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Image credit: Daniel Cooper / Engadget

Liva headphones are a phone-free way to talk to Alexa

They're apparently the first Wi-Fi headphones with Alexa built-in.
Nicole Lee, @nicole
06.07.18 in AV
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Daniel Cooper / Engadget

Earlier this year, Amazon introduced an "Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit" with the aim of bringing the company's personal voice assistant to wearables and headphones. This week at Computex 2018, I managed to get a closer look at a pair of headphones to make use of exactly that, but with a twist. In addition to Bluetooth, the Liva Aston Smart headphones actually has Wi-Fi built-in. So as long as you hook it up to your router (you'll need the app at least once for setup), you'll then be able to use it interact with Alexa, no Echo or phone required. The company claims it is the very first pair of WiFi headphones to have Alexa built in.

Gallery: Liva Aston Smart Headphones hands-on | 12 Photos

My first impression of the Liva is that they're a pretty solid pair of headphones, with a lush padded lining and comfortably soft ear cups. They don't appear to have any active noise-cancelling capabilities, but I still managed to block a sufficient amount of crowd sound out when I had them on.

Of course, the main reason to get these is the Alexa compatibility. So, I tried that out. Liva's parent company, ECS, had a set up where you could control some smart lights and outlets with Alexa. Sure enough, when I said "Alexa, turn on the lights," it came on. When I said "Alexa, turn on the smart socket", the plugged-in light bulb lit up as well. You could also theoretically have it play songs from the likes of Spotify and Tunein, but the service wasn't working at the time I tried it on.

Basically, anything you can do with Alexa, you can just shout that command while wearing these headphones. And if your WiFi happens to be down for whatever reason, you can of course still use these like any ol' pair of Bluetooth headphones. According to ECS, the Liva Aston Smart has a battery life of about five hours while connected to WiFi which seems a little low, but I suppose that's somewhat acceptable if you're going to be at home anyway. We'll have to review it for ourselves to see what the battery life is on just Bluetooth.

Pricing and availability for the Liva Aston Smart is yet to be determined at this time, but seeing as the model was already working, it'll likely be out before the end of the year.

Daniel Cooper contributed to this report.

Click here to catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2018!

Raised in the tropics of Malaysia, Nicole arrived in the United States in search of love, happiness and ubiquitous broadband. That last one is still a dream, but two out of three isn't bad. Her love for words and technology reached a fever pitch in San Francisco, where she learned you could make a living writing about gadgets, video games and the internet. Truly, a dream come true. Other interests include baseball, coffee, cooking and chasing after her precocious little cat.

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