Cavalier Maverick may be the most stylish smart speaker yet [Review]

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Cavalier
Feast your eyes on this beauty!
Photo: Cavalier

Boasting superior sound quality and a high-quality finish that ditches metal and plastic for distressed leather and fabrics, Cavalier Maverick is one of the best smart speakers we’ve tried.

It’s a third-party Amazon Alexa, offering the same functionality as an Echo, but in a far more premium package. And with a pretty neat mobile twist, too.

Cavalier Maverick: A great third-party Amazon Echo

Smart speakers are a rapidly growing market — and we’re not just talking about the consumers. Alongside the growing number of people willing to throw down their hard-earned cash for an “always listening” speaker, there are a growing number of products in the marketplace. Amazon, Google, and Apple all have their own devices. Now third parties are also getting in on the act, in much the same way that Google’s Android platform opened the door for new OEMs to get in on the smartphone market.

That’s where the Cavalier Maverick comes into play.

If you’ve used Alexa before, you’ll know what to expect. You activate it by saying “Alexa,” followed by your query. This can be anything from “Alexa, play Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’” to “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be today?” Because this an Alexa device, you can augment it with “skills” to customize it to offer additional information.

If you’re a smart home kind of person, you can also extend its functionality to include the likes of, “Alexa, turn off the living room lights.” Cavalier can do all of this, with voice-recognition tech capable of picking up commands from across the room without you raising your voice.

Cavalier
Cavalier Maverick is a super-stylish smart speaker.
Photo: Cavalier

Superb sound quality for its size

Its audio playback is impressive, even if this is not quite a HomePod killer. Maverick offers a 20-watt stereo speaker system with two active drivers and dual passive radiators. It promises a “true room-filling experience,” and, while it doesn’t use the same room-sensing smarts that allow HomePod to adapt to any environment, it’s more than acceptable for a speaker this size.

If I was going to nitpick, I’d say that it could have been a bit bassier. You can, however, create a larger sound by linking several Mavericks together. In terms of music services it works with, you can pick from Amazon’s offerings, Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. Or you can play songs from another device using Bluetooth.

The Maverick is hella stylish

I don’t want to sound too superficial, but looks are where the Cavalier Maverick excels. Generally, smart speaker designs have been pretty impressive. At their worst, they’ve been utilitarian, like the first-gen Amazon Echo. At their best, they’ve been pretty darn attractive, like the HomePod. Cavalier is definitely among the best-looking I’ve seen. It looks like the Amazon Echo’s hipster millennial cousin, visiting from out of town.

It makes good used of machined metal, fabrics and, most distinctively, distressed leather. On the top, there’s a physical knob you can turn to raise or lower the volume. The device is available in both black and indigo-and-brown-leather versions.

Aside from looks, the device’s biggest unique selling point is its portability. Unlike other smart speakers, which must remain plugged in at all times, Cavalier comes on a charging base, and can be lifted off and carried around. You get nine hours of charge with it, so as long as you can connect it to a Wi-Fi source, you’re free to carry it around and use it wherever.

Maverick: One of the best smart speakers yet

In all, the Cavalier Maverick is a great smart speaker. I’ve become an unwitting connoisseur of these products, collecting far more of them than I care to rationalize. If you’re not looking for a smart speaker with a screen, like the Amazon Echo Spot or Echo Show, I’d say this is the best Alexa receptacle so far.

The $300 price might put off a few people, especially since the regular Amazon Echo costs just one-third of that (and the Echo Dot even less). But if you’re happy to splash some extra cash, this device has my definite stamp of approval.

Price: $299.99

Buy from: Cavalier Audio

Cavalier provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.