Pros / You can wake up to music played from a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, MP3 player or tablet.
Cons / This is the least durable alarm clock we tested.
Verdict / The iHome iBT29 has the best combination of alarm options and convenience features. However, you may want to consider a different alarm clock if you have hardwood or tile floors in your bedroom because it’s not durable.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it [is no longer available has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The iHome iBT29 has all the newest innovative features in the world of alarm clocks, including Bluetooth compatibility, hands-free phone connectivity and voice-controlled app support. You can use these features to eliminate the distractions that come with sleeping next to your phone. However, the iBT29 did not fare well in our durability tests, so you may want to consider a different alarm clock if your bedroom has hardwood or tile floors.
The iBT29 is one of the loudest alarm clocks we tested. We measured each clock’s maximum volume by placing a decibel meter 2 feet away from its speaker, and this model projected music and buzzer tones at 85.6 dB, which is about as loud as a city traffic jam. You can adjust the maximum alarm volume if you are worried about waking someone in the next room, and the alarm starts out quiet and gets progressively louder until you snooze or disable it.
Our durability tests revealed several flaws in the iHome iBT29’s design. We pushed each clock in our test group off a nightstand onto three different flooring surfaces to simulate what would happen if you accidentally bumped it from the nightstand as you tried to disable the alarm. The iBT29 showed no signs of functional or cosmetic damage when it fell onto carpet. However, it broke into two pieces when it fell on the hardwood floor in our lab.
We put the pieces back together after the first fall, and everything worked properly until we pushed it off the nightstand onto the tile floor. After falling onto this surface, the screen cracked and the display stopped working. This is the only alarm clock that suffered major internal damage in this test. Admittedly, tile floors aren’t common in bedrooms, but it doesn’t reflect well that this was the only alarm clock that suffered irreparable damage.
The iBT29 uses a lithium button cell battery as a backup to the AC wall plug. That is the most efficient and cost-effective battery type used in alarm clocks. The backup battery saves the clock and alarm settings and allows the alarm to function during a power outage. This is one of only three clocks in our test group with a backup battery that can power the alarm, which is important if you live in an area that routinely has outages.
There is a USB port on the back panel you can use to charge mobile devices. This port frees up a wall socket for other electronics or an additional wall charger so you can charge two devices simultaneously on your nightstand.
This is one of only two alarm clocks we tested with Bluetooth connectivity. Not only can you use it to play music through your alarm clock’s speaker, but it also serves as an alarm option – the iBT29 can use media from any connected device as an alarm. You can also use the Bluetooth connection to receive calls on your alarm clock. There is a built-in microphone and two buttons on the top panel that let you accept and end a call without touching your phone.
The Bluetooth connection works well with the sleep timer feature. The iBT29 can play a song or podcast from your phone as you fall asleep and turn itself off automatically after 15, 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes. You can also adjust and save the sleep timer volume setting separate from all other volume settings.
One of the alarm clock’s most customizable settings is its adjustable snooze time. You can set the amount of time between snooze alarms anywhere from one minute to 29 minutes. The adjustable snooze can be used along with the dual alarm feature to wake two different people at two different times with two different snooze lengths.
Another convenience feature worth noting is the clock’s 3.5mm auxiliary input. You can use this input to play music from any device that has a headphone output.
The iBT29 has more alarm options than any other clock we tested. You can choose to wake up to four different buzzer tones, FM radio or media on any connected Bluetooth device.
You can use these alarm options in conjunction with the color changing display – the light alarm mode has a setting that pulses to the beat of music or displays a calming sky gradient along with the three audio alarm settings, or you can choose to disable the light mode. All the alarm’s audio options start out at just over 50 dB, which is about a whisper, and get progressively louder until the alarm reaches the maximum volume you set.
The iHome iBT29 has incredible customization options that allow you to wake up exactly the way you want. It can be used as a Bluetooth speaker and charging port for mobile devices, and it eliminates the distractions that come with using your phone as an alarm. We suggest considering a more durable alarm clock if you don’t have a carpeted bedroom, though, as this is the least durable model we tested.