iHome is known for making interesting products, but their Bedside Clock System, the iHome iAVS16, is truly ambitious because it goes so far beyond just providing the time and a speaker to output music.
So where to begin? How about with the most expected features. The iAVS16 has built in stereo speakers and can use Bluetooth to stream music from a phone or tablet. These aren’t tiny speakers either; they’re big enough to put out a consistently loud sound that doesn’t hiss and jar at top volume. So it’s also expected that it can function as a speakerphone. So it does and adds tabs to effectively start/end the conversation. Plus it adds noise cancellation to improve on removing that aggravation “echo” during conversations.
Moving on to the display, that’s where you see the time and weather and alarm and other info. The display is dimmable so it won’t disturb the user, because it isn’t going to be across the room but right up close on a night table — it’s for the bedroom after all. These controls are right there where they can be quickly accessed as are others — remote control is fine but not always designed for every feature there is. But there’s also some eye-candy, thanks to an integrated light bar to provide mood lighting with adjustable mode and colors. And again, there are “hard” buttons for customizing responses, such as for hitting the “snooze” button or for ending an alarm.
Wi-Fi is also built in, which signals the appearance of Amazon’s Alexa. It enables the iAVS16 to be used for accessing lots of stuff through voice commands; Amazon music, Pandora, Spotify, Accuweather, among others along with non-streaming requests. This also brings in the ability for home automation, as the iAVS16 has been designed to work with iHome smart plugs and so can turn on/off lights or even start the coffee maker in the morning when it’s most needed. And through Amazon Smart Home Skills, control is enabled over a wide assortment of “smart” home-oriented devices, from companies like Nest, Wing, Smarthings and of course iHome, plus others.
Thanks to far field voice activation, the iAVS16 can hear you even from across the room, so there’s no need for being right on top of it, for those time when you’re moving around the bedroom. And since iHome figured rightly that they’d be sharing the night table with your smartphone, a USB port is built in for overnight/anytime charging.
The iHome iAVS16 gives you a lot and only asks for $149.95/retail in return.