The smart speaker market continues to heat up, and Google, Amazon, and Apple aren’t the only major players in the game. Microsoft has released its own Cortana-powered smart speaker – the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker.
Even though the Harman Kardon Invoke isn’t officially available in Canada, you can still use the Invoke in Canada with a few workarounds.
Setting up the Harman Kardon Invoke is fairly straightforward. First, you’ll need to download the Cortana app on your Android or iOS device. You can also setup the Invoke using your Windows 10 PC.
Once you have downloaded the app, you’ll be asked to sign in with your Microsoft account. You’ll also need to change the app’s Language & Region to English (United States), otherwise, you won’t be able to setup your Invoke speaker.
After you do change the Language & Region, you’ll see an option for devices. Tap on the icon and you’ll be taken through the setup process to set up your Invoke speaker.
Once you’ve done all that, your Invoke speaker will be ready to go.
Hey Cortana, what can you do?
Cortana on the Invoke has some cool features, but it’s not quite as powerful as Alexa or Google Assistant. You’ll be able to ask things like “what’s the weather?” or any other query you may have. You can also ask Cortana to set reminders and manage your schedule.
One thing to note about asking Cortana the weather, she’ll only tell you the weather in Fahrenheit by default. But you can say “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather in Celsius? she’ll say it in Celsius. There’s no option to make the default temperature unit Celsius, especially since the Invoke isn’t available in Canada.
Other than that, you can listen to music on the Invoke via Spotify (Premium accounts only), iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. The Invoke delivers 360-degrees of sound from 3 woofers, 3 tweeters, and 2 passive radiators.
The Invoke does sound good and can get decently loud, but lacks the power of the Apple HomePod. You can control music playback on the Invoke using your voice and Cortana easily understands. The speaker also supports voice calls using Skype.
The Invoke can also be used to control your smart home devices using your voice. Cortana can control smart home devices from SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, Insteon and recently added support for ecobee, Honeywell, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa and Geeni.
Microsoft just recently added support for IFTTT, which allows users to connect apps and services together. IFTTT opens up the possibilities of voice commands: you can create commands such as “Hey Cortana, movie time” and Cortana will dim your Hue Lights, use Harmony Hub to turn your TV on and set your ecobee to the correct temperature.
Buying the Invoke
The Invoke is available in two colours, Graphite (Black) and Pearl Silver (White).
The Invoke is good for those invested in the Microsoft ecosystem and uses Cortana on a regular basis.
Canadian Compatibility: The Invoke doesn’t require many workarounds for Canadian users. It can be used to ask questions, control smart home devices and listen to music.