Review of the Amazon Alexa-Enabled Polk Command Bar

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

We bought our last soundbar over 8 years ago -- and it shows. Still hooked up with red/white AV cords, we were eager to test out the Polk Command Bar as an upgrade for our new LED TV. With HDMI the way of tech, it made no sense to continue using the old soundbar that crackled and gave too much feedback with our new TV.

We got the box with the bar inside, and it was HUGE. Make room for this! The sound bar was actually four inches longer than our other sound bar, so we had to make some adjustments. Since the Polk Command Sound Bar also comes with a decent-sized subwoofer, you'll need to make extra room (along with find a spare outlet) for that, too.

We managed to squeeze everything into our tiny living room, and the newer, slimmer sound bar actually looked better in our entertainment system.

We followed the Quick-Start guide to get everything running, and -- for the most part -- it was seamless. A few things will really depend on your TV (such as whether the HDMI port was "ARC" on it.) Our did, so the hardware was simple plug-and-play, and with a few menu adjuments on our TV (via the user manual for our TV), we were connected.

Then, we had to download the Polk app to my smartphone. It prompted me to register for an account, verify our home wi-fi settings, and we were up and running. While there were separate instructions for connecting the subwoofer to the bar manually, ours paired without extra steps. We also had to connect the system to our Amazon account so that Alexa worked, but that took just a minute.

Now, it was time to test it out. There was a football game going on, so we jumped right in to ask Alexa what channel it was on, then - using our TV remote -- turned it to the right station to start watching. The Polk Command Bar was smart in that it would respond to either the Polk remote, the TV remote, or Alexa commands to do things like turn up the volume, change outputs, or mute. Things like boosting bass or commands for Polk-specific tasks could be done with the Polk remote or Alexa voice commands. There is also a limited number of tasks you can do by pushing buttons on the bar itself -- such as volume up and down, or mute.

Since we were watching football, we chose the "sports" sound mode. It was awesome, the bass was rich -- but not so overpowering that we couldn't hear the sports commentators, which were crisp and clear. There were also music and movie modes for those types of viewing. I personally like the "night mode" button, which changes the bass and clarity slightly for lower volume listening (such as when mom and dad are watching TV and don't want to wake up the kids.)

How did the Alexa feature work? At first, I found myself screaming into the bar to get it started. It was my first Alexa device, and I really didn't know how it worked. After it was going, however, my husband merely had to mention "Alexa" from across the room -- even with the volume up -- to get it to wait for a command. When Alexa is listening and responding, the speaker goes quiet, which is a handy feature. You can also press the "listen" button on the remote to quiet the speaker and wake up Alexa to wait for a command. Like other Alexa enabled devices, you can change privacy settings and defaults in your Amazon account from any device.

This is a game-changer for our family, who got tired of losing the soundbar remote and had no way to turn up up the volume. The Polk Command Sound Bar just gets what today's family needs to do, and offers seamless integration with smart devices such as Fire TV. You can use the USB and HDMI connections on the bar itself to expand your available ports beyond what may be available on some smaller TVs, too. And since I like to use Bluetooth to stream music from my Amazon Prime Music library, I can add the Polk Command Bar to my phone's connected devices to stream music from any room!

You can even use it to reorder items from your next Amazon Prime Pantry order. It helps you do all the things you would normally do with an Amazon Alexa voice assistant device. 

Learn more about this amazing sound system for today's connected family at Best Buy