ASUS has announced the Lyra Voice at CES 2019, and it's exactly what it sounds like. It's the latest version of ASUS's popular Lyra mesh WiFi system, but it has Amazon Alexa built-in as well as a smart speaker (because how else would Alexa be able to respond to you?). This is a fairly new type of product, though NETGEAR did it first with HARMAN last year at IFA, with the Orbi Voice, which is an Orbi satellite that has Alexa built-in, as well as some pretty good sound thanks to the Harman Kardon partnership there.
Looks more like a speaker than a router
The Lyra Voice actually looks a whole lot more like a speaker than an actual router. This is because it has cones on either side of the device, which are able to output some pretty decent sound quality. In the center is where you will find your controls as well as antennas for this router. Now this does look like a portable speaker, one that you could pick up and take around the house, since it is pretty small. But, since it does need to stay plugged in, it is not portable. However, this is a good looking router that you could put on a bedside table or on another table in your home to expand the signal in your home.
ASUS has put two eight-watt speakers inside the Lyra Voice, which is going to give you plenty of sound to fill an entire room. ASUS says that this speaker was tuned by its Golden Ear team, so that you are getting some great sounding audio with maximum fidelity. There is also support for DTS Surround Sound included. What this boils down to is that you are going to get a "smart speaker" in the form of a router that is not skimping in either department. Great sound quality, and great signal as well.
A smart speaker that also improves your WiFi is a win/win
Back when the Orbi Voice was announced last year, we thought it was one of the most genius products out there at the time. And it still rings true now that ASUS has done it with the Lyra Voice. ASUS and NETGEAR have essentially taken two products that are normally available in your home, and combined it into one. This means that there are less products that need to be plugged in, but also less connections on your network. And by giving the Lyra Voice a rather sophisticated look, ASUS has made sure that its customers are going to proudly display it in their home. This does two things, allows the Lyra Voice to provide better signal quality, than if it were tucked away on the floor somewhere, but it also means that customers are going to get better sound out of it than something like the Echo Dot.
ASUS has also made sure that the Lyra Voice is going to protect you, and everyone on the network. The purpose of a mesh WiFi system isn't just to blanket your home in WiFi and give you better connection speed, but to also protect you from viruses and malware. Thanks to the AiProtection Pro, which is powered by Trend Micro, users will be able to keep all of the devices on their network safe from Internet threats. ASUS also provides free updates for the life of the Lyra Voice, so that your network will stay protected for years to come. ASUS knows that parents are often worried about what their kids might be doing online and seeing. So it has built state-of-the-art parental controls in the Lyra mesh WiFi family of products, allowing parents to keep a watchful eye on what their kids are doing online. Parents are able set time limits and schedules for their kids' devices. Parents also have the ability to block specific categories of mobile apps and websites, and that can be applied to all devices that belong to a specific family member.
Pricing & Availability
According to ASUS, it will be releasing the Lyra Voice in "the coming weeks". There has been no specific release date yet, but it will be launching in the US, and likely in other markets that already sell ASUS' Lyra family of mesh WiFi systems. The retail price for the Lyra Voice is going to be $219. Which actually puts it quite a bit lower than the Orbi Voice. However, ASUS has not bundled this with other Lyra routers, which means you will need to purchase other Lyra routers to get a mesh WiFi system started in your home. That might change though, once the Lyra Voice hits retail later this month.