The iHome iAVS16 Alarm Clock with Amazon Alexa built right in.


iHome

iHome makes an awful lot of alarm clocks, including Alexa-friendly models designed to house an Amazon Echo Dot. Now, iHome’s latest bedside gadget takes that approach one step further, packing voice-activated Alexa access directly into the clock itself — no Dot necessary.

That clock is the iAVS16, and with far-field microphones that can hear you from across the room and Amazon’s Alexa Voice Services programmed inside, it can do just about everything that Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers can do. You can ask for the weather forecast, control your smart home gadgets, stream music, or access any one of Alexa’s more-than-20,000 free voice skills. 

The cost? $150 — a fairly steep premium for what iHome is calling the first voice-activated Alexa clock of its kind from a major brand.

In addition to the Alexa smarts, the iAVS16 offers LED mood lighting, a 10-watt internal amplifier for music playback, Bluetooth streaming support, an integrated speakerphone with digital echo cancellation and a 2.1A USB port for charging your devices while you sleep.

Don’t let the voice controls fool you — this alarm clock still has plenty of buttons.


iHome

The iAVS16 has no internal alarm, and instead, relies entirely on Amazon’s Alexa-powered alarm functionality. That means you’ll need to ask Alexa to set the alarm instead of button-mashing like in olden days — though, thankfully, the snooze button still works as an alternative to grumbling at Alexa to shut the heck up each morning.

The iAVS16 reflects the fact that a growing number of manufacturers see Alexa’s popularity as a rising tide capable of lifting their boat. Though it’s the first time iHome has programmed Alexa directly into a device, this isn’t the iHome team’s first Alexa-friendly gadget. In addition to the Echo Dot alarm clock, the brand also offers automatable smart plugs that work with Alexa — and you’ll find all of them for sale on Amazon.

“This year, iHome has focused on growing its Alexa smart home offerings and integrating artificial intelligence technologies into products across all categories, including smart plugs,” said Gary Schultz, director of product and business development at iHome.

To that end, you can use iHome’s app to program two of the clock’s buttons — the square and the triangle — to toggle your iHome Plugs on and off. They’ll work with any other Alexa-compatible plug, too. If plugs aren’t your fancy, you can program those buttons to launch music stations and playlists.

A third programmable button, marked with a star, can be programmed to trigger wake and sleep home control. Press when you wake up to turn on your lights and music all at once, or press before bed to turn everything off.

We’ve already seen third parties pack Alexa into a lamp, a TV, a refrigerator, a thermostat and a growing range of smart speaker alternatives to the Echo. It’s actually surprising that it’s taken this long to get her into a clock, given the Echo Dot’s established bedside appeal.

Still, $150 is obviously an awful lot of money for an alarm clock, and considerably more than than what you’d spend on iHome’s Echo Dot clock dock and an Echo Dot to go with it. The Beddi smart alarm clock costs a lot less, too — it doesn’t feature Alexa or any other voice assistant packed inside, but it does offer a whole host of smart home integrations capable of toggling your lights or adjusting your thermostat with the touch of a button.

The iAVS16 is expected to hit retail outlets and Amazon in October. We’ll test it out and tell you what we think in the coming weeks.



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