My Invoke experience so far

newEDB

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Bought one at the Black Friday sale, with enough Microsoft Award points, I paid no penny out of my pocket.

I bought the pearl silver edition. I also like the graphite edition.

The packaging is different from the ones I saw in those online reviews. The power cord could be a bit longer for my use.

I first tried to set it up with my Lumia 950xl. It failed twice because the app crashed before the Wi-Fi setup was finished. I had to switched to my laptop to start over. Then everything went smooth.

I have a monkey daughter, she has to poke something constantly. At a moment, the Invoke said it needs to download update and blahblah, but before it could finish, my daughter poked the touch panel on top and stopped its talking. It fell silent with the top light rolling. I was not sure if it was updating and I should not interfere, or if it was waiting for my confirmation to download update. The silence stayed for a few minutes. It turned out it was in the process of updating. I hope it could gave some feedback in the process, like "the update is 50% done" or something like that.

After the update, everything works as expected.

The sound quality is great. When Cortana announces the setup instruction, it is like a real person talking.

The Cortana app keeps a history of recent things you asked. There does not seem to be a button to delete the whole history or a particular entry. You can click on each entry to provide feedback.

The app also shows the currently playing music (I am using iHeartRadio, I don't have Spotify).

The app also has a setting page, where you can add another device, change your favorite music app among iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Spotify, name your Invoke, provide feedback, remove all devices. There is also a setting to let Cortana play a sound when it starts listening. Some online reviews complained that if the top of Invoke is out of sight, you won't know visually if it responds to your request. So this setting probably solves the issue by providing a audio response.

So far, I am happy with this purchase. It is free, how much I can complain.
 

newEDB

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Soon after my Invoke is up and running, I received two emails.

One is Invoke 101. It shows the basic hardware functions and some examples of Cortana instructions you can ask. There is also a "learn more" button, which leads to a webpage which shows more Cortana instructions. I did learn a few new tricks.

It appears that this is the 1st of a series of 4 emails about Invoke I will be receiving. It lists the 4 emails title, but they are not clickable links. So I will wait.

The other email is from Skype to inform me that my unlimited Skype call on Invoke is ready.
 

newEDB

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My TV is hooked up to a sound bar with subwoofer. But Invoke sound is fuller. It fills my living room (~900sqft) easily. I haven't turned the volume more than 50% yet, it is loud enough. Some online reviews mentioned the volume is not high enough, they must have a very large room.
 

newEDB

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I hope the touch panel on top of Invoke is more sensitive. Sometimes, I feel I have to tap so hard on it to do the function, it even shakes the device. Maybe I just need some time to get used to it.
 

newEDB

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I tried Skype calling, the call quality is good.
However, there is something I hope Microsoft can improve. On my phone, I call ask Cortana "Call my wife", it will dig into my contacts and find my wife's number and place a call. In Invoke, I believe it only searches my Skype contacts, which is very very limited, and it won't be able to place the call. I hope Microsoft can better integrate all its service components.
 

newEDB

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In the last two days, I got two incidents where Invoke responded even though nobody called Cortana. Once, there was no voice; the other time, I was speaking Chinese, but what I said did not sound even remotely close to "Hey Cortana". I forgot to check the Cortana app to see if anything was recorded. I will remember to do that at the next incident.
 

Scienceguy Labs

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Good to know. I should be getting mine in the mail on Tuesday. That happens quite a bit with my Google Home. She just listens too much sometimes. Ha ha
 

newEDB

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I tried calendar function today. It DID NOT work. Every time, I got the same response, "sorry, i've hit a snag accessing your calendar. try again in a little bit.", every single time. I tried the same sentences they showcased in their promotion ads, all failed.

This is a great disappointment as this feature was one of the major promised features in their ads.

I know Microsoft has quite a few rushed products in recent years, but I did not expect it this bad. A great let-down.

It seems to me that internally, Microsoft has a lot of great ideas floating around, but it failed to convert those ideas into a coherent user experience in a timely manner. For example, they have Outlook Tasks, Microsoft To-Do, Wunderlist, Cortana List, Cortana Reminder. They essentially all offer the same core functions, in my point of views, should be integrated into one product.
I blame this on poor leadership from the core leadership team, I mean the CEO.

In the worst scenario, I will just use Invoke as a Bluetooth speaker after Cortana is cancelled, it does have good sound.
 

newEDB

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I also tried timer and reminder functions. They both work great.

It has to be pointed out that timer and reminder are two different things for Cortana. My guess is this. Reminder is a cross-device thing. I can set up a reminder using any device, the reminder will be synced to the cloud, so all my Cortana devices know the reminder, and can notify me. (I have no idea if all my Cortana devices will remind me at the same time no matter where I am, or Cortana is smart enough to determine the best device to notify me.)

On the other hand, timer is a local thing. If I set up a timer on my Lumia 950xl, it becomes a timer called "Cortana's Timer" in the Alarms & Clock app. Only my phone will notify me when the time is up. A timer set up for Invoke will only have Invoke notify me.

Microsoft needs to straighten out this confusion.
 

Scienceguy Labs

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Wow. Sounds like a pretty jangly experience for you so far. Hate to hear that. I bought mine at the $99 Black Friday price, and pretty much view it as a good Bluetooth speaker with some smart capabilities. I'll use the reminder function too.
Can it set alarms?
 

Musikslayer

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Thanks for sharing your comments. I bought one on sale and am really enjoying it. The calender is working fine for me, I don't recall what commands I said.

IheartRadio is far more impressive than I imagined. I threw some requests at it that were relatively obscure, it played them. It also did an excellent job of pairing similar artists, I was impressed. I don't have Spotify premium but will give it a try. I can play the free version throught bluetooth but it doesn't sound good. I've never used Bluetooth in a situation like this before so I didn't know whether it would sound acceptable or not. It doesn't. ;) I'll have to experiment with Bluetooth again, I'm guessing Spotify free is fairly lo-fi which might explain the sound quality.
 

mutant 9

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Got one as well and really like it for music and phone calls. Had the issue where it did not recognize my contacts from outlook. From the post above it looks like it uses Skype for contacts. Which I guess makes sense since it uses Skype. I wish it would say that though when it can't find a contact. Other than that great buy.
 

MxPxP86

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It does sound great, and works great, setup was an a cinch, but the Bluetooth pairing, either I need to return it, or what, but it can't hold a Bluetooth connection for more than an album, and usually only like half a song. Anyone else having this issue, or figured the right way to do this? (Pairing is simple as it should, press-the-button and away we go but again it drops randomly :straight:)

Thanks for any advice or suggestions
 

Musikslayer

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I've had trouble with Bluetooth (which sounds great BTW). I deleted Invoke than set it up again and it's working. I hope it sticks, because it really does sound great playing my tracks stored in OneDrive.
 

newEDB

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I did not have Bluetooth dropoff problem, probably I did not use enough.

As to the timer, as pointed out somewhere else, one can cancel it, but not pause it, so that is a minor issue. While a timer is running, one can call Cortana to check how much time is left, that is convenient.

When I return from work today, I will reset my Invoke by removing it and setting it up again. Hope that will solve the calendar accessing problem.
 

Scienceguy Labs

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Does anyone know how to turn on the notification sound that Cortana makes after you say, "Hey, Cortana."? Right now, the light animation on the top of the Invoke is all I get, but it's hard to see where I have the thing set up. I read somewhere that you could turn on the sounds somehow, but I'm at a loss.
 

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