Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Wake to your iPod tunes.
- Design, build quality, auxiliary input, LCD screen, ease of use
- Limited remote control, below-average sound, lack of bass and treble controls
Despite the issues with sound quality there is a little to complain about at this price. The AJ301D is a capable hybrid alarm clock and iPod dock.
Price$ 139.95 (AUD)
A successor to the AJ300D, Philips' latest alarm clock cum iPod dock largely retains a similar design. Although there aren’t too many new features, it remains a reasonable bedside companion.
The AJ301D looks quite like a kitchen appliance, largely thanks to the gloss white and silver colour scheme. Its build quality feels solid, though, and the unit will sit nicely on most bedside tables. It’s a little larger than a regular alarm clock, so be warned if you are trying to skimp on space.
With the extra size comes a large LCD screen. You can conveniently dim or turn off the backlight when the unit is in standby mode by pressing the snooze button. Buttons for power and time set, as well as an audio selector switch, are located on the left side. The right side has five preset buttons for the FM radio. A large snooze button sits on top, in between two alarm buttons. Conveniently, the time and date will remain set for up to 10 minutes in the event of a blackout — up from its predecessor's five minutes.
The AJ301D supports any iPods with a dock connector thanks to the use of dock inserts. There is no insert included for the iPhone 3G, but it is still compatible and worked fine during testing. Philips also includes a rear-mounted auxiliary input and standard audio cable in the sales package. This means you can use the AJ301D with any device that has a standard 3.5mm audio jack (though you won't be able to use this in tandem with the alarm feature).
Being a clock radio, the AD301D also has an FM radio feature with five presets, but there is no AM radio. There are two alarms on the unit, and you can choose to be woken with music from your iPod, the radio or a standard alarm buzzer. Changing this method is as easy as flicking the switch located on the left side of the unit.
Sound quality is passable for a unit this size, though obviously far from outstanding. At lower volume levels the AJ301D performs well enough, but it suffers from notable distortion at higher volume levels. Philips says it uses wOOx bass technology — a small subwoofer is built into the rear of the unit. It doesn’t do that great a job, however, with the overall sound feeling tinny and harsh; instrumental separation is mediocre. A particular annoyance is the lack of basic bass and treble controls, meaning you’ll need to rely on your iPod’s equaliser.
Unfortunately, navigation with the included remote is limited. You can adjust volume, skip tracks and pause/play tracks but you can't browse through playlists or adjust any iPod settings without using the iPod itself.
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