JBL On Time

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JBL On Time
  • JBL On Time
  • JBL On Time
  • JBL On Time
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Great design, balanced sound, charges your iPod, can be powered by batteries


  • No remote, no bass or treble adjustment

Bottom Line

The On Time combines good sound quality with an excellent design and ease of use, but lacks a few features that we have come to expect at this price.

Would you buy this?

If you are looking for an alarm clock and iPod speaker package that really stands out from the crowd, then the JBL On Time may be for you. Outstanding design and good sound quality make this an attractive package, although we would have liked a remote in the package as well as bass and treble adjustments.

Aptly labelled a "time machine for your iPod", the JBL On Time certainly looks like it may well have been sent back to us from the future. Available in black or white, the On Time comes in a unique dome design, with the iPod and clock sitting on the base, encircled above by the speaker. In the package, JBL has included a number of dock brackets allowing any version of iPod, except for the shuffle, to fit snugly into the base. The unit also houses an auxiliary input jack for other music players, as well as a subwoofer jack.

JBL has produced a simple menu display coupled with large back-lit buttons, making the dock very easy to use. The two alarm clocks can be set to trigger daily, on weekdays, or only on weekends, with the ability to select either the iPod or radio to wake up to. No longer will you have the problem of trying to find the snooze button on an alarm clock with your eyes closed either, as JBL has integrated a huge button into the top of the metal speaker grille.

On initial start-up the On Time allows manual or automatic clock setting, with the automatic mode finding a radio station that transmits the time and setting it accordingly. The feature worked well, finding the time in around 20 seconds.

The radio contains five presets in AM and FM mode and switching between the radio and iPod is simple, thanks to the central menu. Our only frustration was that the iPod began at the very first track in our library each time we switched between the two, not simply beginning where it last left off, as the iPod would normally do.

While aesthetically pleasing, the dome design means that directional qualities of the speaker are compromised to an extent. Although the system sounds good when you're a little further away, we found the downfall came when you are sitting directly in front of the player, which may be the case if using this as a bed side alarm clock.

The sound, however, was clear and crisp, and well above the standard of many portable speaker systems on the market. The vocal reproduction was excellent, with good separation of instruments in the middle and upper ranges. If we had to pick a weakness it would be the slight lack of low mid to bass response, but on a speaker of this size that is to be expected.

The unit can run off batteries if required, but does not include a remote control, which we felt should be included in a package at this price. Another feature we would like to have seen is bass and treble adjustment settings.

The On Time is an alarm and iPod speaker system with a unique design and great sound quality. If you want a device that stands out from the crowd, and don't require the convenience of a remote control, this is for you.

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