First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Auxiliary input, support for most iPods, allows you to be woken by the sound of your iPod
- Mediocre sound quality, questionable build quality, poor controls on both unit and remote
The GrooveRise doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from the pack and suffers from mediocre sound quality.
Price$ 129.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)
Another in the long line of alarm clocks cum iPod docks, Cygnett's GrooveRise ultimately fails to deliver any outstanding features to set it apart from the competition. Although the convenience of an auxiliary input and the ability to be woken by your iPod playlist are nice touches, the GrooveRise suffers from mediocre sound quality.
Aesthetically, the GrooveRise is a fairly plain device, with only a circular chrome ring surrounding the LED backlit display breaking the all-black theme. The black mesh covering the speakers on the front feels sturdy enough, but the rest of the gloss plastic feels cheap and is prone to fingerprints. It is easily scratched and it's quite a chore to keep clean.
The design is simple enough — the iPod dock sits at the top of the unit, wedged in between two control knobs (one for volume, the other for adjusting the FM frequency); the rest of the unit's controls are located just below the dock. The controls are quite flat and require a firm press to activate, so this could spell trouble for those accustomed to hitting snooze several times each morning at the sound of their alarm. Unfortunately, the remote control is the same. Although the convenience of being able to skip tracks and adjust volume with the remote is a nice touch, the buttons are flat and hard to press.
Cygnett packages plastic adaptors to fit most iPods on the market, including the iPod touch. The iPhone isn't listed as being compatible in the user's guide, but we managed to use one without any issues. The addition of an auxiliary input means you don't need an iPod to use the GrooveRise and Cygnett includes the 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable in the sales package.
Despite a decent design and support for most portable music players on the market, the GrooveRise is let down by mediocre sound quality. There is no way to adjust even basic sound settings such as bass and treble; this is disappointing. The unit suffers from a lack of bass response, distorted sounds at higher volume levels and a distinct lack of crispness and clearness. Instrumental separation is also quite poor, especially on complex tracks.
As an FM radio with built-in alarm clock, the GrooveRise does a capable job. There are two alarms and both can be set to use the radio, your iPod or the auxiliary input. Conveniently, when the alarm sounds it can be turned off until the next day by pushing any button except snooze. A sleep mode also allows you to switch the unit off automatically after 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes — a handy option should you wish to fall asleep to some tunes.
The GrooveRise is powered by either the included AC adapter or by two AA batteries.
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My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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