This review was previously posted a few days ago on my personal site under reviews and only a summary (almost a full length review. To many things that need to be mentioned) of the review. Click the link to see the complete review or see all the images taken of the Roav Viva in my Flickr Album.
I’ve been using the Roav Viva since September 2018. I received the Viva free from Anker and their power draw program. (Disclosure)
The Roav Viva comes in the standard orange car box that has a cardboard sleeve around the box. Once removed, the box opens like a book to display the device in all its glory. The package is almost completely recyclable and easy to open. For me, this is a big deal. I hate package that is difficult to open.
Once I removed the Roav Viva from the box it found to have a large face that is large enough that it might block other outlets. Its sticks out from the outlet a little more than your average multi USB port car charger. On the side of the charger it has two quick charge USB ports. On the top surface you will find the only one push button that activates Alexa and a blue L.E.D. ring around the surface of the charger. This light gives off a different color for each status. This ring should work like the ring on the Echo Dots.
In my opinion this device is to big and takes up to much space. It may not fit some cars if their outlets tightly placed. In addition to the size the USB ports are on the side and will make it difficult for some to take advantage of the extra USB ports.
Setup is fairly simple. You need to have the Alexa app and the Roav Viva (Google Play and iOS) installed. If you haven’t already created an account, create an Alexa account (usually your Amazon account). Once the apps are installed, go out to your car and plug in your device. Turn the car on and open the Roav Viva app. Follow the instructions. You will also need to create an account. Once you completed setup with Roav Viva app, setup may require you to do some setup in the Alexa app.
Please note that if your car doesn’t have Bluetooth you will have use an AUX cable from your car to the phone or use an FM Transmitter to get the audio to your car.
Honestly I really do not use the Roav Viva for charging my devices. I don’t like the placement of the outlets and depending on where its plugged in it will block other outlets or if the USB cables are plugged in they will block access to other outlets I that I’m using.
But for charging I found the outlets will quickly charge my devices. The charger doesn’t overheat during Alexa operates while my devices are charging.
During testing I found Roav Viva’s Alexa feature to be unreliable unless you have full LTE or close to full strength. If the signal isn’t that good, I found Alexa took to long think or it would just say Alexa unavailable please try again, or sometimes no network connection.
When Alexa was working it worked great for my needs. When I said “Hey Alexa” she would answer almost a second later and I would ask it questions. For I wanted traffic updates, maps via Waze or Google Maps. I even used it to control my heating and cooling at the house since I have a smart thermostat. A few times I used Alexa to turn on lights around the house and on the inside when I came home to a dark house (normally our lights turn on at dusk, but due to a power outrage earlier, they didn’t turn on).
Spotify still doesn’t work even though Roav says its coming soon. This feature has been listed since its release. I use Spotify as my only source of music so this is a draw back but manageable.
Unlike Google Assistant or Siri you can’t tell Alexa to send a text message (On some Alexa devices I’m able to send text messages).
Using the speaker phone works great. For quick answers and end calls you can press the button the Roav Viva. This can even activate Alexa for commands.
Using the dual noise cancellation microphone for using Alexa works. You do have to speak up and clearly if there is a lot of road noise or your radio is loud. I never had any issues where Alexa thought I was asking her questions when I wasn’t.
Overall I like the Roav Viva, I’m just not a big fan of Alexa. I have both Alexa and Google Assistant units and use them for different things. I find that I use and prefer Google Assistant.
I found it annoying that can’t send text messages or control Spotify. But these issues aren’t deal breakers for me. What becomes difficult for me is the reliability issue. You should still be able operate Alexa in LTE low bars. When the rest of my web based apps work but Alexa won’t that’s difficult to understand.
At night the LED Rig is two bright. You need the option to turn the brightness down at night. I usually keep something in front of the light. Its distracting and gives me a headache over time.
I also do not like the size of the face or placement of the USB ports. It takes up to much space around the outlet and will block other outlets. This is due to components on the inside. Roav did their best to make the unit as small as possible but still operate safely and reliably. Because of the already large size of the face the Roav choose to put the USB outlets on the side of the Viva.
For a first attempt at downsizing Alexa into such a small device and still have a good device that can be used in a vehicle is impressive. I think those that are already in invested in the Alexa environment, this might be a good inexpensive option. If you live in an urban area with strong reliable LTE service your Alexa should be reliable and useful. For me it gets 4 stars out of 5. For me I just do not use Alexa enough to find it useful.
It looses a star do to its size and the placement of the ports. Its big enough it blocks my other outlet and puts the USB ports in a place that difficult to connect USB cables to. Because of the placement, I have to either use outlet hub so I can have access to my ports and second outlet or loose those outlets and ports.