The TP-Link Deco Voice X20 marries an Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker with a mesh router. It's not a new concept — Asus, Google and Netgear have launched similar products in the past. But I'm surprised that these hybrid devices haven't caught on among consumers. It makes much sense to combine smart speakers and mesh routers as you usually place them in the same places in your home. While the Deco Voice X20 doesn't bring anything new to the table, it is more affordable than its competitors. And that, more than anything, could help it gain traction.
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (AX1800)
- 2x Gigabit LAN/WAN ports
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Coverage of up to 4,000 sq feet (371 sq metre) with two units
The Deco Voice X20 is powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. You'll be prompted to log in to your Amazon account while setting up the Deco Voice using the Deco mobile app. This app, though, only has basic settings (enable audio cues and change the language) for Amazon Alexa. You have to install the Amazon Alexa app on your phone for additional settings. Each Deco Voice unit — I tested a 2-pack — has to be linked and configured for Alexa individually. This means I had to sign in to my Amazon account twice. Now I understand that some users may not wish to have Alexa enabled on all their Deco Voice units, but I wish there's a faster way to do this. In addition, you can connect the Deco Voice to other Deco routers, such as the Deco X50 to form a single mesh Wi-Fi network.
With the Alexa-powered Deco Voice, you can give it voice commands, like asking about the weather, set timers, and control smart home devices. But some features may be missing as Singapore users get the “International Version” of Alexa. Of course, you do have music playback from streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music, obviously. Amazon Music isn't available in Singapore, but I could play preset Amazon Music playlists on the Deco Voice via the Alexa app. The Deco Voice also has ridiculously keen “ears”, thanks to a quadruple microphone array. The unit in the bedroom picked up my voice while I was testing the one in the living room. This was despite music playing in the background from the living room Deco Voice. The Deco Voice lights up upon hearing the Alexa audio cue. It also has a microphone mute button, an Alexa action button and two volume buttons.
As a Wi-Fi 6 mesh router, the Deco Voice X20, when placed appropriately, can eliminate Wi-Fi blindspots in your home. For example, the download speed in a distant bedroom in my apartment is around 187Mbps with the Deco Voice, compared to 100Mbps or less with a standard non-mesh router. At 436Mbps, the download speed in the living room near the router is middling. I got similar speeds with TP-Link's budget Mercusys Wi-Fi router. But the Deco Voice also comes with TP-Link's HomeShield suite for things like parental controls (the higher-tier Pro version costs S$8.98 a month). As a speaker, the Deco Voice's audio isn't anything to shout about. There's some distortion at higher volumes and not much bass to speak of.
The TP-Link Deco Voice X20 is currently selling at S$299 for a set of two. You'll also get a free TP-Link Tapo smart bulb, which you can control via Amazon Alexa's smart home functionality, as part of an ongoing promotion. In comparison, the standard Deco X20, which is the speaker-less version, is going for around S$200 now. If you have been eyeing a smart speaker or planning a smart home, the Deco Voice is worth considering for its hybrid speaker-router features. Not only do you require fewer power points with this two-in-one device, it also takes up less space. Most of its direct competitors also launched several years ago and use the older Wi-Fi 5 standard. Get the Deco Voice from Challenger, Lazada or Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by TP-Link.
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