Xiaomi and VK have introduced a smart speaker . What can it do? keep up with the review.
Elegant and sonorous
But first, how did Marusya’s house turn out? In essence, this is a localized version of the Xiaomi Mi AI Speaker Art. Previously, it entered the global market with a Google Now voice assistant, but it does not understand Russian yet. So the new column is the first in Xiaomi’s portfolio with a Russian-speaking assistant.
And for Marusya, this is the fourth refuge: in addition to the Capsule and Capsule Mini produced by VK (formerly Mail.ru Group), it also launched a compact Prestigio SmartVoice model. Xiaomi‘s version fits in size between the large capsule and the smaller counterparts.
Inside there is a speaker with a power of 12 watts, enough to move the Dushku. At maximum volume, the table begins to shake and the neighbors, hitting the batteries. At the top and bottom of the column, it is covered with plastic, but there is a thin sheet of metal along the perimeter. The thickness and perforation were selected to ensure better audio quality.
The speaker supports DTS surround sound technology, but using a large capsule for solid bass and full surround audio is best. There are already three speakers for a total of 30 watts – the sound is excellent. And six microphones. The capsule listens to you from another room and even though the Slipknot drum party. There are two microphones at a high volume, and you have to yell at Marusya. But under normal conditions, she recognizes her name in 100% of the exclamations.
The device is painted in neutral tones, suitable for any style of interior. Although under a hipster loft, although under carpets on the walls. Along the perimeter of the white plastic are colored lights. When Marusya answers or changes the volume, the backlight glows. All devices with Marusya are manufactured with a more or less uniform design. You can collect the collection and place it around the apartment. Even during the Mini Capsule announcement, the developers promised to combine the speakers into a single system. We are waiting.
The power comes from a 12V / 1.5A adapter. Unfortunately, the USB-C connection was not delivered; in this regard, the Mini Capsule remains the queen of mobility. It can be powered even with mobile chargers. The 3.5mm audio jack is also missing; you cannot output sound to external speakers or headphones.
At the top: touch buttons, you can also turn off the microphone. But you will rarely use the buttons – all the power of smart speakers – on voice control.
Every Marusya wants to hear these two words.
“Connect the speaker” – all you need to say to the voice assistant to search for Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker. But before that, you need to follow a couple of steps. First, install the Marusya application on your smartphone. Available on iOS and Android. Second, log in through VK Connect. Now all VK services are linked to a quick login so that you can log into your account with just one click.
Then we say the precious phrase, and Marusya finds a column nearby. It does not matter if the smartphone is connected to a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi network: Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker supports both frequencies. And also Bluetooth 4.2. If you want to listen to music directly from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, say “Marusya, turn on Bluetooth,” and the speaker will go into detection mode.
Skills and power of VK services
Voice assistants rapidly appear in our homes, smartphones, flashing advertising on television and the Internet. Why this, both adults and children already know. You can narrow down the skills to a set of useful commands: answer questions, set reminders, alarm clock, tell the news and the weather, read a fairy tale and turn on the noise of the sea.
But Marusya is a unique girl. The project is part of the VK ecosystem, which means that it is closely linked to other company services. For example, Marusya recently learned how to order a taxi. You name addresses somewhere, and in the VKontakte Taxi applet, you get the final price calculation. It only remains to be confirmed. If you specify your home and work addresses ahead of time, say, “Call a taxi from home to work.”
Marusya can read messages from Mail.ru Mail, news from Mail.ru News – all this was possible thanks to synchronization with other VK projects and services. Calling friends from VKontakte is also another unique feature of Marusya. Say the name of a friend and communicate with him while you are busy with other things in the room too.
Before going to bed, wish Marusya good night, and she will turn on the “night air”: put the speaker on silent mode, tell her about the weather tomorrow with the sounds of rain and wind, offer to turn on the sound of the waves – to fall asleep more comfortably. We boldly added McDonald’s food delivery to the best skills list. Fries, Panin Tuscany, McFlurry – List everything the taste buds will ask for, and the Delivery Club couriers will bring ASAP.
Skill (I have) Marusya. And that’s not all.
But (subjectively) Marusya’s most helpful skill is managing intelligent home devices. She turns the lights on and off, adjusts the color of the lamps, depends on the robot vacuum cleaner, and makes it quieter – this, and much more, the assistant understands. Marusya is close friends with Xiaomi, Yeelight, Philips Hue, Gauss, Polaris devices. There are more than 30 partners, and the list is constantly updated. Only Xiaomi will have two dozen pieces of equipment: air purifiers, heaters, fans, and humidifiers. This is in addition to the standard lamps.
Marusya is ideal for entertainment, children’s education. She launches fairy tales, interactive missions, for example, about space flights. The child can choose the name of the planet, the ship, while Marusya describes the flight. In other fairy tales, Marusya sends you a text message on your smartphone, you read it, and the speaker plays sounds at appropriate times: the noise of the forest, the murmur of the water, magical music.
Supports BOOM and Spotify Connect
Let’s not forget that in front of us, first of all, a column. There are four ways to listen to music through the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker.
The first was discovered: via Bluetooth from nearby devices. But it is not the main one. The easiest way is to tell Marusya to have her “turn the music on” and any variations on this phrase. For example, she can create a playlist based on the preferences of her and her VK friends. Or choose the music according to her mood. To do this, she must have a prepaid VK Combo, and all tracks are pulled from the BOOM service library and selected based on her playlist on VKontakte.
The third way is unique for columns with Marusya: through Spotify Connect. One of the most popular streaming services in the world is available for voice control. The connection is simple: go to Spotify and look for Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker in the list of available devices. You can change tracks, pause the music. Spotify everywhere, and it’s convenient: on the way home, you listen to music with headphones, come – with a one-click switch to a good-sounding speaker. Spotify Connect on Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker will work soon.
The fourth is Internet radio. More than 50 radio stations are available to listen to in the background, all of the excellent quality.