In my quest to have Alexa control over my smart home from everywhere imaginable I decided to give the Roav Viva by Anker a spin in my car. The Roav Viva does exactly what it claims to do in that it brings Alexa into your car but it does so with a few hiccups along the way.
Overall I was pretty happy with the Roav Viva as it did allow my voice control over my smart house from the car however I will not be continuing to use it. This is mostly because of the Roav Viva App on android and its persistent notification on my status bar. Notification on Android are kind of a sore spot for me…I hate them, I especially hate when one is there consistently as I put a lot of time into customizing my Android experience and I do not want a notification mucking up the waters.
Now with that out of the way as I know many of you will be okay with the notification the Roav Viva does exactly what it claims to do and does so well. As a car charger it also functioned well but not sure why a product of this price point did not include QuickCharge. The Roav Viva is certainly nice looking and appears to be well made and I am a fan of the texturing (that I think is meant to resemble Carbon Fiber) around the side of it as well as the familiar blue Alexa light ring around its face. I was not a fan however of the activation button, to me it felt cheap and like it would not take long before it ended up misaligned or missing. Now one thing to note when talking about the design of the Roav Viva is that it is bigger than most car chargers so it may not fit in your specific application. In my Jeep this was not a problem but in my Chevrolet it was unusable. In that vehicle the power port is in a compartment in-front of the shifter and because of the size of the head of the Roav Viva I could not actually position it so that I could have it plugged in with a USB cable attached.
Now for the actually Alexa functionality, it worked but there was a considerable delay in-between waking the Roav Viva (by saying Alexa) and the confirmation back that it is ready for your command. For me that was not much of an issue as I generally speak rather slow to my Alexa enabled devices anyways so it was natural but I can see this being annoying to other people. The other annoyance I have is not really with the Roav Viva but with Amazon. Why is their still a difference between first party and third party Alexa enabled devices? There should not be. They should all have the same equal rights (maybe we need a Bill of Rights for Alexa devices) and Amazon needs to stop this and manufacturers of third party Alexa devices need to start screaming from the hilltops about this as there is no need for it.
Audio from the Roav Viva is handled in a couple different ways, either via Bluetooth or an Aux input cable and in either case your phone acts as the intermediary. I tested both and both worked without issue for me so that was a plus and I like that you have the choice of Bluetooth or Aux in as this will give as many people the option of using the Roav Viva as possible. As I mentioned both worked well in my experience so the only advantage goes to Bluetooth because you do not need to have a cable plugged in.
The Roav Viva is a strange device, I mean who is going to think that a car charger is going to be smart? Well actually this is the second smart car charger I have reviewed. Although I am not going to continue using the Roav Viva I think some of you may like it as it delivers on its promise of bringing Alexa into the car. My only question is, is the Roav Viva still a viable product now that both the iOS and Android versions of the Alexa app have Alexa built in?
Anyone using the Roav Viva by Anker? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.