Aro Home Review: Box It Out

First of all, me Refuse to blame someone’s phone addiction on a lack of self-control. I now find it almost impossible to complete even the smallest task without the help of my smartphone. My iPhone isn’t just my alarm clock and kitchen timer, it’s also my calendar and shopping list. I text my husband and check my work Slack and look up recipes and play podcasts while I cook.

So if you’re having trouble putting yours down, I don’t blame you. Our entire infrastructure revolves around anyone using any type of mobile device. I was going to install a landline in our house so our kids could call emergency services, but then I thought I could just repurpose old Apple Watches for my kids. Additionally, there is some debate as to whether phone addiction actually exists.

However, I have a hard time not falling into black holes. One recent morning, while I was brushing my teeth, I absentmindedly clicked on TikTok and was preoccupied with watching videos of little dogs sitting on big mushrooms instead of getting my kids ready for school. If you can pay a company to block websites and apps on your computer while you work, it seems more sensible to pay a company to help you put your phone away.

Pack it up

Photo: Taralynn Lawton/Arlo

Aro is both an object and a membership. You can either join for $18 a month or for slightly cheaper annual or bi-year subscriptions. Each subscription covers every member of your family.

Once you’ve joined, you’ll receive your Aro Home, a large white box measuring 12.5″ x 8″. A gently opening bamboo lid with a metal knob reveals four interior slots for four phones, a wireless charger, and four Lightning ports. (An Android app and version is coming soon.)

The app connects to your phone via Bluetooth. As soon as you place your phone in the box, it automatically starts recording your phone-free session, which ends as soon as you remove your phone from the Aro. If you review the Aro app, you can label your session. My most used tags are breakfast, work, and family time.

Aro starts with an initial goal of putting your phone down for an hour a day and adjusts as you put in more time, but after a couple of weeks I haven’t noticed any changes. The subscription also apparently covers challenges and lets you see your collected data, but so far these are pretty basic. For example, I currently received challenge badges for a seven day streak and 10 sessions. You can also play against groups, but I don’t know anyone else who owns an Aro.

I put our Aro in the kitchen as that’s where I juggle most of the tasks and have a hard time concentrating on the one at hand. But I’d probably have more or longer sessions, including sleepovers, if I kept the Aro in my bedroom. Luckily, I have no trouble putting my phone to sleep. (I’m no better than you, just exhausted.)

hands free

Placing the Aro Home in such a prominent position had an immediate effect. My kids, who don’t have phones, could see that I was determined to get rid of mine. More importantly, they had a safe place to put it when they violently snatched it from my hands.

I know what you’re thinking. “One hour a day? Haha, pfft.” But it’s not as easy as you might think, especially for a mom of two elementary school students who also works full-time from home. There were so many times I put it in the box only to find I had to get it out again a few minutes later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *