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Zebronics Smart Bot Review: A Unique Smart Speaker With IR Blaster
Zebronics, a homegrown brand has a foothold in the audibles market with its portfolio of products. The company has launched a slew of products including Bluetooth headphones, neckbands, truly wireless earbuds and speakers. The latest launch from the company is the Zebronics Smart Bot that comes with in-built Alexa and an IR Blaster.
- IR Blaster to control devices
- Loud sound output with bottom-firing speakers
- Minimal bass output
Priced at Rs. 3,999, the Zebronics Smart Bot is up for purchase via the official Zebronics online store and other channels such as Amazon India. After having used this smart speaker for almost a week, here is a review on the same to help you decide if it will make its way to your home.
In The Box
The Zebronics Smart Bot package comes bundled with a user manual, the smart speaker itself, and a USB cable that you can plug into an adapter to power the speaker. The package details all the features including Alexa, IR Blaster with 360-degree remote control, smart app control, 2.4GHz WiFi, and 5W speaker.
Sturdy Build Quality
Detailing the design and looks of the Zebronics Smart Bot smart speaker, it weighs in at just 388 grams that makes it ultra portable wherever you go and can be placed anywhere in your home or office. It measures 5.5-inch in height and 3.5-inch in width. The body is built entirely of plastic and it comes in a matte black color option. The bottom-firing speaker grilles are designed in a synchronous and stylish way. The holes are positioned uniformly at the bottom and randomly at the top, thereby giving it a nice look.
On one side, you can see the Zebronics branding while the opposite side has the Zeb Smart Bot branding. At the bottom edge on one of the sides is a USB power in port. We have the buttons and microphones at the top of the speaker. There are four microphones and five buttons. You can see the mute button, volume rockers, and a play/pause button. However, the user manual mentions only two microphones. At the middle is the action button that will let the speaker pair with your smartphone using Bluetooth. The top ring also has a 360-degree IR Blaster, which is unique about this smart speaker. This lets it control other devices from any direction.
There is a LED ring around the action button. It turns red on muting, orange while setting up and blue when you call for Alexa.
While we do miss out a USB Type-C port on this speaker, it doesn't make any difference as the device has to be plugged in all the time to use it. This is because of the reason that is known to us - lack of a built in battery. One big relief is that it could work with my power bank, thereby letting me use it outdoors too.
Talking about the build quality, the Zebronics Smart Bot appears to have a good and sturdy build quality. It doesn't seem to disappoint us in terms of quality. It is also different from the fabric design that we see on the Echo lineup of smart speakers from Amazon.
Set Up Is Simple
Firstly, you need to plug in the smart speaker to a power adapter and turn it on. Now, the LED will glow in orange and it will tell you that it is ready to get connected. Now, download the Zeb Home app on your Android or iOS device. Create an account or sign in to your account and add a device. The Zeb Smart Bot will show up in the app. Enter your WiFi credentials and your Amazon account credentials. That's it! The connection will be established. You will be able to use Alexa without any issues.
What's interesting is that the speaker features Bluetooth 4.2, thereby letting your connect your phone to the speaker via Bluetooth as well. You just have to ask Alexa to turn on Bluetooth and open your phone's Bluetooth menu to pair the device and use it as any other Bluetooth speaker.
Performance Is Impressive
When it comes to performance, the Zebronics Smart Bot does a good job as a budget portal speaker. It features a single driver and delivers 5 watt sound output. It gets loud enough despite being a small speaker. The sound quality is clear and crisp but you can't expect superior bass performance as it is very minimal. This shouldn't be a great issue as this is not a party speaker. However, it delivers good performance when it comes to highs.
During my review, I was happy about the sound output and didn't not find any distortion even at high volume levels. On the whole, it is a perfect addition to your kitchen shelf, work desk or bedside table.
The most interesting feature of the Zebronics Smart Bot is the built-in voice-controlled IR Blaster that lets you control other devices. To do so, you need to visit the Zeb Home app. Here you need to click on the Zeb Home app and click on the menu at the left. Choose IR devices and tap on 'Add' to add more devices. You can see a slew of devices that it can connect including TV, set top box, air conditioners, bulb, projectors, camera, and more. Just select the device you wish to control, add the same and click on Can Control. Once done, you can control the device right from your Zeb Home app.
To enable voice controlling of the devices, go to the Amazon Alexa app and login with the same credentials you used for the Zeb Home app. Go to skills and games and search for Zebronics Home. Just enable the skillset by logging in with your Zebronics account details. Once the linking is done, you can voice control the other devices with the smart speaker. So, you can control many devices with an IR receiver from anywhere using the app. But the speaker should be in a line of sight to these devices.
During my review, I connected the smart speaker to my smart TV and it did work smoothly without any glitch.
Given that there is inbuilt Alexa and IR Blaster, the Zebronics Smart Bot is a major leap as compared to the Amazon Echo lineup of smart speakers. We can expect more improved speakers from Zebronics with a 360-degree IR feature. However, it does misses out on some aspects such as a 3.5mm headphone jack seen on Echo speakers to connect it simply to a home theater.
Besides this, the Zebronics Smart Bot worked fine in almost all instances such as playing music and controlling devices. I would definitely recommend this smart speaker for someone looking for a unqiue experience within a budget.