Coming from importers Firebox, the people who also bring us fun items such as the Retro Telephone, the Candy Grabber, and the Evel Knievel Stunt Set, we have another chunky unit in the classic alarm clock mould.
We liked this one immediately - it’s big and round and no nonsense - like somebody drew an alarm clock, but skimped on the pesky details. Our tester came in white, but it’s also available in black and consciousness-expanding pink.
Rather than scary eyes, as provided on the GrooveToons, the Firebox features two fake ‘bells’, which are in fact the speakers. The large opening in the front will accommodate most types of iPod, from nano to 80GB classic (no shuffles, please), and uses a sliding dock connector in conjunction with an adjustable backing plate - turn the large dial to select your iPod, and the plate moves backwards or forwards to ensure the iPod is held comfortably in place.
We hooked up an 80GB iPod, and found the backing plate made for a cosy fit. This ‘clock’ looks neat with the large form factor iPod video installed, but may look less tidy with a smaller iPod sitting in that large cavity.
The inevitable snooze button lurks on top, and on the reverse we find the mains power socket (mains adaptor supplied), and a lovely large chrome effect volume knob - shame it’s hidden at the back, really. The volume knob does double duty as a push-button to restore the iPod’s display to the clock screen. Set up is broadly identical to the GrooveToons mentioned previously - with a few helpful beeps to guide us along the way. Once again, a nine-minute snooze is available.
The sound was impressive - the 2x 3W pseudo-bell speakers work a treat, and this unit has a much wider range, especially in the lower end, than the GrooveToons. It’s not earth shatteringly loud, but the Firebox is easily loud enough to serve as the sole sound source for a smallish room. It’s a shame this one doesn’t have a line in, enabling other audio products to benefit from the neat little speakers.
The Retro iPod Alarm Clock has chunky visual appeal, simple setup, superior sound quality for the size (thanks to those bell speakers), and is adaptable to fit most iPods. It has a nice big volume knob on back. Functions are limited range of functions, and there's only one alarm, but this no-frills design is part of its charm.