How to take Amazon's Alexa with you in the car

Do you find yourself wishing you had an Echo Dot with you in your car? You need a Roav VIVA by Anker.

​Roav VIVA, by Anker

Roav VIVA, by Anker

Increasingly I'm finding that Amazon's Alexa is my voice assistant of choice, and now thanks to the Roav VIVA by Anker, I can have the equivalent of an Echo Dot in my car.

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Anker -- the company that you may know better for its high-quality yet competitively-priced powerbanks, chargers, and charging cables -- has taken an Echo Dot and compacted it down to the size of an in-car charger.

Not only have they made it so it's a quarter of the size of the already petite Echo Dot, but the Roav VIVA has features that make it ideally suited for in-car use. For example, it has advanced noise cancellation and dual high-sensitivity silicon-MEMS microphones to accommodate for the fact that out cars are usually noisier than our living rooms. Also, because our cars go through a wide range of temperatures, Anker has built the Roav VIVA to have industrial-grade temperature resistance, giving it the ability to operate across a wide temperature range (-4°F/-15°C to 257°F/125°C).

This is one tough, well-made device.

Also, Anker has kitted out the Roav VIVA with two PowerIQ equipped charging ports, capable of simultaneous high-speed charging. These can fully charge two iPhone 7 Plus handsets in 2.3 hours, or two iPad minis is 3.7 hours.

So, how does it work? Pretty much like your Echo or Echo Dot at home. You do have to fire up the Roav VIVA app on a smartphone or tablet (both iOS and Android is supported) to allow it to connect to the internet, which initially feels like a bit of a hassle, but you quickly get used to doing this. After a short period of adjustment that becomes second nature (and if you forget to do it, the Roav VIVA device prompts you to do it).

The Roav VIVA is priced at $54.99, which on the face of it might seem like quite a lot, especially compared to an Echo Dot. However, the Roav VIVA is extremely well built, and specifically designed to put up with the rigors of in-car use. Mine has been tested both in the baking sun and freezing snow and it's worked perfectly no matter what. Also, the two PowerIQ charging ports are among the very best in-car charging ports I've tested. And since a decent in-car charger can set you back $20, the price of the overall device makes sense to me.

There are some cars that have compatibility issues with the Roav VIVA, but Anker does keep an up-to-date listing on problem vehicles here. Also, if there's a problem specific to you, the device comes with a no-fuss 30-day warranty.

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