Altec Lansing's $129 Moondance Glow is a music player first and an iPod clock radio second. While it fumbles a bit with the latter function, this nightstand device more than meets the former by offering good sound quality, an original and interesting design, and relatively easy-to-use functions.
The 12.2 x 5.3 x 3.1-inch Moondance Glow is black with silver accents, and has two 3-inch speakers on either side of a slide-out iPod dock. The speakers are covered by a metallic mesh grille, yet remain visible. A small LCD screen sits just above the right speaker and displays the time (albeit in very small letters), the current track, and the status of both alarms. On the very top of the unit are 12 touch controls, including Source, Snooze, and dual-alarm settings.
While the pop-out iPod dock feels a bit flimsy, it stays conveniently hidden when not in use. The Moondance Glow comes equipped with two remotes, one of which is small and prism-like, making it easy to control your alarm and play/pause functions without even getting out of bed.
The alarm controls can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, they're a breeze to use. Simply hold down the Alarm 1 or Alarm 2 button for three seconds, and a menu will pop up letting you choose which days the alarm goes off, how long the snooze time is, as well as wake-up volume with iPod, radio, or standard alarm.
The overall sound of the Moondance Glow's speakers is decent, although they are a bit tinny at very loud volumes. The melodious and beat-heavy opening of Snow Patrol's "Chocolate" comes through well, though again, it is a bit muffled at high volumes. The speakers remain clear and smooth at the mid-level volumes we used for waking up. Syncing with even an older iPod nano is simple, but unfortunately, the Moondance Glow isn't iPhone certified, so it must be in Airplane mode while docked.
Setting the Mood
The Moondance Glow's namesake comes from a multicolor lighting effect incorporated into the back of the system. Just hold down the Mood button, and you can switch among several options to light up your wall for a soothing late-night effect. The myriad colors include Passion Red, Pacific Sun, and Aquamarine.
In the $129 Moondance Glow, Altec Lansing offers up an interesting take on an iPod alarm clock. The Moondance Glow's ease of use could be improved somewhat, but its fun extras--such as its ambient lighting--put it above competitors such as the iLuv iMM173. Add to that good sound quality and an interesting design, and the Moondance Glow makes for a decent choice.