Netgear’s latest Orbi Wi-Fi extender doubles as an Alexa smart speaker

Mesh Wi-Fi and smart speakers. They’re both two of the biggest trends in consumer technology of the last couple of years, and now Netgear is bringing them together with the Netgear Orbi Voice.

Netgear’s Orbi is one of the more accomplished mesh Wi-Fi systems around right now, and works my having you scatter multiple Wi-Fi access points around your home to give you more coverage than a single router and generally deal better with the dozens of internet connect devices that now fill most homes.

Then Amazon’s Alexa is…well I’m sure you know what Alexa is by now. After debuting on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, the voice assistant is slowly but surely making its way into any internet connected device big enough to house a microphone and speaker.

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A smart speaker with a difference

So yes, the Orbi Voice might not be too different from the Alexa-equipped smart light switches and smoke alarms we’ve seen in the past but there are a couple of things that set it apart.

The first is its Harman Kardon-designed speaker system, which should mean its sound quality is at least on a par with dedicated smart speakers. You can also tweak bass and treble levels using Netgear’s own app.

The second is the similarities between how you should approach Wi-Fi and Alexa. Both benefit from multiple access points, and with both you’ll want to try and flood your house so that either your phone or your voice can access them from anywhere.

Combine this with Netgear’s proven mesh Wi-Fi tech (with the latest version offering speeds of “up to 3Gigabits per second”) and you’ve got a promising little product.

There are two options for getting the Netgear Orbi Voice. The first is to add the speaker as a satellite to an existing Orbi system (£279), while alternatively Netgear is also selling an AC3000 kit featuring a main router and the smart speaker as a satellite (£399).

Both kits will be launching at some point later this year, and we’ll have a full review as soon as we can try them out for ourselves.

Are you still using a single router or have you switched to mesh Wi-Fi? Let us know @TrustedReviews.