For months I have been ogling a couple of Alarm Clock Speakers for the iPod. Unfortunately, Australia is months behind the US and the UK when it comes to gadgets hitting the market. Some never do. But the iPod market has really penetrated Australia and things are looking good.
My criteria were:
- small (must fit on the bedside cabinet)
- cool looks (sleek, modern, sexy!)
- capable for iPod 5G and iPod nano (nano on its way)
- alarm (who likes waking up to ghastly buzzer sounds...)
- snooze and sleep functions (especially snooze...)
- gradual wake up and sleep (nobody wants to be blasted at 6:00am)
The end of financial year sale in Australia can be very stressful time. The only two department stores (Myer, David Jones) and a couple of the big chain retailers (Harvey Norman, Retravision) can offer some very good deals on electronics, clothes, whitegoods, furniture etc. Note the order of bargains in the previous sentence!... A female would have said "clothes, furniture, clothes and whitegoods" :)
So I went looking. I was stressed (didn't have approval) but I wanted an alarm clock with bells and whistles...
My shortlist was short: iHome iH5 and XtremeMac Luna. Our Singapore trip in January was disappointing when it came to gadgets: nothing excited me enough and there was really not enough choice. Back then I was after the Logitech AudioStation but that one got eliminated for a. its price and b. its large-ish dimensions for a bedside cabinet. The iHome unit is very good - we got to listen to it at the Singapore Airport duty free shop - and it retails for a good A$100 less than the Luna.
But a couple of months ago I listened to the Luna in a Mac store and it really impressed me. So that was the "chosen one"!
There are many reviews of the Luna on the Internet but I will promote the one by iLounge with a score of A-. It is accurate, sensible, honest and with no wanky terminology. The iLounge guys did actually review it twice, after XtremeMac fixed a couple of glitches via fixes to the firmware. This, by the way, has to be said for all iLounge reviews in general. And when it comes to iPod gear, I think iLounge is by far the most accurate and reliable source.
Price-wise the Luna was a bargain as I bought it for A$195 with an extra 3-year warranty. But it's the unit's quality that sets it apart: the design is sleek, the controls are simple yet functional and very intuitive (you don't really need a a manual, the quick reference template placed on top of the unit summarizes the function of the four control buttons/dials). Sound-wise, the speakers deliver a really warm, rich sound. It looks like a lot of work has been put into the design and construction of the speaker drivers, as the Luna is capable of delivering varying types of music with no distortion.
So if you are in the market for such a unit, I really do recommend the Luna.