Ivee Sleek review: Stay informed with this voice-activated helper

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.8
  • Features: 6.0
  • Usability: 6.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Performance: 4.0
Review Date:

The Good Interactive Voice's $200 Ivee Sleek responds to basic commands and questions and can even control third-party devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat hands-free.

The Bad It's expensive and the voice control technology regularly struggled to understand me.

The Bottom Line Ivee Sleek is great when it works and extremely annoying when it doesn't, which was often enough to negate its overall convenience and value.

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Ivee Sleek is a $200 Wi-Fi voice-activated alarm clock by Interactive Voice. This Kickstarter-funded gadget, now on sale in stores such as Staples, makes setting an alarm, changing an alarm sound, and turning an alarm on or off completely hands-free. Its features don't stop there -- Ivee Sleek has a list of other possible voice commands ranging from the current date and time to uncategorizable inquiries like, "What's the stock price of (insert company of interest here)."

This clever device can also connect to third-party products, like the Nest Learning Thermostat to act as a home automation hub of sorts. These options take Ivee Sleek from a pricy alarm clock to a whole-home assistant that can provide basic information and control other Wi-Fi devices in your home with minimal effort -- at least in theory. In practice, the voice control technology was hit-or-miss and turned into quite a hassle when I couldn't successfully turn off the alarm clock using Interactive Voice's pre-programmed command list as my reference. Simply put: this product doesn't perform well enough to justify its $200 price.

First impressions

Ivee Sleek looks a lot like a traditional alarm clock. It measures 5.55 inches wide by 3.40 inches tall by 2.16 inches deep and has a black plastic finish. The device does have an 8-hour rechargeable backup battery in case there's a power outage, but it relies on the included power cord for regular operation.

To get started, plug the power cord into the AC adapter port on the back of the device. It also has a USB port and an auxiliary input port for charging USB-compatible devices and playing music from an MP3 player on Ivee's rear audio speaker. You'll also find a reset pin hole and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) on/off switch on the back.

When IVR is switched on, you can simply say, "Hello Ivee" to initiate a command. When IVR is switched off, you have to press the center button to "tell" Ivee to listen to any upcoming commands.

With IVR either on or off, say "Wi-Fi Setup" and use the buttons on the top of your Ivee Sleek to select your home Wi-Fi network and enter your password. This step was a bit fiddly because the volume control buttons, the center "command" button, and the brightness control buttons double as Wi-Fi setup buttons, making for an unnecessarily complex combination of button presses.

ivee-sleek-product-photos-11.jpg
The brightness control buttons, command button, and volume buttons. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Next, sign up for an account on Ivee Sleek's web portal -- there's no app for this product, but you do have to sign up online to complete the initial setup and connect third-party products. After you have created an account say "Ivee Account" or "Account Setup" and your Ivee unit will display a unique two-word identifier on its LCD screen. Enter this two-word passcode online and your Ivee Sleek will be linked to your web account. While the setup process felt a bit disjointed, I had it working in about 15 minutes.

Performance

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Ivee Sleek

Part Number: CNETIvee Sleek
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