harman/kardon - Invoke Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Cortana Voice Assistant - Silver pearl

Voice Compatible
Combine the convenience of Microsoft's Cortana with incredible sound by using this Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. Its voice-control technology lets you pick up phone calls, Skype and ask Cortana questions, and the quality construction ensures long-lasting use. This Harman Kardon Invoke speaker projects powerful 360-degree sound, so you won't miss a beat.

Speaker Buying Guide
$199.99

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    Silver pearl
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    Overview

    What's Included


    • Harman Kardon Invoke Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Cortana Voice Assistant

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    88% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (148 out of 169)

    Features


    40W nominal power handling

    Helps ensure rich, dynamic sound.

    Cortana Voice Assistant

    Your personal digital assistant helps you stay on top of what's important

    Three 1-3/4" woofers

    Along with three 1/2" tweeters for a complete range of sounds.

    2-way speaker system

    Sounds like 1 source rather than several separate sources.

    Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

    Offer easy connectivity to your compatible device.

    60Hz - 20kHz frequency response

    Ensures a wide range of accurately reproduced sound.


    Customer rating

    4.3
    88%
    would recommend to a friend

    Pros

    Cons

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Harman Kardon Invoke – An MS 'Work' In Progress

      Posted
      pauldar
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member
      • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

      Out of the box this is an impressive device. It is a Grey, cone-shaped, artistic looking perforated, speaker tower with complimentary, muted black at the bottom and at the tapered top. It has a heavy 'feel' to it even though it only weighs approximately 2.3 pounds. I like the modern design of this unit. It looks good anywhere I place it in my living spaces. What's In The Box? * Invoke Speaker Tower – Approximately 9 ½ “ Tall. * Power Cord – Approximately 48” in Length. * Warranty Card & Registration Information – Limited One Year Warranty * Safety Instructions * MS Cortana Product Information * Invoke User and Set-Up Guide Being familiar with MS Cortana on three of my devices, I was anxiously looking forward to use the Harman Karman Invoke, voice-activated speaker for test and review. After a week of daily use here are my opinions: Pros With Restrictions: ** Sound Quality – It is impressive with 360 degrees of rich, vibrant, clear voice treble, and full, profound bass. There are three compact woofers, along with three tweeters and two passive radiators driving the dynamics of bass sound reproduction. You can turn the volume up with a twist of the top ring and make the sound as loud as you want. It fills my room. ** Voice – Cortana's voice is consistent over all MS devices. She has a very pleasing voice, as a digital assistant should sound, in your home. What I like is that she responds quickly to commands and questions, and, has a built-in sense of humor with wacky facts. ** FREE Skype Calling - Free MS Skype calling from the US to mobile phones and landlines in the US, Canada and Mexico. Activate by Sept 1, 2018. Limit 2 free subscriptions per speaker. I paired my phone and Invoke through Bluetooth. Then, I set-up my Skype account in the Cortana App. I can now call anyone on mobile, or landline through my Skype and, or, phone contacts using voice-activated Cortana on Invoke, FREE for a year. ** Listening Range – I have my Invoke on a lamp table in my living room. I can go approximately 40' away from the unit in any direction and Cortana understands my voice commands through Harman’s SONIQUE TM far-field voice recognition technology. It has seven microphones, and a 40 watt amplifier, more then any of its competitors. YooHoo! ** Microsoft Account – You need to have a valid MS Account to access after downloading the FREE Cortana App for IOS, Google, or Windows 10. ** Plays both fee-subscription music ( Spotify) and FREE stations (IHeart & TuneIn) also. At this time there is no support for any other streaming music stations on Invoke. - - - However, I paired my phone with Invoke and played other music services like (Pandora and ITunes), but Cortana is limited to volume control, play, pause, and previous/next track using Bluetooth. ** Connects easily to 5.0 GHz or 2.4 GHz, WI-FI, radio bands on your router (need password). You can use your existing Cortana App on your PC, download on your Phone, or listen too Cortana's voice-activated, set-up instructions by tapping the top of unit after powering it up. Additionally, Invoke WI-FI is 802.11b/g/n/ac, primarily made for 5 GHz, and is many times faster than 802.11b/g/n. Invoke will work on 2.4GHz radio frequency also. ** No Commercials, whatsoever, other then those that pop-up on your music stations. WooHoo! ** Ask Cortana Anything - She will give you your answer based on MS Bing searches over the Internet. - - - No other 'search-engines' are supported at this time. ** Calendars - Cortana can connect to MS Outlook and recognize events listed there, add, or change, accordingly, and also MS Office 365 accounts. Cortana works across your devices. - - - At this time there is no support for any other type of calendar service. ** Control your Smart-Home devices. I have a Nest home thermostat that I can use Cortana to raise or lower the temperature by using my voice. Invoke works with, Philips Hue, Nest, Wink, SmartThings, Samsung Smart Home and Insteon. - - - MS is now working with companies like Honeywell, Johnson Controls, etc. for additional services for Cortana. There is a comprehensive list of skills and such compatible with Cortana at the MS home page. ** Simple Controls – Starting at the top is a Touch-Sensitive Pad. Just below the pad is a Volume Ring, which turns in either direction. At the front of the base of Invoke is a WI-FI, status LED. On the back of the base is a Bluetooth Pairing Button, Microphone ON/OFF Button, and a Factory Reset Button. On the bottom inside is the j120V power connection and an Micro-USB for 'service' only. Light displays on top let you know what is happening. - - - There is no 3.5 mm jack for Input/Output to connect an outside music source or another speaker. ** Notifications & Information Across Devices – I synced my PC notifications to my Smart Phone through the 'Settings' in my Cortana App. I turned ON, 'Send notifications and information between devices', and when my phone came up, I allowed it as trusted device. - - - However, Invoke can only handle one MS account at this time, the one it was set-up for only. Information, notifications, and calendars cannot be shared by multiple-users. Cons: * Cortana has difficulties at times recognizing different voices. * Invoke is basically a 'stand-alone' speaker - cannot pair with other speakers in my home. * One MS account, and, only MS support limits the great potential, future use, of Invoke. * The 120V power plug is enormous. It takes up three outlets on my surge protector strip. * If I am using my laptop both Cortana's respond at the same time to any of my commands. * No TV or Gaming control. Not integrated with services like Netflix, Xbox, etc. Summary: Having been a fan of MS for over 20 years, I think that MS Invoke with Cortana is truly 'a work-in-progress'. As a speaker the sound is far superior to the other major, voice-activated, digital assistants I have heard in friends homes. I love the richness of the mid-ranges and full bass in my living room. There is no doubt in my mind that MS will roll out numerous 'skills' for Cortana in the near future even though the competition is definitely way ahead of Cortana at this time. However, you have to consider a year's worth of FREE, unlimited, MS Skype domestic and international calls is a 'bargain' in itself. Even with my listed restrictions, I highly recommend the purchase of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana. It is a FUN device that will only get better in the near future. Go for it!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Best Smart Speaker if You Only Want One

      Posted
      evanst2435
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      The Invoke is a truly great smart speaker - especially if you can get it on the sale price when it's $99. I actually liked this speaker a lot BUT I did end up returning it and I'll explain why. Let me start out by saying the Invoke is simply beautiful. It is tall and cylindrical and looks like something you would find in some high end home. The outside grill feels like it is made out of a thin metal, the top rotates for the volume and it has this almost soft click when you do adjust it that just feels very high quality, and there are no ports except for a clean power in source. The top also features my favorite part which is the touchpad that houses the LED that is very bright and displays a circular motion when it's thinking or pulsates when it gives an answer. The setup out of the box was very simple and straightforward with the Cortana app which is in some ways even better than the Alexa app. Cortana herself is also probably the best sounding assistant out of the others which include Google and Alexa. The sound quality from this speaker is just absolutely amazing. It provides 360 degree sound output and while it doesn't have a strong bass, it does provide really good mid and highs. So, why did I end up returning this speaker if I have all of that praise to give it? Well, for starters there isn't a whole lot you can do with Cortana at the moment. There were a good bit of questions or things I would ask Cortana and it would say "Sorry I can't do that at the moment" or "Sorry I don't have that functionality yet". Alexa has been out there for a while now and can tout 25,000 skills versus Cortana's 230 skills. Personally, I think that out of those 25,000 skills you may only really need to use a dozen or so, but the point is that Alexa at least has the option there whereas Cortana at the moment doesn't. There is, however, a big silver lining: Cortana will soon be able to work with Alexa and supposedly you can say "Cortana ask Alexa to...". and it will work with your Alexa devices to do whatever skill you need it to. When I was trying out the speaker I put it in my kitchen while my living room and bedroom were serviced by Echo Dots. The only smart home thing I have at the moment are some Phillips Hue bulbs, but Cortana took a noticeably longer time to turn on or off a light versus Alexa. Alexa did it almost instantaneously. However, the main reason I decided to take the Invoke back really came down to one main thing: I wanted continuity. I own two Echo Dots hooked up to an external speaker. I use multi-room audio. I like being able to go from one room to the next and have some semblance of things crossing over, however with the Invoke not supporting multi-room audio or the ability to communicate with my Echo Dots it just seemed pointless. Would I buy the Invoke again if they offered multi-room audio or improved their skill set and speed? Definitely. In a heartbeat I would. However, at the moment they don't. So, would I recommend this speaker to you? Yes! But, only if this is your first smart speaker or if you are planning on this being your only smart speaker in your home. I have to give Amazon credit: they offer a variety of Echo devices that you can fill your home with. I only wish Microsoft would do the same with Cortana, or perhaps open the Invoke fully to being compatible with the Echos.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great speaker, only limited by Cortana

      Posted
      GadgetGuy1981
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
      • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

      If you're a heavy user of Cortana's skills, have I got a device for you... If you're not sure what Cortana is, or what Cortana can do, or if you expect this to work like an Echo (with Alexa) or a Google Home (with Assistant), you might be disappointed. This device is a BEAUTIFUL speaker, standing about a foot tall with a nice heavy, ~5" wide base. Its something to display with pride as an awesome audio device. Harmon Kardon doesn't disappoint (they never have in my mind) delivering great highs and lows, and typically better mids than comparable devices (mud in mids is a common problem of any speaker this small that isn't tuned using high end gear). Aside from the audio quality, this thing is constructed of nice sturdy plastic that is finished like brushed metal - Some of it may be magnesium alloy but it all feels premium. The top has an excellent slow-turning volume jog dial, and the very top is a queue button for Cortana herself. Down on the bottom there is a soft-touch rubber base that keeps her on her feet (foot, so to say...) Cortana herself is my favorite Digital Assistant for vocal clarity - She sounds the most advanced. She'll soon interface with Alexa too (she tells me) but as of now, unless you're a heavy Windows 10 user who has set up all of the skills, she's not as valuable in the home automation or general knowledge space as GA or Alexa. She's got lots of APIs that developers need to take advantage of, but Microsoft and Developers don't seem to find each other on these things. Her recognition of my voice was excellent, but she sits on my desk in my home office and I found her fighting with herself on my Windows 10 laptop for who would respond. She's also not great with semantics yet, but this is a problem with most of the VAs out there today - You need to learn their vernacular for the commands to give... The responses she's capable of inside my PC are about the same in this unit, so if you want a primer on how Cortana will work, try her first in Windows 10 on your desktop or laptop to get a feel for her capabilities. The device can be paired to any BT audio device as a speaker, and does so admirably, albeit it was fun figuring out what to ask her to start pairing the first time... Resulted in some fun definitions of the work "Pairing" and some information on the financial practice of "Pairing" from Wikipedia. I paired my Invoke to an iPad, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and a MacBook Pro just to see how well it would handle odd, off-brand pairing scenarios and it was a champ. Its definitely my new go-to speaker tower in the office for musical work sessions. All in all good hardware from a good name with an AI/VA that has potential unrealized. The future will tell if this is a great match or not. Most of that depends on whether Microsoft can find similar home assistant capabilities or differentiated value in Cortana in the mass market or enterprise space.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Great sound but...

      Posted
      Technopackrat
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      Yet another home assistant solution. I'm really torn about the Harmon/Kardon Invoke using Microsoft's Cortana technology. This late comer to the game has a lot to overcome due to the limited connected applications but this is only because of Cortana. For music you only have the choice of Groove Music, iHeartRadio or Spotify. No Pandora, no iTunes, and no Amazon. Now I fully expected that Amazon Music would not be connected due to competing devices but no iTunes or Pandora? When I tell Cortana I want music it tells me it's a better DJ when using Spotify Premium. Hmmm... maybe I don't want to pay for another music streaming service. There is a work around, sorta, which I will cover later. Cortana does connect to Nest, Wink, Hue and Samsung Connect home devices but I had issues with taking control of my Nest even though they were connected. And Cortana does connect to Outlook and Skype so you can check your calendar and make hands free calls. Okay, most of what I have covered is more of a negative review aimed at Cortana and not the Invoke. I'll attempt to focus on the Invoke but since I use Google Calendar and Amazon Music I'm struggling with finding the usefulness. Setup was easy. You must download the Cortana app for either Windows 10 PC, Android or iPhone. The app walks you very clearly through the steps and you have your Invoke connected in no time. The Invoke is attractive. The charcoal color and solid metal materials give it a very appealing look. The biggest advantage of the Invoke is the sound quality. It beats the others hands down. Much richer and enjoyable and like the others it provides sound 360° around the speaker. So here is the work around for using unsupported music sites... since the sound quality is great you can also take advantage of it as a Bluetooth speaker. This kinda takes the convenience of hands free services away but you can use Siri or Bixby or Google on your iPhone or Android to play almost hands free music. You still need to push the activation button on your phone to the voice recognition to work but it will work. If sound quality is your deciding factor in a home assistant device then the Invoke is the way to go. I'm sure the services and capabilities will continue to grow. If you need a home assistant device that has more connectivity out of the box then you might want to check out the alternatives. I'd recommend the Invoke with the above mentioned qualifiers.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

      Nice Speaker But A Poor Assistant

      Posted
      VADarkstar
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      The Invoke speaker looks great and seems solid and well-designed. As a natural language assistant (or is it an AI speaker? a smart speaker?), it definitely sounds better than Google Home - it sounds good, in general, and functions just fine as a bluetooth speaker (though for that function alone, there are better options for less money). The sound is clear and has a rich warm tone - but there can be distortion with some music at higher volumes (though it's still way better than Google Home) - as you might expect, the sound was better and less distorted over bluetooth from my iPod. I did my setup through a Windows 10 PC - and while the setup was straightforward, it was a little time-consuming (took about 20 minutes for me including an update to the Invoke). As far as operation goes, I guess the best summary of my experience with the Invoke is that it is likable but klutzy. Microsoft fanatics and Skype adherents and some people with a paid Spotify account will adore it - but for those of us who are just looking for a chatty information assistant and some background music there are frustrations. The biggest failing, in my experience, has been Cortana itself - it has consistently flubbed even some simple requests - and it tends to take a long time to respond (I think a five second delay to retrieve the local weather summary is pretty bad!). Looking at my voice command history, I can see that Cortana butchered some of my words. The top surface of the Invoke is touch-sensitive and is designed to respond to taps - so far that functionality has been working inconsistently. Another limitation is in Invoke’s ability to access music - you can request musical selections only from iHeartRadio, Spotify and TuneIn - and I find that it fails give me selections from some fairly uncontroversial requests. Finally, the Invoke will allow you to make handsfree calls to named contacts on your Skype account - but I have a cell phone so I didn’t see that as particularly desirable (and to be honest, I wasn’t even aware that Skype was still a big thing). Harman Kardon did a great job with their sound design. But the Invoke really has a long way to go to catch up with the Google Home and Amazon Echo and Alexa products - and aside from the uniquely nice sound of the Invoke, I can’t suggest a single desirable feature or functionality that would elevate this product over its competitors.

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great product, not perfect

      Posted
      psyclopps
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
      • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

      I am so far enjoying my Harmon / Kardon Invoke with Cortana. I have tried all the major voice assistant speakers and this one has a niche if it fits your life. Overall, do not expect integration to the degree that others offer. If you are deep in the Microsoft ecosystem and use Spotify, TuneIn or iHeartRadio this should be a great product. I’ll start with the negatives this time. First, it is not the best option for a wide variety of smart home devices. The amount of support is somewhat minimal and the number of “skills” is low. I expect this to grow over time and Microsoft has stated they plan to support Pandora in the future, but it just isn’t there yet. Setting up skills is also awkward in the Cortana phone app and feels like an afterthought. Main ones that I found are Nest, Expedia, Capital One, Dominos, Samsung Smart Things, Fitbit, Phillips Hue and a few more. I previously listed the supported music apps. Now for the nice parts. The build quality is superb. It doesn’t feel plastic, it feels mostly metal. The volume ring has a smooth motion to it. The Cortana light is just uber cool to look at. Voice recognition is pretty good and has the power of Bing behind it. Say what you will about Bing, but it really does have good results. All the voice assistants have their quarks and Cortana is no different, but I found the accuracy to be high. Sound quality is very good to me overall. I used this with Spotify and most of the sound was pretty high end and room filling. I enjoy this a lot. It has replaced my previous competitor as my office voice assistance since it looks cool, works well with the info from my Windows PC and has great sound quality. I do not think it is best if you want a jack of all trades, but it met all my needs!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Excellent sound, but needs minor improvements.

      Posted
      Parker
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      The sound quality of the Harman/Kardon Invoke is excellent compared to some of the other smart speakers i have tried. It can fill up a room at easily at half volume. It has six speakers total, 3 woofers and 3 tweeters. The build quality is also great giving it a very premium look and feel. The speaker looks expensive. I love the way it looks on my desk or on any other counter i put it on. It has a metal grill around it, the top itself is touch sensitive and lights up when you touch it or say "Hey Cortana" which is Microsofts virtual assistant, the top also rotates as a manual volume knob which is pretty neat. You can tap the top to get a random fun fact from Cortana which is always interesting. The voice commands are great i can say " hey Cortana what's the news?" naturally without pausing after asking for Cortana. On my Alexa speaker i have to slightly pause then say my command which is a little annoying. You can set reminders, check your calendar, Skype calls, Hue lights and a few music services. It has support for Iheart radio, spotify and Tunein radio at the moment. The only thing i have a issue with is the on the Cortana app i cannot choose from a list of radio stations on it, sometimes you may not know an exact station name and Cortana cannot take you to the station or maybe you want to explore a different genre and cant because you need to know the name. On on of my Alexa enabled speakers you can do just that. It's a minor thing and can be forgiven maybe they can update the app in the future and fix this. You can also use it as a bluetooth speaker. Connects to my phone very easily with no disconnection. Plays music from my phone with ease, sometimes i connect it to my phone when I'm watching Netflix. Overall excellent sounding speaker, great design elements, looks good, just shy from perfect because of the music accessibility from the app. I would recommend it especially because it is on sale this week for $99!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great sound!!

      Posted
      DoctorB

      This HK speaker sounds great! High quality construction, and looks awesome! I put 4 stars because I had a lot of problems setting up the speaker with Cortana app in iPhone 7 Plus, I think they have to fix that problem. After trying everything for 30 minutes suddenly it worked fine connecting WiFi from the iPhone settings not from the App and so far I liked it! I was between this one and the new Sonos One with Alexa, the reason I chose the Invoke is because Sonos doesn’t have Bluetooth ando think this one has a better looking, other than that I think Sonos is a really good option too. I use to have the SoundTouch 10 by Bose, compared to this one I would say the hi frequencies are very similar, low frequencies definitely Bose wins, but HK Invoke has better looking and is a smart speaker, so far is working perfectly and I’m happy with it!

      I would recommend this to a friend



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