Cygnett GrooveTime

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Cygnett GrooveTime
  • Cygnett GrooveTime
  • Cygnett GrooveTime
  • Cygnett GrooveTime

Pros

  • Compact, neat design, remote included, inputs and outputs

Cons

  • Average sound quality, buttons frustrating to use, no presets for radio

Bottom Line

Cygnett GrooveTime has the right price, although sound quality is average and the controls are awkward to use.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)

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Cygnett's Groovetime is another addition to the growing collection of iPod based alarm clocks. While it does most of the basics quite well, it was let down by average quality speakers and awkward controls. Overall, it will appeal to people who want an inexpensive iPod alarm clock, but are not overly fussed about sound quality.

It looks good, finished in generic iPod style with funky blue lighting and has more features than most iPod systems for around the same price, but the sound quality was a big let down. The speakers were able to handle decent volume levels without too much distortion, but failed to deliver in other areas. The sound is dominated by the mid range, with little bass response, and the higher registers often sounded clashed and tinny. That said, vocals were quite good on this system and could be pushed to fairly high volume levels. Although primarily for iPod listening we found the speakers sounded the best when listening to the radio.

The radio was generally a chore to use, not including any presets to save channel settings. Furthermore, its buttons are awkwardly placed along the bottom of the unit, making it difficult to do basic things like change frequency. Cygnett could have avoided this issue by simply allowing the large volume knob to double as a scroll wheel, but sadly this is not the case.

The other main feature of the unit is the alarm clock, which can be set to play either from your iPod, from the radio or from a number of pre-programmed jingles. If an iPod is connected, the alarm clock will activate that, but if it is not, then the radio is next in line. If the radio is also switched off, then the rather annoying pre-programmed jingles will wake you. Included in the system is a remote control which is handy for adjusting the volume or skipping forward a track. However to browse through our iPod database, we found it was much quicker and easier just to use the iPod controls. The unit houses a number of inputs and outputs including video and subwoofer outs, as well as an auxiliary input jack and USB connection.

There were a number of minor things that detracted from the effectiveness of this unit, such as the time only being displayed when the unit is off, and the volume resetting to a pre-programmed level every time the unit is powered down. The instruction manual is also a too succinct, giving little information on product functions.

This package may appeal to consumers as it combines a radio, alarm clock and iPod speaker system into an affordable package. We feel the unit crams in many features for the price, but could have benefited from a simpler central menu system and better sound quality.

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