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iHome iGV1 review: iHome's Google Assistant alarm is too bright and pricey for your bedside

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The Good The iHome iGV1 combines Google Assistant smarts with a display that shows the time and a physical snooze button. It gives music playback a quality boost, and its mics are responsive.

The Bad The dimmest setting is too bright for a dark room, and it doesn't add enough to an ordinary smart speaker to justify the price.

The Bottom Line The iHome iGV1 competently combines an alarm clock and a smart speaker, but the price and brightness make it tough to recommend.

6.4 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Sound quality 7
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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Why was my pillow glowing? It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the answer to this mystery, an answer that was quite obvious in retrospect. In my defense, it was late and I was tired -- which is why I was trying to sleep on said pillow in the first place before noticing the glow. When I finally realized the answer, I glared at the culprit -- the iHome iGV1.

iHome's Google Assistant-equipped alarm clock performs almost all of the usual tricks of a first-party Google smart speaker like the Google Home ($129 at Walmart) (third-party speakers such as this one still can't make calls). It sounds pretty good when playing music. The mics accurately pick up and respond to your voice commands. I like the aesthetic, which combines the look of the Google Home with an alarm clock face.

All that considered, the $140 price is too steep, given that the iGV1 only really adds a digital time display to the normal smart speaker formula -- a Google Home Mini ($49 at Walmart) has all the same smarts for $50. The display might make it worth it for some. It also shows the time of any upcoming alarms. But aside from the high price, it commits one cardinal sin that prevents me from recommending it -- even at its dimmest setting, it's too bright for a darkened room.

What's good

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you're looking for a smart alarm clock and don't mind a gentle glow, the iHome iGV1 fits the bill. The physical snooze button does come in handy when Google Assistant is trying to wake you up and you want a few extra minutes of sleep. I've never liked asking for snooze time with a voice command.

When you're not trying to sleep a little longer, you can use the snooze button to adjust the brightness of the display. Press it to scroll through five different levels, or even turn it off entirely.

The iGV1 also has a USB port on the back if you want to charge your phone while you sleep. It has buttons to skip tracks if you're playing music. You can also mute the microphone, activate Google Assistant, turn on Bluetooth pairing mode, and adjust the volume with buttons on the top of the device.

For the most part, you interact with the iGV1 using your voice -- just as you would with a Google Home smart speaker. You even set it up using the same Google Home app. Once you connect it to your Wi-Fi, say the wake words for Google Assistant -- either "Hey Google" or "OK Google" -- and you can issue a wide variety of voice commands. You can search the web, check your calendar, control your compatible smart home devices, tell the iGV1 to play Netflix on your Chromecast-enabled TV, or any of an increasing number of tasks that Google Assistant can perform.

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