iHome’s Alexa alarm clock is clunky and overpriced

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Let me begin by being very clear about one thing: $150 is method, method an excessive amount of to spend on an alarm clock.

Now that we have gotten that out of the best way, let me let you know all about iHome’s new $150 alarm clock. It is known as the iAVS16, and iHome will level out that it isn’t simply an alarm clock, however a full-fledged Alexa machine with Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant constructed proper in. Save for calling, messaging, and ESP, which makes it so solely the Alexa machine closest to you responds to your command, it will probably do all the things the Amazon Echo can do. It is Alexa’s mind transplanted into an alarm clock physique.

If that pitch sounds a bit acquainted, it is as a result of Amazon has an Alexa alarm clock of its personal within the works. That soon-to-be-released gadget, the $130 Echo Spot, prices rather less than the iAVS16, and in contrast to the iAVS16, it features a touchscreen and a digital camera. Which may sound like unhealthy information for iHome, however I would truly argue the other — loads of of us who’d be curious about an Alexa alarm clock will possible choose that it not preserve a digital camera pointed at them whereas they sleep, thanks very a lot.

On prime of that, the iAVS16 gives first rate, full-size sound high quality that, to my ear, sounds virtually nearly as good because the Echo, and positively adequate for bedside listening. It’s going to even wake you up by enjoying a Spotify playlist — one thing the Echo nonetheless cannot do. If it appeared a bit of nicer, I would even name it a reliable temptation. However at $150, it is simply too expensive to advocate.

Design and options

You should use these LEDs on the backside of the clock as wake-up lights, or set them to alter colours in rhythm with no matter music you are listening to.

Ry Crist/CNET

The iAVS16’s construct is a bit cumbersome so far as alarm clocks go, particularly contemplating that it would not embrace a dock to your cellphone. The dimensions was obligatory, I suppose, to offer it full-sounding audio, however I might have gladly traded a few of that constancy in alternate for a design that gobbles up much less of my nightstand’s actual property — particularly if that additionally meant a lower cost.

The aesthetics depart rather a lot to be desired, too. With the time in massive print surrounded by the date, the climate, the Wi-Fi standing and your alarm information, it is a cluttered, inelegant show that does not do a lot to set itself aside from handsome rivals like Beddi, and even from iHome’s personal, less-expensive alarm clocks.

Talking of which, these cheaper iHome choices embrace an alarm clock that doubles as a dock for the Amazon Echo Dot. I preferred that product once I reviewed it, however thought that it was too costly at $70. iHome has since marked it all the way down to $50, which feels much more cheap. At any charge, if you happen to’re already utilizing an Echo Dot to wake you up within the morning, then that product would make a way more wise improve.

Do not let the voice controls idiot you — this alarm clock nonetheless has loads of buttons.


Whereas that various consists of no buttons in any respect, the iAVS16 has a whopping 14 buttons up prime, together with two programmable good buttons that may set off playlists or flip iHome good plugs on and off. There’s additionally a button to pair through Bluetooth, a button to place the clock into speakerphone mode, a full set of buttons for music playback, a separate, programmable button that is alleged to set off a number of issues without delay while you get up or settle in, a button to wake Alexa, a button to mute Alexa, a button to toggle the color-changing LEDs on the underside of the clock, and, in fact, the venerable snooze button. 

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