Alarm clocks have been replaced in many, if not most, households (I’m just guessing here) by smartphones (and to a lesser degree, smartwatches). My iPhone has been waking me up for years now; until recently, that is, when I chose the Apple Watch as my alarm of choice. But recently, the smart device revolution has made inroads into the alarm clock market with the introduction of the Beddi and of course I had to investigate.
But before I get to far, let me talk about why I’ve been using the Apple Watch as my alarm because it will provide some context for this review. And it will also allow me to declare, at the end of this article, whether or not the Beddi is better or worse.
I’ve been using the Apple Watch as my main alarm for one major reason: I don’t want to sleep in the same room as my iPhone. I don’t want to wake up during the night and think to myself, “I can’t sleep so I might as well check my phone.” I don’t want to be on my phone right before bed or first thing in the morning. I don’t want to get annoying notifications (even if they are silent while my phone is in night mode because I know they are there anyways begging for my attention). So, the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch actually makes a pretty great (simple) alarm clock. You can set the parameters without your iPhone and when you connect it’s charger and lay it on it’s side it enters alarm clock mode where it displays the time and the charge. It goes to sleep, too, so there’s no bright light next to my pillow (and doesn’t wake up until the alarm either goes off or I tap it to check the time). Then, in the morning when it’s time to wake up, the Apple Watch screen gradually gets brighter before the alarm goes off to help ease me out of sleep. In short, it works well for me. Really well.
There’s no way a traditional alarm clock could fit into my life. A “dumb” gadget just taking up space that has a radio on it is lame.
But the Beddi isn’t a “dumb” alarm clock. It has several very smart features, many of which I found not only cool, but useful. It’s got programmable smart touch buttons which can connect with and control other smart home tech in my house, it’s got multiple USB ports which allow it to act as a charging hub, it’s able to generate white noise and it’s got smart smart lighting built in as well. So let me talk about those features a little bit.
For me, the most useful feature of the Beddi is those smart programmable buttons. I’ve got Philips Hue lights in my bedroom: one on each side of the bed (yep, his and hers sconces). Most of the time I find these lights very convenient, but I dislike having to turn them on and off using my phone or the Apple Watch. It’s a bit more tedious and complicated than it needs to be (unlocking the phone, digging around in my “smart home” folder, opening the app, finding the right group of lights and finally flipping the digital switch).
But the Beddi’s smart buttons simplify that process quite a bit. Out of the three programmable buttons, I programmed one to turn the bedroom lights on, one to turn them off and have another button free to read me the weather forecast when pressed. And yep: they work really well (with a pretty slight delay). Physical buttons for controlling my Hue lights are awesome.
My next favorite feature is the smart lighting. There’s a wake up light that will gradually get brighter in the morning so as not to jolt you awake (as much, at least), but more interesting to me is the mood lighting. Sort of like a Philips Hue, you can set the mood lighting on the Beddi to the color of your choice. Fun, yes, but I truly never ended up using this function very often.
I like the idea of the multiple USB ports and the option to charge a few extra devices on my night stand, but in reality I try to de-clutter my bedroom furniture as much as possible. Like I already mentioned, my phone sleeps in a different room than I do (so I didn’t really have a use for the built-in phone holder on top of the Beddi).
I do like some white noise while I sleep, but normally just the ceiling fan (which isn’t too loud). And when I’m really serious about white noise I use Brain.fm, which is a premium service). So this is another feature which I personally never used, but which I think some people could find useful.
In my head, these features are what might make a person want to own a Beddi. It will come down to personal preference, though. But there are two things that I never fell in love with and they both have to do with design.
First, the design of the Beddi itself. It’s too old-school for my liking. It looks like a traditional alarm clock with 1980’s glowing numbers on the front and a time-worn rectangular shape. I’m really a fan of modern design and I really would have preferred something with some curves or angles. More and more I like my home gadgets to contribute a sense of art to the space they occupy.
Second, I’m not excited about the Beddi’s app design. It works, yes, and it’s not too hard to use, but it does lack polish. It’s not an app that I ever got excited about opening.
To sum things up, I feel like the Beddi is heading in the right direction. It’s a good niche to tackle, but it’s a product that needs a bit more focus and/or polish. It tries to do a lot and in the end it doesn’t end up doing anything really well. If it pared down it’s offering it might actually become a stronger product. And the design (both industrial and digital) could steal some ideas from apps with similar functionality (like the Hue app, actually, which also has some flaws, but does a much better job of letting you manage light colors and temperatures).
I can recommend the Beddi almost for the smart buttons alone, but I don’t think this is a product for everyone. For that reason, until some changes are made, I don’t think it will become a breakout hit.