Review: JAM Voice speaker adds Amazon Alexa support

JAM Voice lifestyle image office
JAM Audio
At a Glance
  • JAM HX-P590BK Jam Voice Portable Wifi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa, Black

Amazon offers several options for people who want to experience the Echo/Alexa voice-controlled assistance technology. For $180 (or $130 if you buy the Amazon Tap) you can buy the full Amazon Echo speaker system; if you already own a Bluetooth speaker system you can get the $50 Echo Dot.

If you’re not down with the Amazon hardware, you have another third-party option. The JAM Voice ($50, via Amazon) from JAM Audio is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker that includes Amazon Alexa Voice Service integration. The tiny speaker offers up to four hours of play time and recharges via USB cable (power outlet adapter not included).

The speaker sets up via the JAM Wi-Fi app, letting you connect the speaker to your existing Wi-Fi network (you need Internet connectivity in order to use the Alexa voice services). If you don’t want to utilize that option, you can connect via Bluetooth like every other portable Bluetooth speaker. The JAM Voice also integrates with JAM Audio’s other Wi-Fi speaker systems (the Rhythm and Symphony) to give you multi-room audio.

JAM Voice JAM Audio Bluetooth Wi-Fi speaker JAM Audio

The small JAM Voice Bluetooth/Wi-Fi speaker includes Amazon Alexa voice assistant support (only via Wi-Fi).

There is one odd requirement – the JAM Voice requires connection to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, not a 5 GHz network. This created some configuration issues for me – as the home network I use combines the 2.4GHz and 5GHz under a single SSID. Fortunately, I was able to use another router and configure two separate networks to test the device.

To access the Alexa service (after configuring it via the JAM app with an Amazon account), you push a button on the top of the speaker and ask your question. The physical action of a button push is required, unlike the voice activation seen on the Echo device.

Sound quality was good for a small speaker – connecting via Wi-Fi introduces a slight delay with the music starting and stopping, but not so much that it would irritate you. Music integration via the JAM Audio app includes Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeart Radio and Tidal. With the Amazon Alexa integration I could also ask the device to play a specific song from my music library on Spotify, but only because I have the Premium service. Configuring the speaker and Amazon to support the different music services wasn’t too difficult, but is required for specific tasks.

Bottom line: If you already own some other JAM Audio devices, this is a great way to include Amazon Alexa support for your home and get the benefit of having another Wi-Fi speaker. This is also great if you’re looking to get into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem without paying more for the Amazon hardware (it's the same price as the Echo Dot and includes the Bluetooth speaker functionality).

Grade: 4 stars (out of five).

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At a Glance
  • JAM HX-P590BK Jam Voice Portable Wifi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa, Black

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