Top critical review
Eventful first few weeks, it's now being used as a charger only
13 October 2018
This is the second (and final) edit to this review, as my experience with the Roav-Viva over the first 3-4 weeks has been up and down. Testing and communication with their support team is now complete and the below review reflects the outcome.
I'd like to start by making 2 points. The first is that the customer support for this product is excellent, I dealt with 2 people during this time and they were both helpful, polite and friendly throughout. After many, many emails during this period they were still trying to help and were apologetic that the Roav-Viva wasn't performing as expected.
The second point is that my experience will not represent everyone's. Performance no doubt depends, at least in part, on the make and model of the car and infotainment system the Roav-Viva is connected to. My car was not listed as being incompatible (but perhaps it should be) and I appreciate how difficult it must be to ensure consistency with so many different cars to consider.
The Pros: It's a great charger and my phone goes from <20% to >80% in my 1 hour journey to work. I am able to control my Hue lights from the Roav-Viva and it works every time the Roav-Viva hears me.
The Cons with functionality: She doesn't hear me all that often. The device is around 50cm from my mouth and sits next to me, but only responds around 50% of the time and I have to raise my voice considerably. This has been tested while driving, while parked, with background noise and without.
The input has to be changed to B/T every time you want to use it, it does not 'take over' the input as making or receiving a phone call does.
Navigation: This only works (in part) before the navigation app has been launched. The frustration here is that during a journey, should I want to navigate to a petrol station I can't do that using the Roav-Viva. It does not recognise 'Home' or 'Work' and neither does it recognise my home town. In short, it doesn't work for me.
Music: Inconsistent. Sometimes it will skip a track, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I can adjust volume, sometimes I can't. I can ask it to play music but I'm yet to successfully specify a particular track (playlists are not available currently). It will pause, but will not play again without manual intervention. Again, it's easier to do all of this manually. It does not support Spotify, although they are currently Beta testing this.
General questions: Works as expected when it hears the command.
The buggy Cons: Sometimes after connecting to my handset, the device disconnects and the light ring flashes until I unplug it and plug it back in again. When driving at night this is particularly distracting. The volume on the radio input and B/T input mutes.. it just mutes without a request repeatedly. I turn it up manually and it immediately mutes again. The only fix I've found is to unplug and plug back in.
When on B/T input my infotainment system simply reads 'loading...' offering no information unless I've manually started music, at which point it displays the track. I thought this was intentional, as when it's not doing anything what would it display? however this seemed to surprise the support team as much as it did me.
To sum up, I really do rate Ankers customer support and I won't let this experience stop me from purchasing other devices from them. The Roav-Viva, when paired with a 2014 Golf, needs a lot of work before it could be considered a success. This is now being used as a in car charger only and will remain that way until the functionality limitations and bugs are resolved.