Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa is finding her way into more and more homes — including the bedrooms of folks who’ve taken to using her as a voice-activated wake-up service. Maybe it’s just the thrill of having an alarm that will actually respond when you grumble “shut the hell up” at it at 6 a.m., but voice-activated morning alarms have proven to be one of Alexa’s most popular use cases.
Alexa comes in many faces, though — not just, but also the swelling ranks of . Almost any of them will let you set an alarm and then shut it off using voice commands, but which one is the right pick for your nightstand? Let’s take a look at some of your top options:
Amazon Echo Spot
Our first Alexa alarm clock option is an Amazon device that’s built for that exact purpose: the Echo Spot. Coming this Christmas, the Spot is basically the love child of the pint-size(Amazon’s cheapest Alexa gadget) and the touchscreen-and-camera-equipped (Amazon’s most expensive Alexa gadget). At $130, the Spot splits the difference between the two almost perfectly, offering full Alexa access plus a full-color touchscreen display that can show you the time, make video calls or stream media from sources like CNN.
Amazon Echo Dot
Of course, you could also save a hundred bucks and just go with an Echo Dot. You’ll have to ask Alexa what time it is, and there’s no camera in the thing — but then again, maybe you don’t want a camera pointed at you while you sleep. Amazon has it marked down to just $30 through the end of the holiday buying season.
iHome iAVS1 Bedside Stereo Dock for Echo Dot
Another option: upgrading that Echo Dot by spending $50 on the iAVS1 from iHome. It’s essentially a clock-shaped dock for the Echo Dot that gives it a clock face and better sound quality. Aside from a touch-sensitive button that adjusts the brightness, there are zero controls on the iAVS1 — no volume buttons, no clock controls, not even a snooze bar. Instead, iHome lets Alexa control everything — which means that you’ll use the iAVS1 exactly like you already use your Echo Dot.
iHome iAVS16 Alexa-enabled Alarm Clock
If you’re willing to spend $150 — $20 more than the Echo Spot costs — then you could consider iHome’s Alexa-enabled iAVS16. You don’t need an Echo Dot to use it, because Alexa is already built in. Just say her name and ask her to set an alarm, then tell her to pipe down when she wakes you up in the morning. The clock suffers a bit from a cluttered display, a bulky design and an over-abundance of buttons, but it offers decent sound quality and enough features to make it feel like a legitimate bedside upgrade. If that price comes down a bit, it could be a worthwhile Echo Spot alternative.
GE Sol Alexa-enabled Smart Lamp
It might look a little avant garde, but the Alexa-enabled Sol smart lamp from GE is another gadget that’ll bring Amazon’s voice assistant to your bedside. It’s essentially a half-sized Amazon Echo with a big ring of light growing out of its head. That ring offers plenty of light to read under, and it also changes between warm, yellowy tones and cooler, whiter tones upon command. It also offers clever LED indicator lights that can tell you the time or countdown a nap timer. At $200, it’s the most expensive option on this list, but we’ve already seen a couple of good sales this year that have left us tempted.
If you just want an Alexa speaker on your nightstand, but would prefer something with stronger sound than the Dot, then consider the Fabriq Chorus, a third-party Alexa speaker with a built-in battery that lets you pick it up off of its charging base and take it around the house with you. That’s essentially the same pitch as the Amazon Tap, but the Chorus costs $30 less, making it a decent value pick. Bonus points for the variety of attractive designs.
Ninety7 Vaux Speaker Base for Echo Dot
If you like that battery-powered pitch but you’ve already got a Dot, then consider the Vaux speaker base by Ninety7. Just pop your Dot inside and you’ll enjoy noticeably stronger sound quality and up to six hours of battery-powered portability. At $50, it’s one of the best Echo Dot accessories we’ve tested.
CNET Smart Home