We recently reviewed a bedside clock from iHome that works with Google Assistant. It’s impressive but only if you are using Google Assistant as your smart assistant. For those of us deep into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, there is the iHome iAV14. It may look like a traditional nightstand clock but, thanks to its “smarts,” it offers much more.
The iHome iAV14 is a small device. It measures 7.8″ W x 3.15″ H x 4.1″ D and weighs under two pounds.
Made from black plastic, there is black acoustic fabric on the part of the clock’s face, this hides the speaker but allows the audio to play unimpeded. This same material is used along the front 1/4 of the top and sides.
Along the top, there are buttons to control the volume, a Bluetooth pairing button, a snooze button and three additional buttons that we will talk about later in this review.
On the back, you will find the input for the included AC adapter as well as a USB-A port that allows you to charge your phone at night. The port only delivers 1 Amp of power so you won’t get the quick charging you find with other charging ports but, since you will most likely be using this port to charge your phone at night, speed is not of the essence here. The convenience of being able to use a single device as your clock and device charger is great!
As a clock it gets the job done just fine. LED lights illuminate to indicate the time and a small light to the left of the numbers indicates whether it is AM or PM.
In this regard, the iAV14 is quite similar to the “dumb alarm” clock Raina used to keep by her bed. The iAV14 is, however, much more than a simple bedside clock.
It has Bluetooth.
The iAV14 has Bluetooth built-in. That means you can use the clock to listen to music or podcasts from your phone or tablet. The sound isn’t particularly impressive but, if you want to fall asleep to music, it means you don’t need the added clutter of a Bluetooth speaker.
Thanks to Alexa, it has smarts.
The iAV14 may not look the part, but this bedside clock is also an Alexa-powered smart clock. As the company explains:
The iAV14 is an innovative Bluetooth speaker system with Far Field Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to play music, audiobooks, and more. Control smart home devices, set alarms, get weather, news, traffic and more. Far-Field Voice Activation for Alexa commands from anywhere in the room. Bluetooth pairing and audio play via Alexa. Built-in mic, digital voice echo cancellation, and answer/end controls make speakerphone use a pleasure.
Streams thousands of music stations via Wi-Fi audio from Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music, Tunein and others. Supports Spotify Connect, including programmable, presets for one-touch playback of any Spotify playlist or album. Supports Amazon Smart Home Skills, including iHome SmartPlugs. Control hundreds of smart home devices from Nest, Wink, SmartThings and more. LED Alexa light bar. Operates on included 100V-240V universal AC adapter. 1 Amp USB port to charge mobile devices (cable not included).
The inclusion is Alexa is, of course, what sets this bedside clock apart from most clocks currently on the market.
The three buttons previous mentioned in passing are there to let you control Alexa directly from the clock. One manually activates Alexa. The next turn off the “Far Field voice capability” built into the clock. After all, privacy is previous, and there may be times you don’t want Alexa “listening” to you.
Customizable one touch Smart Button to control music, smart plugs and more.
Finally, there is a programmable button. Set up in the iHome app, it lets you activate preselected music or other actions. If you use Spotify, the programmable button and Spotify Connect work together beautifully.
Alexa Built-in: Built-in Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) with Far Field voice capability.
As with other Alexa-powered devices, once the voice service is activated by voice or by pressing the Alexa button on the device, you can play music, audio books, control smart home devices, get weather, news, traffic and more! The microphones are sensitive enough that you can voice trigger Alexa from anywhere in the room! Once the device is set up, you can use your voice to stream music from Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music and Tune In. You can control hundreds of smart home devices from iHome, Nest, Wink, SmartThings, and more. You can dim the clock LEDs, set alarms and, when they go off, snooze or end them by voice. In other words, the iAV14 lets you do pretty much everything any other Alexa device can do, AND it has an easy-to-read clock and a Bluetooth speaker.
As an added benefit, once the clock is connected you your WiFi and Alexa account, the clock automatically syncs to the appropriate local time. You won’t ever have to think about setting your clock or changing it when Daylight Savings time arrives or departs.
Setting the iAV14 up took a few minutes but was fairly easy to do. You need to download the iHome AVS app. You’ll also need the Amazon Alexa app and an Alexa account. From there, you simply plug the clock in and follow the instructions displayed by the iHome AVS app.
The iHome iAV14 is great at what it does. It puts out decent enough sound if you want to fall asleep to music, but it certainly won’t replace your home audio system. That isn’t a knock on the device since it isn’t intended to do so. Instead, it lets you replace your current alarm clock with one that works just as well at its limited tasks AND adds Alexa voice services without increasing the footprint of the clock you are replacing. Sure, at $99.99 it is more expensive than the basic alarm clocks you can get at the corner drugstore, but those clocks don’t have Bluetooth, don’t automatically set the time, and don’t bring smart voice control to your bedroom. The iAV14 is three devices in one. And while it isn’t the BEST Bluetooth speaker, alarm clock, or smart device you can find, for under $100 it is all three of these devices into a single, small accessory that will sit quietly next to your bed waiting for your next command. I’m a fan, and I recommend it to anyone looking to add a bit of smart control without breaking the bank. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the iHome iAV14
What I Like: Small footprint; Works well as a bedside clock; Bluetooth means you can use the speaker to play music or podcasts from your phone or tablet; Inconspicuously adds Alexa voice control to your room; USB port lets you charge your phone while you sleep
What Needs Improvement: Old-school LED display may not be everyone’s favorite; Audio from the speaker does the job but doesn’t deliver anything that will satisfy an audiophile