Hands-On With The Alexa-Enabled Polk Audio Command Bar – CES 2018


This year's CES show was full of assistant announcements. Whether they were specifically for compatibility with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or any other assistant, there was plenty of announcements to go around and confirming the collective assistants now work with just about every and any type of product you can think of. Of course, due to the audible nature of assistants in general, speakers were one of the most common products to be announced. Like for example, the new Command Bar from Polk Audio which comes with Amazon's Alexa built-in.

What makes this particular speaker a little different to the rest is that it is actually a sound bar. Seemingly, marking the arrival of the fist Alexa-enabled sound bar to the market. As a result this is likely to be a very interesting product for anyone who takes their home entertainment seriously, as not only will the sound bar enhance the home entertainment setup's audio in general, but will bring with all the benefits associated with Alexa without the need for any additional devices. In other words, for those in the market for a new sound bar, this one will not only fill the gap but also smarten up the home without further cluttering the setup, and more importantly, the wall sockets.

From the front, the unit looks much like any other sound bar boasting an elongated design and is largely black in color. The top of the unit includes some of the more typical sound bar-expected controls (power on/off as well as volume up and down) although what does stand out is the mic button.


Which, of course, has been included for those who want to manually activate Alexa when near the device. However, the button is only there for those times when in close proximity as like all Alexa-enabled products, the Command Bar is able to respond to voice commands. Including voice commands to control the Command Bar specifically, such as decreasing the bass or the sound altogether. Moving to the back of the unit and this is where you will find most of the main ports including two HDMI ports and an optical port, as well as the mains power socket and a subwoofer sync button. It is worth noting that one of the HDMI ports is compatible with streaming sticks. For example, owners will be able to directly connect an Amazon Fire TV to the Command Bar – instead of connecting both devices to the TV. An infrared remote control is also included as part of the package, and the remote is listed as featuring an "integrated Alexa Action button" – for instant access to Alexa.

As for some of the general audio specs, the Command Bar is a package which includes the main sound bar and a separate wireless subwoofer. The total power comes in at 260-watts which is broken down as 160-watts for the sound bar and 100-watts for the sub. The sub itself houses a 6.5-inch driver, while the sound bar includes two 3.25-inch drivers, along with two 1-inch tweeters, and a listed frequency range of 40 Hz to 22,000 Hz. At present Polk has yet to specifically announce when the Command Bar will be available to buy, although it is expected to arrive in the Spring. As for the price, $299.95.


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Freelance Contributor

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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