Amazon has recently released its newest device, the $129.99 Amazon Tap, a portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled speaker version of the Amazon Echo.

The difference: users have to tap the device's microphone button, without saying "Alexa" for it to work. Nevertheless, it still uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi. As such, users are still able to read the news, play music, check out the weather and even order a product through this speaker. As it is a Bluetooth speaker, it streams music from your handset, via Bluetooth, of course.

After Amazon shipped the device, the technology press immediately got hold of the device.

Here's what experts in the industry have to say about this portable Bluetooth speaker. Let's check out the good stuff and the bad stuff about Amazon Tap.

Good Things

Let's start at what's good about this new thing.

1. Includes Charging Cradle

One nifty feature of the Tap is its charging cradle.

"[This] saves you the hassle of reaching behind a desk or couch to untangle a charging cable when this thing runs out of juice," says The Verge.

2. Portable

Portability is likewise the best-selling feature of the Tap.

What makes it more convenient and portable than the Amazon Echo is that users can carry the device around the house and even outside, while playing music, for instance. This means, the Tap is battery-operated, which is a good thing. Echo, in the meantime, needs to be plugged in at a particular spot, though it can still hear users' Alexa calls from 20 feet away.

3. Lightweight

For those who are always on the go, the Amazon Tap is ideal as it is "lightweight," says CNET.

4. Easy To Setup

According to CNET, setting this device is "easy." All users have to do is download the Amazon Alexa app for Android or iOS, depending on your handset, and use the app to connect the speaker to the Wi-Fi. It's that easy.

5. Its Blue-Green Lights

When users press the device's microphone button, the five tiny dots located at the top edge of the Tap, indicating that Alexa is listening.

The dots will then change to blue-green when Alexa is responding.

For The Verge, this feature gives this speaker "a hint to personality."

6. Playback Buttons

Wired says on its review that one of the device's disadvantages is its playback buttons located at the top part of the Tap, which is seen as beneficial in quickly adjusting the volume or changing songs.

The Bad Things

Amazon Tap is not without its downsides. As with any other products, it also has its cons, including:

1. Does Not Have The Hands-Free Alexa Feature

As mentioned above, users can still use the Tap to play music, set timer and more, but users have to go to it and press its microphone button.

This way, The Verge says "the magic of the far-field voice recognition ... is totally lost."

2. Audio

The Tap's audio appear to distort at high volumes, says CNET. Moreover, its bass is said to be "flat." In fact, CNET says that one can find other Bluetooth speakers offering better sound performance with the same price.

Wired also thinks that it does not sound nearly as good as the UE Boom or any other high-end Bluetooth speaker., though, believes its sound quality is better than the Echo Dot.

"The Tap can hit some reasonably loud audio levels, but your music's going to sound audibly distorted," says Mashable.

This is also a similar problem that Slashgear shares in its review.

"Whether you're streaming over Bluetooth or [Wi-Fi], audio quality isn't anything special," it says.

3. Tap Doesn't Charge While Wearing The Sling

Alongside the speaker, Amazon is also offering its silicon covers, named Slings, at a $19.99 price tag.

While it is beneficial in some instances, like when hanging the device from a backpack through its built-in hook, The Verge says that it does not charge via its charging cradle when its Sling is put on.

Plus, another bad thing is that the Sling covers cost extra for consumers.

4. Battery Life

For Mashable, the promised nine-hour battery life for the device is "pretty average," adding that there exist other speakers out there that go more than 12 hours.

5. Does Not Have Headphone Or External Speaker Jack

While it has a 3.5 mm jack, Forbes seems disappointed that it is not for output but for input from an external sound source, which it says something "odd."

The Bottom Line

While the Amazon Tap comes with a slew of good features, such as its portability, experts seem to agree that there exist other Alexa-enabled products in the market that are better than this newly released device from Amazon, such as the Echo or Echo Dot. However, this device appears to target those who wish to talk to Alexa while they're on the go.

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