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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Effective light and sound therapy
Excellent audio quality
Controls are not very intuitive
Not compatible with smart home systems and AI assistants
Built-in microphone is no good for phone calls
The iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine provides a wonderfully soothing alternative to shrill alarms and is a fantastic Bluetooth speaker as well.
Like some of the best light therapy alarm clocks, the iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine is one feature-rich alarm clock. With sound and light therapy it aims to make it easier to go to sleep, more pleasant to wake up, and to offer all the benefits of a Bluetooth speaker.
The Zenergy won’t look out of place on any nightstand; with its sweeping cloth curves it is both elegant and pleasing to the eye. The clock face is concealed behind this cloth exterior and glows softly from within. It seems to be quite durable and probably won’t break if you accidentally knock it off as you’re flailing for the snooze button.
At first glance the array of controls that festoon the top and rear of the clock appear quite daunting, and it can be tricky to remember which one silences the alarm when groggily emerging from slumber. The snooze button is relatively easy to find, being raised and prominent, but the alarm reset button is flush with the top of the clock with little to guide grasping fingers. However, after spending a few weeks with the alarm I became accustomed to its controls. These include various buttons for adjusting volume and brightness, setting alarms, and other functions.
On the upper rear sides are found toggles for various sounds, while on the rear fin you’ll find time set and Bluetooth buttons, as well as the ports which include AUX, USB port for charging devices, DC power, and a radio antenna. The Zenergy is also equipped with a backup alarm battery to make sure you wake up in case of a power outage. A power cable and AUX cable are included.
Getting the iHome Zenergy set up is a simple enough process, especially if you use the free companion app and connect to the clock via Bluetooth. Setting the time, alarms, and adjusting other settings on your phone is far easier than using the built-in interface on the clock, though that is perfectly doable with the aid of the manual.
The Zenergy really does make it easier to fall asleep and to wake up. Its wide array of colors and patterns and excellent, realistic ambient sounds helped me wake up without my usual morning headache. At night, the sound helped ease me into my dreams. I appreciated how customizable its alarm settings are, as they allow you to tune the clock to your specific needs.
The Zenergy app is simple and streamlined. It allows you to easily adjust and toggle alarm, sleep, and nap settings. It’s fairly self-explanatory, and though it’s fairly limited, it gets the job done. My only gripe would be that the two-step process of launching the app is tiring and could be improved.
The quality and volume of sound that the Zenergy is capable of producing is actually kind of staggering. It easily competes with dedicated Bluetooth speakers in its price range. This not only allows the speaker to play your favorite tunes, it also takes the built-in sound therapy features to a new level. They are remarkably lifelike, and can provide a remarkably soothing background. However, the built-in microphone isn’t so great. When I tried using it to make phone calls it was impossible for people on the other end to understand me, even though I was only a few feet away from the clock.
I found the Bluetooth connection in the iHome Zenergy to be strong and consistent. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi capability built-in, which prevents compatibility with smart home ecosystems.
At an MSRP of $54 the iHome Zenergy is expensive for an alarm clock, but considering its light and sound therapy, as well as its impressively good speaker, it actually provides remarkably good value for the money. Trading in the shrill bleat of a traditional alarm in the dark for the soothing sound of falling rain and the gentle glow of sunrise is certainly worth a few extra dollars.
To save a little money you could buy the HeimVision Sunrise Alarm Clock A80S instead, but honestly it’s so inferior a device that you’re better off spending the extra cash on the iHome Zenergy. The HeimVision lacks the excellent speaker of the Zenergy, as well as the immense level of customization that makes the Zenergy so versatile. The only advantage the HeimVision has is that it can be integrated into your smart home ecosystem, and can utilize AI assistants such as Amazon Alexa.
A versatile and high-quality light therapy alarm clock with a Bluetooth speaker system.
When a device does so much so well, and at an affordable price point, it’s easy to recommend. It genuinely improved my life with its light and sound therapy features, and its speaker is so high quality that it would be worth the money if all it did was play music.