback so you’ll have to stream your music over Wifi or playback via Bluetooth. Not having wired playback support isn’t a biggie in this day and age given that Bluetooth and Wifi playback is pretty much the norm anyway.
Setting up the HK Allure is, unfortunately, one of its drawbacks. To set it up you have to download the HK Allure app which other than setting up the speaker serves nearly no purpose at all. Sure you can tweak the light settings, adjust your sound settings and manage the wifi connection but other than that the app doesn’t really serve much purpose. Once you’ve set it up you can put the app to one side. HK Allure supports Amazon Alexa and like most third party speakers, you can’t set the speaker up via the Alexa App and that is the drawback. I wish more companies would look to allow consumers to just use the Alexa app to do everything but whether that is something that Amazon won’t allow or the manufacturers aren’t keen to engage in is outside our knowledge. In any case set up is pretty simple, although it took me 2 attempts to get it to work.
Alexa is one of the real marvels to arrive and make its presence known in 2018 so having Alexa on Allure makes an already great speaker, even greater. If you aren’t up to speed with the power of Alexa then I’ll try and keep it simple. Alexa is like the in-home assistant version of what Siri is to Apple devices. Alexa can connect to things light lights and other smart capable products in your home and allows you to control those devices with your voice. You can also ask Alexa information like what is happening in the news or what the weather will be like and you’ll get relevant answers based on your location. It will even tell you jokes.
Having a great design and having Alexa on board is all well and good but if the speaker can’t function well as a speaker then it’s pointless. Thankfully when it comes to sound performance Allure is a powerhouse. It’s bigger than a lot of other bluetooth speakers but at a height of 20cm it’s still small. The sound output is anything but small and was a powerfully pleasant surprise.
Crank the HK Allure up to full whack and you’re bound to annoy some neighbours. But, the flip side to that is that unlike some other speakers going at full noise, there was no noticeable sound distortion just crystal clear LOUD music. If bass heavy tracks are your thing then you’ll be pleased to know that the HK Allure has enough power in its subwoofer that you will feel it going through your body, that is about the best endorsement I can give a sub. If it has enough bass to be used as a defibrillator then its pretty much a winner.
Setting aside needing to use a near redundant app for setup, the HK Allure is a winner in all other areas. Powerful sound in a modest form factor, hidden inside that gorgeous sci-fi inspired body and coupled with the smart features of Alexa makes the HK Allure one of the best speakers we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. This is one product that caused genuine reviewers remorse when it went back to the PR company.
HK Allure is available in New Zealand for $429.00.