iHome iAVS1 Bedside Stereo Speaker for Echo Dot Review

  • Easy to setup
  • Second USB port for charging a phone
  • Alexa is louder
  • Audio quality isn't a huge step up
  • Expensive
  • Black version is a fingerprint magnet

Amazon won't be content until Alexa is within earshot of us all, and iHome wants to give her a place on the nightstand. The iHome iAVS1 Bedside Stereo Speaker System for the Echo Dot is effectively a dumb clock-speaker with a bay for Amazon's smart speaker. Pair the two together, and in theory you've got the ideal addition to bedtime. At $69.99, though – and that's before you've bought the Echo Dot itself – does iHome do enough?

The Good

It takes longer to peel the various pieces of scratch-protecting plastic off the iAVS1 than it does to install an Echo Dot inside. Amazon's smart speaker simply drops into the bay on top, and then you plug in the short 3.5mm stereo cable and use the supplied USB to microUSB power cable with one of the two USB ports on the back of the speaker dock. The second is free to plug in your phone charger; it'll provide 1A.

Compared to the Vaux Cordless Home Speaker, which also gives the Echo Dot a custom housing, the Echo Dot protrudes higher. iHome did that so first-gen Echo Dot owners can still access the rotating volume ring, which was replaced with buttons on the second-gen version. A proprietary power adapter keeps everything running, with AAA backup batteries to maintain the clock's setting – but not power the Echo Dot – in the case of a power cut.

Setting the speaker-dock's clock is done with buttons on the underside. After that, the only control you'll really use on the iHome unit itself is the touch-sensitive backlight button on the upper edge. Tapping that cycles through eight levels of brightness. Everything else is controlled via the Echo Dot.

The Bad

All of Alexa's functions operate as they normally would, though thanks to the iAVS1's speakers she's a little louder. Audio quality isn't hugely improved, though, and you'll get more volume with most Bluetooth speakers. Admittedly, you could still pair your Echo Dot with one, but then there's even less point to buying the speaker-dock.

The almost complete absence of controls on the iAVS1 quickly grew annoying. If you're used to reaching out and sleepily slapping the snooze button on your alarm clock, unfortunately you'll now need to ask Alexa to give you a few extra minutes in bed. The clock's shiny black body is an instant fingerprint magnet, too, though the white version likely hides them better if that's a deal-breaker for you.


At $69.99, I find myself asking quite what you're paying for with the iHome iAVS1. Alexa is certainly a little louder with the external speakers, but they're far from anything close to audiophile quality. Think along the lines of, well, your typical clock-radio. Music suffers from absent bass, while treble lacks sparkle. Meanwhile, there were times when Alexa was simply too loud for nightstand use: nobody wants a shouty assistant waking up their significant-other when all they want to do is set an alarm for the following morning.

NOW READ: Amazon Echo Dot Review

In the end, though the idea is solid, the iAVS1 Bedside Stereo Speaker System doesn't do enough to earn its (not-inconsiderable) footprint by my pillow. Where the Vaux has freedom from the outlet in its favor, when it comes to the iHome I suspect most would be better served taking their seventy bucks and buying a Bluetooth speaker and a cheap standalone clock. The iAVS1 needs to be cheaper before it'll be worth buying.