66 Audio unveils Pro Voice wireless headphones with integrated Amazon Alexa: hands-on
As smartphones remove the headphone jack, we move further to a wireless world. 66 Audio's new Pro Voice headset not only provides long battery life and high quality sound, but brings Amazon Alexa to your headphones.
When you think of Amazon Alexa, you probably think of some kind of Echo device sitting around your home or office. 66 Audio worked hard with Amazon to bring a new wireless headset that lets you take Alexa with you on the go.
The new Pro Voice headphones integrate Amazon Alexa and even let you interact with Alexa through ActiveVoice recognition technology. This is the first time we have seen a wireless headphone with voice recognition so you can truly keep both hands on your keyboard or focused on another activity. Other headphones with assistants require a push of a button for activation. You can enjoy audio wirelessly from your phone and control the experience without touching the headset.
Last year I spent time running with the BTS Pro headset and loved the long battery life, excellent reception, and audio quality. 66 Audio took these same experiences and enhanced everything with the new Pro Voice headphones.
The Pro Voice headphones are available with blue and gray color highlights on the back side and around each headphone. The retail box contains the headphones, a zippered carrying case, and a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable. The headphones are charged up via USB Type C, which is becoming the new standard for Android smartphones and laptops. The headphones support quick charge technology so you can go from empty to full in 90 minutes.
The Pro Voice headphones are over-the-ear with no adjustments needed or special attachments required for a great fit. The back piece connects the two sides where headphones slipeasily over the top of your ear and around the back of your neck to securely rest in place. Each headphone is covered with memory foam cushion material so that it is comfortable on your ear for prolonged usage.
The arm that runs around the back of your neck has two hinge points so you can fold down the headphones and carry them in the zippered hard shell case when you go to the gym or travel with the Pro Voice. The arm is made of flexible plastic and adjust to fit around your neck in comfort.
The headphones only weigh in at 83 grams and are very lightweight for extended use. My ears are sensitive to long period of pressure, which is why I never wear larger headphones. I was able to comfortably wear the Pro Voice for a couple of hours.
All the action takes place on the right headphone with the USB Type-C charging port under a port cover and five buttons integrated into the outside of the headphone. The buttons are used to power on and off the headphones, manage playback of your music, and manage phone calls. A microphone is also found on the right headphone. There are no buttons or ports on the left headphone.
66 Audio's 3DRF antenna technology provides the Pro Voice with a range of 125 feet to connect to your device The Bluetooth radio supports aptX. A 500 mAh lithium polymer battery supports more than 40 hours of continuous playback or 400 hours of standby battery life.
66 Audio's ActiveVoice technology was developed over the past couple of years to enable always-on voice recognition, even while listening to music. While enjoying music, you can speak "Alexa" and then control your Amazon account wherever you are.
66 Audio Pro Voice headphones with integrated Amazon Alexa: in pictures
66 Audio has the MotionControl app for iOS and Android, updated for Pro Voice and Amazon Alexa integration. The app now has five tabs, noted by icons along the bottom. The first screen shows you your connectivity status, headphone battery level, last location of the headphones, and current selected equalizer.
The next screen simply provides a graphic of the five buttons on the right headphone and tapping each button on the image details the functionality of that button. This is a handy way to learn how to best use your Pro Voice headphones.
The third display is new and unique to the Pro Voice as it is the Amazon Alexa control screen. This screen shows you the Alexa cards that appear when you ask Alexa a question or to do something for you. If you are playing music, then a music player appears on the bottom half of the screen with album art, song and artist descriptions, and music playback controls. Alexa cards will flash up at times when there are visual answers to your inquiries.
The fourth display is dedicated to the equalizer. Here you can easily select pre-designed equalizers or even create your own by dragging the low, mid, and high levels where you desire. A bass boost button is also present.
The last display is for your settings and lets you toggle on or off the LED lights, allow notifications, and enable always-on voice for Amazon Alexa. You can also update the firmward of the Pro Voice from this section of the MotionControl application.
The iOS app also works on the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app shows you the headset battery life, lets you change the equalizer setting, and turns on the find my headphones option.
Experiences with the BTS Pro
I tested out the Pro Voice with an iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3 in order to test out the Motion Control application and Amazon Alexa functionality. I am an Amazon Prime member and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could simply state a song or artist and have it played with no further interaction or installation of any special music application. Customers who purchase a Pro Voice headset also get a 3-month trial to Amazon Music Unlimited for just 99 cents per month.
Most Amazon Alexa functions are supported by the Pro Voice headphones and MotionControl application. You cannot initiate calls through Amazon Alexa, but you can always choose to use Siri or Google Assistant for these phone-specific type functions. Flash Briefing, music control, weather status, sports team status, and hundreds of other Alexa queries work just fine.
Large 36mm stereo drivers are provided on the Pro Voice and audio sounded fantastic. Qualcomm aptX and AAC codecs are provided to help ensure a great audio experience.
The Pro Voice headphones are available now for $139.99. Considering that this headset brings the best of 66 Audio's previous designs with improvements made by user feedback and the addition of Amazon Alexa I think this is a great price.
If on-the-ear headphones work for you and you don't need to wear a helmet during your activity, the Pro Voice is a fantastic headphone to use while exercising or even during your commute. With the additional Amazon Alexa support, I find I wear them more often around my house too.