Amazon’s Echo speakers with Alexa voice control have turned out to be a huge hit for the company. This has led to other companies such as Google and Apple to launch similar products. Meanwhile, to keep one step ahead of the competition, Amazon has allowed other companies to include Alexa technology into their own products. The MXQ HF10 Android Box is among one of the few products to include Alexa but it is also a rather unique product because it is not just a speaker but also an Android powered set top box for your TV.
As an Android TV box, the MXQ HF10 has rather standard technical specifications such as Amlogic S905X CPU, 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM. It runs on Android 6.0. You hook it up to your TV via HDMI and you can use it for watching your favorite shows and videos on apps such YouTube and Netflix. But what really got us interested in this TV box is the fact that it comes with Alexa, the voice controlled, personal assistant.
We own a few of Amazon’s Echo speakers and we really love using them. Besides getting all kinds of useful information from Alexa such as weather reports and news briefings, we also love its integration with Spotify and we have even hooked up a few smart devices with it so that we can control them with just our voice. Very Star Treky and nerdy, we know.
Alexa on the MXQ HF10 works rather differently from Alexa on the original Echo or even the Echo Dot. In order to activate Alexa on the MXQ HF10, you need to press the microphone button on the included remote control. This is similar to the Amazon Tap, the portable version of the Echo. We understand why the always listening feature is not included in a portable and wireless speaker as it drains the battery but it is rather strange that it is also not included on the hard wired MXQ HF10.
However, using the remote control to activate and speak our commands is not as bad as having to actually to press a button on the speaker itself. At least the remote is small and lightweight so you can bring it along with you as long as it is within wireless range with the MXQ HF10. It can do just about everything that a normal Amazon Echo can do including ordering a pizza or call for a Uber car just by using your voice.
At this moment, the Alexa feature is not fully integrated with the Android set top box portion of the MXQ HF10. There is no way to ask Alexa to play a particular movie on Netflix for example. Since Alexa currently does not have any skills that are related to video playback, this is not altogether surprising. Perhaps we might see better integration in the future. After all, you can use Alexa to search for movies on the Kindle Fire TV products.