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Lenovo Home Assistant Pack Pairs Tab 4, Alexa Speaker

BERLIN—Phones, TVs, tablets, and smartwatches in the US, UK, and Germany are all getting Amazon Alexa, but if there's one complaint about using a voice assistant on a phone or tablet, it's that voice feedback often isn't very audible.

Lenovo takes that into account with its Home Assistant Pack. It consists of a tablet in the Tab 4 series—Tab 4 8, Tab 4 10, Tab 4 8 Plus, or Tab 4 10 Plus—paired with a speaker that resembles the Amazon Echo.

Lenovo Home Assistant Pack

Using a special connector, you can dock the tablet into the speaker, turning the Tab 4 into a voice-activated smart assistant with a screen, similar to the Amazon Echo Show. Aside from the standard audible feedback, you also get a visual response. The screen acknowledges that Alexa is activated and can pull up information like the weather, calendar, and music through display cards in the Home Assistant interface.

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Having a screen doesn't mean the connected speaker is useless, though. The added speaker boosts the audio of the Tab 4 significantly, making Alexa's responses much easier to hear due to a pair of 3W speakers. While I was listening to music playback, the sound was loud and easy to hear despite being in a noisy environment. Alexa was also more responsive, using far-field detection to recognize the speakers voice via a pair of built-in mics.

If you're wondering what the difference is between the Home Assistant and the Lenovo Smart Assistant announced at CES, the latter is a much more powerful speaker. It has a 5W Trebel, 10W Woofer, and a Harmon Kardon edition with an extra 2-inch sound cavity that gives you a clearer tweeter and deeper bass. Music and other audio on the Smart Assistant will be louder and higher quality than on the Home Assistant. That said, you don't get a screen for visual feedback, making the Home Assistant a bit more engaging.

The Home Assistant Pack is available for $79.99 starting in October for the US, UK, and Germany, though pricing will vary from country to country. A separate Lenovo Tab 4 device is required to use the Home Assistant Pack.

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