Review: Genie Offers an Affordable Alternative to the HomePod

I was looking forward to an Amazon Alexa killer from Apple. Instead, the company pre-announced a high-end speaker that only the well-heeled will be able to justify in every room. For the rest of us, there's the Genie from DreamWave, which costs $60, but can be purchased for as little as $40 via Kickstarter. It's not exactly a fair comparison, as the Genie requires an iOS device to be paired with it, and "Hey Siri" functionality enabled. Your iPhone or iPad does the heavy lifting of voice recognition and executing commands. The Genie is basically a remote speaker which can be connected via Bluetooth or audio cable.

Related: HomePod: Who Should Buy Apple’s Siri Smart Speaker

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While it's being crowdfunded, I I did get to try a version of it. Like the Amazon Echo Dot, the DreamWave Genie is the size of a hockey puck and is iPX5 rated. Unlike the Echo Dot, the Genie offers nice sound, even at high volume. Of course the Genie lacks the voluminous Alexa skills library, but maybe Apple will get more aggressive about making Siri smarter now that it has the HomePod.

Pros

  • Pairs with iOS device for Siri functionality
  • Compact, Echo Dot size and style
  • Nice sound, even at high volume
  • Affordable
  • Bluetooth or wired connectivity

Cons

  • Requires iOS device nearby
  • Lacks Alexa skills library

Final Verdict

If you want a home assistant, with everything Siri has to offer, the Genie from DreamWave may be an attractive alternative to Amazon's Echo Dot. 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.