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Hands-on review: The ASUS Lyra Voice is a smart router with the power of invisibility
Fri, 1st Nov 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In the digital era, we gradually add devices around the house, each serving a different need. Some may have Bluetooth speakers, or smart speakers to provide room to room music while receiving voice commands, and several MESH routers to form a reliable MESH WiFi network.

Some may even invest in a security gateway to prevent external attacks, or simply content filtering and usage restrictions for kids. These slowly eat the space around the house, making it harder to keep the house nice and tidy. Will the ASUS Lyra Voice be the ideal product to tidy things up? Let's find out.

The Lyra Voice is the latest member of ASUS's Lyra family. It looks no different from a set of standard Bluetooth speakers, and it easily blends itself into any corner of the house.

It is a 6-stream tri-band wave2 AC2200 wireless router with descent reception range, where one unit will be able to provide enough coverage for average New Zealand homes.

The out of box support for AiMesh, ASUS' own MESH solution, enables it to be paired with other compliant routers to form your home MESH WiFi network. Even if you already own a different brand router, it can also be used as a WiFi range extender with dedicated backhaul to extend the range without noticeable performance penalties.

It also has all the bells and whistles of modern ASUS routers, such as Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Internet Security powered by Trend Micro, even VPN server and client support. Quite impressive.

Being a smart speaker, the Lyra Voice actually speaks. At the side of the Lyra Voice are the two stereo speakers along with passive radiators and bass reflex ports to extend the resonance of low frequency sound. This design can help to enhance the wideness and strength of bass extension when playing low-frequency music. DTS Surround is supported to enrich the listening experience. These speakers can also be used as a small Bluetooth sound bar if desirable.

The configuration process is slightly more complicated than other ASUS routers. This is because you need to set up both the router and Alexa voice assistant as they live under the same umbrella.

I suggest using the ASUS router app to configure, as it does guide you through the ASUS and Amazon apps whenever necessary to ease the setup process. It takes just under 5 minutes to configure. Believe me, it is worth the effort.

The Lyra Voice is equipped with a set of array microphones at the centre of the unit to listen to Alexa commands. These microphones are assisted by far-field voice recognition technology and noise cancellation for the assurance of capturing your commands clearly from any directions, even while playing music.

When you say the word, ‘Alexa', the LED on the front panel of Lyra Voice turns blue, indicating it is ready for your voice command. There is also a total of 16 additional skills for the direct controls of its router functions such as suspension of internet, checking security status and more.

You can also add your own flavour to the mix by creating your own commands using the built-in IFTTT function to interact with other IFTTT compliant devices. There is a mute key at the top if you feel there is a need to mute the speakers for a moment of silence.

Overall, the Lyra Voice provides an audio upgrade compared to a standard Echo, while also helps to improve WiFi around the house. If you looking to make your home smart with Alexa, then the Lyra Voice should definitely be on your next shopping list.