To begin with, a word of praise for the branding guys at Harman Kardon
for coming up with a name for this speaker that befits its appearance. The Harman Kardon Allure
is, after all, every bit alluring, fusing a splendid design with some exceptional sound. At 2.5 kg, and made up of three drivers (38mm each) and a sub-woofer (90mm), the Allure
can seem a bit bulky, but that is well compensated for by its elegant design: grille at the bottom and a plastic covering on top. The LED strip that displays white, blue and red, depending on what mode is on, is particularly pleasing to the eye.
The standout among its features is the Amazon Alexa.
Getting there, however, isn’t the most straightforward. You must first go through the HK Alexa
Setup app followed by the Amazon Alexa
app itself to get the AI assistant working. An easier option, of course, is the Bluetooth feature. But even that sees you encountering somewhat unresponsive touch buttons on the circular panel that take their own time to get fully going. When successfully installed, though, Alexa
performs tasks such as reading out news, weather updates and, of course, playing music with considerable ease. There are other apps such as Saavn, Ola and Zomato thrown in, too.
As for the sound — I played a mix of Foo Fighters, Frank Sinatra and multiple seasons of Coke Studio — it is slightly heavy on bass and the output is largely clear and lively. At higher volumes, though, the bass sometimes drowns out the vocals. But that is not to question the Allure’s versatility: it responds to the needs of different genres rather well.
The durable build and funky design come for a hefty price, however. At Rs 24,499, the Allure
is priced significantly higher than other offerings in the same segment. Amazon’s own Echo Plus comes for Rs 14,999. And that may act as a serious deterrent for some smart speaker-seekers despite the Allure’s mostly impressive performance.