Sometimes you will be sent a device of which you initially think “what an odd combination”. Like this Netgear Orbi Voice, a combination of a Mesh Wifi Access point, Harman/Kardon speaker and Alexa voice assistant. So many devices in one, is that okay? That calls for a review.
A good network is essential for streaming. Of course it should be wired and preferably also galvanically decoupled by means of glass fibre for the best result. But to control our installation with an app, wifi is necessary. Even more so since wifi has almost become a basic necessity of life. A decent wifi setup required, until recently, a lot of cables, either network (UTP), optical (POF), Coax (Moca) or mains (Powerline).
The possibilities to install a wired network vary from house to house but in general it is a challenge. With powerline adapters it is possible in almost every house, but those adapters are disastrous for clean mains electricity in the house. It’s a No-go.
Fortunately, there is a good alternative that is becoming quite popular: Mesh wifi. It is a technique that allows you to set up a good and fast wifi network without having to run cables. In our mesh wifi multitest we have tested several systems, you can read more about the mesh technique over there. The Netgear Orbi system came out on top in our multitest. In this review, we take a look at the latest Orbi model: Orbi Voice.
At the latest
The Netgear Orbi Voice is basically a Mesh Wifi system. Available as a kit, RBK50V, consisting of an RBR50 router and a RBS40V satellite. The satellite is also sold separately. It is the (literally) larger and faster version of the Orbi Micro (RBK23) that we used in the multitest.
The router is executed in a high quality matt white plastic which gives it a luxurious appearance. The satellite also has a fancy appearance. It is wrapped all around in a light grey melange fabric with a subtle Harman/Kardon logo on the front. The underside has a kind of vertical slats in matt white plastic. On top is a touch-sensitive control panel, in glossy semitransparent white plastic. The controls are invisible until you touch them with your hand, then the panel lights up. The control panel itself seems to be floating in the top of the satellite. Under the panel there are slats for cooling. The finish is of a very high level, we see almost no visible seams for example and the transition between fabric and plastic is very tight.