One of the cheaper iPod/iPhone clock radio and works well
Apr 7, 2011 (Updated Apr 7, 2011)
Review by alanp
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Reasonable price, good functionality and decent sound for a small unit, easy to use
Cons:Odd power button, no battery backup, not the best build quality
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a cheap/simple solution with alarm as the main functionality, this is it. If you want extra features and better sound, look elsewhere.
My clock radio from 1990 broke, the volume knob magically "moves" on its own now so when I set it to a reasonable volume before I goto sleep, it ends up waking me up at full volume and scares the crap out of me. It was time to get a new clock radio so I figured, why not get one that can charge my iPhone too? I shopped and most I saw were in the $50-$100 range... much too rich for my blood for what was to be an alarm clock first and an iPhone charger/speaker second. Then I came across this little gem for $30. It's about as simple as you can get, but some of it's key features include:
Recommend this product?
- Dual alarm clocks can wake you up to a buzzer, radio or iPod/iPhone
- FM radio with digital tuner and presets
- Sleep timer (0-90 min in 10 min increments)
- Charges you iPod/iPhone when docked, even if the unit is off or in radio mode
- Play/Pause/Trackup/Trackdown control for your iPod/iPhone
One word, FLIMSY. Not only is this unit very small, it is very light too. I can't imagine it taking beatings or drops very well, so be careful with it and treat it nicely! Other than that, it seems like can last a good number of years. Also, being so small, the display isn't very big and sophisticated. Chances are you'll have this clock radio right next to your head on the nightstand, but if for some reason you want it farther away on a dresser across the room, you might be hard pressed to read the display.
The indentation where the iPod/iPhone docks on top is a good size, it should be able to accomodate most iPod/iPhone cases except maybe the really bulky ones. It does not however come with any dock inserts that mold the dock to the exact shape of your iPod/iPhone. I actually prefer it this way because chances are you'll have a case on your iPod/iPhone anway. The only drawback to this is that you'll need to be careful and not jar the iPod/iPhone too hard while docked otherwise it might snap off the dock connector.
One last note, there is an FM antenna "tail" that hangs out the back. I guess this will make radio reception better, but it would have been nice if they found a way to make the antenna internal and still keep good radio reception... I know, this might be asking too much for a cheap unit like this.
Sound Quality and Compatibility
Sound quality is... just ehhh. But again, with a unit this cheap, you shouldn't be expecing BOSE wave radio quality. I'll just leave it at, "The speakers sound better than the built in speakers on an iPod Touch or iPhone." It also gets plenty loud for a little nightstand music device... but don't bring it to a party to fill a whole room.
The thing works with my old 4th Gen iPod from 2006, my iPhone 3G and my wife's iPhone 4. Compatibility is pretty good on this unit as it charges all of them, no problem (keep in mind, this review was written in April 2011, who knows what new iPods/iPhones have been released since and compatibility with them).
It has good sized buttons on the top face of it that are very intuitive for the most part. You have your power/source button, play/pause buttons, alarm1/2 buttons, volume up/down buttons, store/recall buttons for radio presets, and the most important SNOOZE/SLEEP button!
The biggest quirk I found was that the power and input source buttons are one in the same. To turn on and off the unit, you have to hold the button down for a second or two. Tapping it (while the unit is on) will change the input source between radio and iPod/iPhone. This will take a little time to get used to, I wish it had a dedicated power button. Other than that, all the other buttons are very straighforward and easy to use.
Playing music is straightforward, turn the unit on, press source until you get to either FM radio or iPod/iPhone and enjoy. If there is no iPod/iPhone connected and you select iPod/iPhone as the source, it will turn off on its own. Same goes for if you undock your iPod/iPhone while playing...a nice little feature. Radio operation is straightforward and so is iPod/iPhone. Play/pause, track/station up/down, and volume up/down are about all you can do. If you want to select playlists or shuffle on the iPod/iPhone, you have to do it on the iPod/iPhone itself.
There is nothing terribly special about the alarm functionality, you have two alarms and the typical snooze and sleep functionality. That being said, there are a couple very nice features of the alarms though. First, you can set the alarm volume when you are programming an alarm time. Second, when the alarm goes off, it gradually increases the volume from 0 to the alarm volume you set when programming the alarm. Don't worry, the minimum volume you can set for the alarm is 10 out of 30, so you'll always get some sort of sound from the alarm. Anyway, pretty cool for a cheap little unit.
A couple miscellaneous functionality comments:
1) Automatic syncing of time from your iPod/iPhone.. so make sure you iPod/iPhone always has the right time on it!
2) Does not have battery backup for the alarm or time so if the power goes out and you have an alarm set, chances are it will not wake you up!
3) No, there is no aux input for another device
4) Not really a function, but comes in 4 different colors, pink, green, blue and black.
For $30, I'm very happy with my purchase. Aside from the quirk of the power/source button, the next thing that many people probably won't like is the lack of battery backup for the alarms in case the power goes out. Personally, I never put batteries in my alarm clocks that had this feature anyway so no loss to me. Also, the price definitely shows in the build quality and the bells and whistles (or lack there of). With these three things in mind, I'll have to dock off one star. Overall though, this little unit fit my needs almost ideally at a price easy to swallow.
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