The Harman Kardon Allure isn’t a low-profile smart speaker that blends into the background in your living room. It is by far the largest and most unique looking smart speaker we tested. It is also one of the best sounding speakers, especially if you like bass-heavy music. The companion app that connects the Allure to your Wi-Fi network is a bit buggy and unintuitive compared to other third-party setup apps we tested, but once it’s set up, the Alexa app handles most tasks.
The Allure is a statement piece for your living room, both in terms of design and sound. The heavy, egg-shaped design has a 3.5-inch down-firing subwoofer and three 1.5-inch tweeters that project sound 360 degrees around the speaker. We tested the audio quality of each speaker we reviewed by playing a variety of musical genres, and while the vocal tracks were drowned out a bit during moments of heavy bass, we enjoyed the overall tonal balance and wide sound stage. The tweeters performed well when we played classical and acoustic selections and had no problem filling our 400-square-foot AV lab with quality sound. This is one of the loudest smart speakers we tested, which makes it a good fit for larger living rooms and open spaces. You may want to place the speaker away from fragile décor that is susceptible to rattling because the down-firing woofer can shake things near it if you are listening at high volumes.
The bulky design makes it hard to place the Allure in tight spaces, but it adds to its durability. Some of the tall and narrow smart speakers we tested, like the UE Megablast and Amazon Echo, tipped over multiple times during testing. The Allure has rubber feet and is very heavy, so it would take a serious whack to knock this smart speaker off your end table or kitchen counter.
The touch controls on the Allure are also durable, but much less responsive than others we tested. You can use the controls to adjust the volume, turn off the microphone and manually wake up Alexa, but we had to thump on them multiple times to get them to work. There’s also a Bluetooth touch control on the back panel, but we had to press it more than 10 times to get it to respond. Once it finally worked, the pairing process went smoothly. The front panel has a helpful Wi-Fi status indicator light to reassure you the speaker is connected to your network.
The Harman Kardon Allure is a good speaker for audio enthusiasts, but if you don’t plan on listening to music often, there are more affordable Alexa-enabled smart speaker options. However, if you are looking for a head-turning addition to your entertainment room, and enjoy listening to bass-heavy music, look no further.