Amazon alarm clock
Amazon Echo Show 5
Seeing how Amazon started the whole smart clock trend, it should come as no surprise that the Amazon Echo Show 5 marks significant changes from its predecessors. It is still built on the same platform as the Echo Spot but has a scaled-back form factor that deviates from the gigantic original Echo Show. If you’ve been following along, you already know that Alexa is a capable tool for setting alarms and streamlining your evening routine. The difference between the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Spot is that this model has a 5.5-inch touchscreen that is helpful for navigating the OS and watching videos. You can also make voice calls using a built-in microphone but only to other people with the Alexa app. Despite being just a bit larger than the Echo Spot, this screen looks noticeably better at a 960 x 480 resolution. The display is actually designed to be seen clearly from across the room, too, so you don’t have to place it right next to your bed if it’s within earshot. Speaking of ears, the Echo Show 5 also has upgraded audio. It sports two 4W speakers and actually sounds decent. The speaker gets fairly loud without distorting. Of course, you can’t play music too loud or else it won’t catch your voice commands. While the smaller form and lower price of the Echo Show 5 are both appealing for bedside use, Amazon has taken a step backward by removing the Zigbee smart home hub from its repertoire. If you want a smart alarm clock that can act as a central hub for a smart home, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. One big win on this new smart display is added privacy options, which were requested by many users in response to disturbing news articles about Amazon employees being asked to listen in on recorded conversations. The Echo Show 5 now has a discreet mute button and a camera shutter, which doesn’t entirely earn my trust but marks a step in the right direction. The Echo Show 5 may be able to do a lot but keep in mind that it is far from perfect in its current state. Many tasks feel a little more involved than they should be, which can scare off those who aren’t technically savvy. Also, the microphone array for this device seems like it is the same one from the Echo Spot, as it isn’t powerful enough to hear you when listening to audio at over 50% volume. The assuring part is that the Fire OS and Alexa voice assistant are both constantly improving, so even if a certain feature you need is missing now, it will likely be an option in the future. Love the concept but want a bigger display? The Echo Show 8 performs all the exact same functions but with a more practical 8-inch touchscreen. Find more Amazon Echo Show information and reviews here.
Witti Design Beddi
No backup battery Witti Design Beddi is part Bluetooth speaker, part alarm clock, and part smart home hub, all in one. This bedside concierge has a bunch of useful features built-in. This includes a digital clock display, a Bluetooth speaker, two USB charging ports, an ambient light strip, and a sunrise-simulating wake-up light. At the top of the speaker, you have a snooze button, a play/pause button, and three so-called smart buttons. The smart buttons can be assigned three commands each (activated by a single press, a double press, and a long press), and work with the Beddi smartphone app. The smartphone app is essential for accessing Beddi’s key features. It is available on both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. Through the app, you can set smart button macros to connect with smart home devices like Nest, Hue lights, Wemo, Lifx, and HomeKit. You can also connect them to order an Uber ride or play a Spotify playlist (if you have Spotify Premium). The app is also used to set alarms. You can set four different alarm times, all of which can be repeated for whatever days you need them on. The Beddi app has a library of peaceful sounds, which are nice but on a rather short loop. If you prefer, you can use your phone’s downloaded music or your favorite Spotify playlists instead of traditional alarm sounds. You can also schedule the wake-up light or a weather alert to further improve your wake up experience. Unfortunately, there is no firmware update tool for Mac users so the app will crash more frequently if you don’t have a Windows machine. It’s the kind of issue that makes you wish the device had a backup battery. The user experience isn’t perfect yet, but the Beddi smart alarm clock already offers a ton of utility, and the app will only improve over time.
No backup battery Echo Dot is Amazon’s most bedside-ready Alexa-powered Echo speaker. Its compact size and LED clock make it a natural fit for your nightstand. Alexa offers a diverse library of skills that can be used once you unlock the device with a somewhat customizable wake word (“Alexa” by default). Some of the more gimmicky skills can really come in handy from under your sheets, even though this cloud-based service is still growing. Its functions include reading audiobooks, playing music from your favorite streaming service, ordering a pizza, controlling other smart home devices, and more. You can find an even more comprehensive list of things to try with Alexa on Amazon’s help page. However, the most important Alexa feature for this device is its ability to set alarms with ease. You simply have to say, “set an alarm for [time of day]” for single alarms, or “set a repeating alarm for [day of week] at [time]” for repeating ones. Alexa can manage up to one hundred alarms. Your alarms will play even if your Echo Spot loses Internet connectivity, although it does not have a backup battery, so don’t count on total infallibility. You can use the Alexa web app to choose between a number of stock alarm sounds, including some peculiar ones like Alex Baldwin’s voice. The coolest option is to use your own music as an alarm. You can set Alexa to play a playlist or track from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM, and iHeartRadio.The speaker is just loud enough to make for an effective alarm, yet it distorts considerably at max volume. It has an aux out port for those who’d rather port audio to a more robust speaker. Alexa offers some neat tricks to encourage restful sleep in the evening too. For instance, you can put on your favorite ambient sounds or audiobook and then use the phrase, “Alexa, set a sleep timer for 30 minutes.”If you are an Amazon Prime member, you have instant access to a number of free options, including some guided meditation tracks. In the morning, you can use Alexa to play the news or turn up the lights, but sadly, this isn’t yet something you can directly integrate into your alarm. While Amazon’s Echo Show 5 might have a little more functionality because of its built-in touchscreen, the sheer simplicity of the Echo Dot is what makes it such a viable pick for a bedside companion. Unless you absolutely have to wake up to your favorite YouTube videos, this is one of the best smart alarm clocks available. Find more Amazon Echo Dot information and reviews here.
Do You Really Need a Smart Alarm Clock?
With smart home technology rapidly expanding its presence in all aspects of our life, one can’t help but wonder if smart alarm clocks are really worth upgrading to.
There is no denying the usefulness of being able to use voice commands and change settings from your phone but these features come at a trade-off. Smart alarm clocks are a radical departure from the traditional atomic clocks that usually sit by our bedside and are currently missing some classic features.
You typically won’t have clock buttons to set an alarm the old fashioned way. Your Internet connection needs to be reliable, too, lest you want your clock caught up in a reboot cycle overnight. Many smart alarm clocks also lack backup batteries, so they aren’t ideal if you lose power easily in a storm.
For most modern users the pros will outweigh the cons. But that entirely depends on the user. Either way, things will only get better for smart alarm clocks, as the most popular platforms are gaining new features constantly.
Investing in one now means that your purchase will only grow more useful over time. And whenever a breakthrough new feature puts a new device on the map, we’ll be the first to update our comprehensive guide on the best smart alarm clocks.