If you’re looking for a great-looking alternative to the Amazon Echo, there’s none better.
I’m a huge fan of portable Bluetooth speakers. As I’ve been reviewing them over the last two years, I’ve amassed a solid collection, and I’ve tried everything from the absolutely abysmal to the jaw-droppingly marvelous. The Cavalier Maverick, however, is my first Wi-Fi enabled portable speaker, and when I was offered the chance to review it, with its elegant good looks and Alexa integration, I pounced.
I’ll say this right now: this thing rocked my socks, but didn’t quite knock ’em off. This is the Cavalier Audio Maverick.
Cavalier Audio Maverick
Bottom line: It’s a sleeker, sexier Amazon Echo that’s missing a couple features, but not enough to make it a non-buy.
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- It’s the best-looking Bluetooth speaker I’ve seen
- Alexa integration is simple and works well
- Setup is simple and it easily switches between modes
- Responsive touch control
- The bass is lacking
- Missing some key Alexa features, like texting
- $299.99 is pretty expensive, even for what you get
Echo’s sexy cousin
Cavalier Audio Maverick Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker What I like
I don’t want to come across as shallow, but daaaaaaamn this thing is fine. I received the “Indigo” version, which features blue mesh with a real brown leather accent and matching charging base. The colors complement one another beautifully, and nothing about this speaker feels cheap.
It’s somewhat weighty — not heavy, but it feels substantial. The volume knob on top keeps things simple with a very responsive touch control (tap once for play/pause, twice for skipping tracks, three times to go back a track), and the five LEDs are there to indicate connections, battery level, and Alexa, with multicolor LEDs that are effective, good-looking, but not ostentatious.
This is as much a statement of style as it is of functionality.
That genuine leather strip on the front isn’t necessary, but this is as much a statement of style as it is of functionality. Speaking of function, the fact that both the charging base and speaker have a USB-C port is refreshing and a show of foresight. Every other Bluetooth speaker I have around the house still has Micro-USB, despite having only come out in the last year or so.
The Alexa integration in the Maverick is a delight. It works just like an Amazon Echo, with a few caveats that aren’t deal-breakers for me: you can’t change the wake word and you can’t send text messages. Other than that, it works like a dream — I was just about instantly able to connect to some smart plugs I have and use them flawlessly, and the Maverick’s microphone is responsive and quick. It’s basically just a sexier, better sounding first-gen Echo.
Where this has the leg up on the regular Echo is that you can remove the Maverick from the charging base and take it anywhere. The ability to start playing Spotify in the kitchen while I’m making dinner and then just grab the speaker and head into the living room, while maintaining full control through Alexa, is dynamite.
All about that treble
Cavalier Audio Maverick Wi-Fi Bluetooth speaker What I don’t like
The list of things I dislike about this speaker is short, but important in relation to whether or not I would buy this for myself. The Maverick lacks a present low end. That’s not to say the tone of the speaker is tinny, because it isn’t; it’s actually white warm and lovely. But there is absolutely no punch to the bass.
The Maverick’s tones aren’t tinny, but there is no punch to the bass.
You can adjust the EQ in the Cavalier app, but cranking the bass up as high as it goes has very little effect. I tried it with audio from multiple sources (Spotify, music physically on my phone, my Mac), and I actually found that things sound better over Bluetooth than over Wi-Fi. I have a cheap VTIN Royaler speaker with incredible sound, so I tend to hold very expensive speakers at least to that standard, and I find the Maverick’s low end quite subpar. That being said, when I compared the two speakers side by side, I found the Maverick’s sound to be far more well-rounded — mids are more present, and the high end is very clean.
All that being said, after listening for more than my test songs, I came to find that I really like the Cavalier’s tone, if I do find it a little off-putting when normally bass-heavy tunes don’t quite pack the kickapow that I like.
The only other thing I’m kind of “meh” on for the Maverick is the Cavalier app; it’s clunky and not exactly intuitive. Getting to certain settings that should just be in a settings menu is awkward, and you have to first tap the speaker you’re using and then there’s your Alexa, audio, and other settings. I suppose it does make sense, since you can connect multiple Mavericks together to get a whole-home audio system going over Wi-Fi, but it’s rather inelegant.
It would also be really awesome if the Maverick supported Google Home as well as (or instead of) Alexa, since that’s my personal preference, but there are so few third-party Google Assistant speakers right now that I really can’t fault Cavalier.
Cavalier Audio Maverick
If I were looking for a third-party alternative to Amazon Echo devices, this would probably be the one I’d buy… If I had the money for it. $300 is a big ask for what you get (in my frugal opinion), but the fact that you get a stunning speaker that sits on its leather-clad charging base and can go anywhere with you is gold.
The Maverick is easy to set up and control, and I can even get past its fairly absent low end, since you don’t really notice after a while.
out of 5
If you have $300 to spend and basically just want a sexier Echo, then have at the Maverick. Execution alone makes this a buy.
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