LAS VEGAS – All the best smart speakers let you use voice assistants and sound superb. But the last time I checked, none of them float and have a flexible display. At least not like this strange I spotted at CES 2020.
The Alexa-enabled Mirage melds Cleer’s audio hardware with Royole’s flexible AMOLED screen technology to birth a wild smart speaker-display hybrid that appears to float in thin air. Mirage debuted at last year’s CES, but Cleer says it’ll at last be ready to ship in Q2 of 2020.
While a visible backbone holds the Mirage together, looking at it straight-on lends the illusion of a hovering cylinder between two clear disks. It’s pretty trippy if you catch it at the right angle.
Inside the Mirage are 3 1.75-inch full range drivers and a passive radiator. Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” sounded full through the 3.1 channel speaker during my demo. I found the Mirage’s design circular design and wrap-around grille accurately lends itself to a 360-degree listening experience.
As commanding as the Mirage sounds, I struggled to pull my attention from the curved, 7.8-inch AMOLED touch display throughout my hands-on session. The screen remained colorful and bright as I navigated the proprietary interface with my fingers and voice.
But when I relied on voice commands, I quickly learned that Alexa integration is not quite refined yet. When I asked Alexa to tell me a joke, the Star Trek pun it provided materialized on a blue background as it would on an Echo Show. However, when I asked Amazon’s voice assistant to show me recipes for chocolate chip cookies, it simply couldn’t.
More impressive is the Mirage’s a 5-Megapixel front-facing camera that can be used to snap pics or video chat with friends and family. I could see myself clearly when I demoed it on the show floor.
Once the smart assistant integration is smoothed out (and Cleer says it will be) I think the Mirage’s modern design and solid audio could make it the coolest smart speaker this year. Although its $899 price tag could be a major setback.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hubfor the latest news and hands-on impressions out of Las Vegas.