The life of a smart-home guinea pig can be a fortuitous one. Case in point: about a month after my trusty alarm clock stopped working, I saw a pitch for an app-enabled, Kickstarter-funded one in need of review.
It's called Beddi, and it's basically the smart-home Swiss Army Knife of alarm clocks. Aside from telling the time and waking you up in the morning, Beddi syncs with Spotify, works with both Apple HomeKit and the Nest Learning Thermostat, and comes with three programmable smart buttons that can control your lights, trigger your IFTTT recipes, or even hail an Uber. It also features color-changing LEDs, a built-in wake-up light, two USB ports for charging your devices, and the ability to track your morning commute or read off the day's weather forecast.
I took Beddi home, determined to discern whether or not those features were worth the relatively steep $99 asking price (about £75 in the UK, or roughly AU$130). Now, one week later, I'm giving serious consideration to buying the thing so I don't have to send it back. It isn't a must-have and it isn't perfect, but it's a deceptively cool little luxury, and an unexpected bright spot in the still-emerging smart home. It'd make an excellent gift for a groggy techie, or a justifiable splurge if, like me, you just really like the thing.
Beddi makes a good first impression. It's a simple, minimalist design that looks every bit the part of an alarm clock upgrade in both black and gray. Smarts aside, if I just wanted a bedside alarm clock that didn't look cheap, Beddi would be on my list.
Bring those smarts back into the equation and Beddi gets even more compelling. It syncs with your phone over Bluetooth, then lets you control everything on your Android or iOS device using an app that's jam-packed with features. Aside from setting an alarm or two, you can control the way Beddi actually wakes you up, with options for things like alarm volume, music integration, wake-up lighting, and even the amount of minutes that come between snooze button bashes. It's certainly superior to any alarm clock I've ever used.
But Beddi aspires to be more than just an alarm clock -- it wants to be your smart home's mastermind. Its secret weapon is a trio of programmable smart buttons on the top of the device. By default, the first two are set to toggle the rear-mounted wake-up light and the rainbow LEDs lining the bottom of the clock, respectively, but you can change both of them, as well as the third, to a whole host of additional magic functions. Here are just some of your options:
- Toggle your Philips Hue smart lights
- Toggle your Lifx smart lights
- Toggle your Belkin WeMo switches
- Trigger Apple HomeKit scenes
- Set your Nest thermostat
- Play a Spotify playlist
- Read the day's weather forecast
- Play white noise
- Start a nap timer that wakes you up after a preset time
- Hail an Uber
You can also assign functions to a long press or a double press of each button, giving you a total of nine potential smart triggers to activate right from your bedside.
This is where Beddi gets into a bit of trouble, though. See, those smart buttons are awesome when they work as promised, and infuriating when they don't. Sure enough, during my week of testing, there was more than one instance where an assigned function stopped working as expected, and I'd need to pull my phone out and set it up from scratch all over again.