Smart alarm clocks from Amazon and Google lack this key feature


When you buy a product labeled “smart” it should be better than the “dumb” version, especially since it costs twice as much (at least). But that is not the case with smart alarm clocks, which are very stupid in a way.

Smart Alarm Clocks are bedside buzzers with smart features, allowing you to set an alarm with just your voice, wake up to your favorite Spotify playlist, optionally track your sleep, and definitely control your smart home. Most have touch screens, some have radar, very few have cameras (thankfully), and others can use lighting to wake you up more naturally than a jarring buzzer. But what neither of them have is battery backup, something that has been standard on dumb builds for decades.

If your electricity goes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back on time, you could stay in Dreamland indefinitely. Why don’t smart alarm clocks have this blinding characteristic?

Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker with clock is clearly designed for your nightstand – the app offers over 20 different alarm tones. But does it come with a backup battery? Nope. Lenovo’s Smart Clock 2 has a night light, touchscreen, and even a docking station to charge your phone wirelessly, but no small lithium-ion battery to make sure you wake up. Google’s Nest Hub with Sleep Tracking is smart enough to monitor you while you sleep using Soli radar technology. But it won’t wake you up if your electricity goes out overnight.

The Lenovo Smart Clock and Echo Show 5 are two touchscreen smart alarm clocks that offer a myriad of smart features, but can’t guarantee you’ll wake up.

Missing an alarm is not a big deal for many people, but for some it is a big deal. Take my husband for example. He’s a fire captain / paramedic, so arriving late for work not only increases the possibility of being fired, but it means his counterpart who was up all night to a five-car pile-up has to work an hour or two. in addition to his 24 hour shift. This is one of the many reasons he refuses to trust it. He loves the features smart alarm clocks offer (especially the sleep tracking on Google Nest Hub), but he always has his smartphone plugged in next to his bed to wake him up. Because unlike any smart alarm clock, it has a battery that can last until morning if that outlet fails.

There are a few alarm clocks with smart features that manage to find room for a button cell battery or a few AAs to keep your settings intact in the event of a power failure, but they’re unlikely to have the juice to sound your alarm like. good. This iHome alarm clock does and even works with Siri and Google Assistant (if you press a button). The $ 150 Loftie, which features sound baths and guided meditation, also has a save option. But when it comes to what I consider a true smart alarm clock, with useful features like a touchscreen, built-in voice assistants, smart home controls, and Wi-Fi connectivity, you don’t have to. luck if you want to be 100% sure that you will wake up on time.

Sleep tracking on the Google Nest hub is powered by radar technology, but if the power goes out, it won’t wake you up.

It seems that manufacturers are so keen on putting all the functionality possible into their smart bedside displays that they neglected to focus on the original primary function of the product. It is a common theme with many smart home devices.

Smart alarm clocks can lull you to sleep with the soothing sounds of the rainforest while dimming your bedroom lights, locking your doors and adjusting your thermostat. Then they can wake you up to your favorite songs while telling your lights to gradually turn on to trick your circadian rhythm into kicking off. They can even turn on your thermostat to keep you from catching a cold when you get out of the shower. Some can also charge your phone and watch at the same time! But will any of them turn off if the power goes out? Nope.

It doesn’t seem like this oversight is a technical limitation: Philips’ Artificial Sunlight Alarm Clock includes an 8-hour backup in the event of a power failure, although it is a stretch to call it ‘smart’. And Facebook’s new Portal Go is a smart display with a giant lithium-ion battery inside. While it’s not meant to be used as a bedside clock (it’s huge, has a camera in it, and really serves as a Facebook call to family – something you don’t often do from bed), it proves that it is quite possible for a smart display to have two reliable power sources.

Yes, the likelihood of being affected by a power outage is slim – the idea that your clock will be dead at the exact moment you’re supposed to wake up. And, because they’re smart enough to reset when the power comes back on, you’re not going to wake up to the terror-inducing red LEDs flashing “12:00” towards you. But the fact remains: there is a possibility that they will not work. And it’s quite uncomfortable for someone like my husband. He refuses to trust a smart alarm clock until he can do his job right.

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