iHome Bedside Stereo Speaker System for Amazon Echo Dot review: This Echo Dot clock dock costs a lot

Something else worth mentioning: The microphones at the top of your Echo Dot might have a harder time hearing you during music playback because of the amplified sound coming from the dock's speaker.

To test this out, I took the iAVS1 into a quiet room, cranked some local Louisville rock up to 75 percent volume, then tried talking to Alexa at three distances: a foot away, a few feet away and several feet away. Up close, the Echo Dot heard me say "Alexa" on the first try. But from a few feet away, it took two tries. From across the room, it took three. By comparison, an Echo Dot on its own in the same test heard me on the first attempt from all three distances.

That's a pretty minor annoyance (most Alexa users have come to learn that raising your voice is an occasional necessity), but again, I wonder if front-facing speakers that blast music in your direction instead of straight up at the Dot's array of microphones wouldn't have been a better design choice. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

As I mentioned before, I use an Echo Dot to wake me up each morning -- but I also keep a small clock next to it for quick, groggy glances at the time while I'm in bed. A dock that essentially combines the two is a no-brainer product that I'd welcome to my nightstand if someone got it for me as a gift. But to spend $70 of my own money on it, I'd need it to offer more than just a convenient spot for my Dot and a slight uptick in sound quality, especially given that likable, fully-featured competitors like Beddi don't cost all that much more.

With no additional features to speak of -- no programmable smart buttons, no playback controls, no built-in wake-up light -- that's the mark that iHome misses here. The iAVS1 is a decent enough device, but it's too basic to justify the $70 price tag. Wake me up when it's on sale, though.

EDITOR'S NOTE, 4:15 PM EST, 7/7/2017: This review originally stated that iHome's alarm clock dock required you keep the Echo Dot plugged in separately. It actually includes a short-length USB cable that plugs from the Echo Dot into the back of the clock's base to keep it powered, a fact I simply missed during testing. The text of the review has been updated accordingly, and the score has increased slightly, but the overall buying recommendation remains unchanged.