Just in time for graduation season, Memorex has released its iWake Clock Radio for iPod in three new colors: purple, red, and blue. While audiophiles won't accept its tinny sound quality, its sleek design, fun color palette, and low cost will definitely appeal to college-bound students, and its loud alarm clock will be sure to get them up in time for class.
The iWake's Simple Design
When it originally debuted two years ago, the iWake was available in only black and white; its new, bright color options are available only at Target stores. Our test unit was purple with a white bezel and speakers and a metallic purple top, LCD, and accents. At 10 inches long and almost 5 inches deep, the iWake has a larger footprint than many alarm clocks.
What it lacks in compactness, though, the iWake makes up for with its minimalist design: It's rectangular with rounded edges, and its perforated speaker grille stretches along the front and sides. A large and bright LCD is built into the front; we recommend flipping the dimmer switch, unless you need a night-light. With the exception of a large, silver snooze button, all the controls are built into clock's bezel.
The bezel slopes inward, with a 30-pin connector at the center. It comes with five docking adapters for different sizes and generations of iPods. Although it's compatible with all iPods, it doesn't work with the iPhone. (For iPhone owners, Memorex will soon ship the iWake Up for $69.99.) We liked how secure our iPod felt when we stood it inside the cradle. The device comes with a tiny remote with volume and skip controls, and a power button.
Wake Up Call
The iWake comes with a dual-alarm feature, and users can wake up to a tune from their iPod, the radio, or a buzzer. Setting the alarm was easy; To wake up to your own music, simply select a song and then turn the iPod off. We found, though, that the alarm got too loud too quickly. When we set the iWake to play "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5, Michael's voice increased in volume every five seconds, and was uncomfortably loud after half a minute. We also wish it were possible to set alarms and the time without having to turn the music off.
Mediocre Sound Quality
While not as poor as most notebook speakers, the iWake's speakers delivered tinny sound and weak bass. It's acceptable for listening as you get ready in the morning, but you'll want to invest in a more robust set of speakers for when company comes over. The device lacks a seek button to automatically jumps to radio stations; listeners must tediously move up and down the AM/FM dial by clicking on the tuning arrows located on its bezel. The iWake also lacks station presets.
Memorex iWake Verdict
The Memorex iWake's multipurpose design and reasonable price will appeal to those won't have enough space--or cash--to deck out their dorm rooms with a larger iPod dock. But before you settle for the iWake's subpar speakers, consider theiHome iH5which costs $20 more but offers better sound. Nevertheless, some students might still prefer the iWake's more stylish design and varied color options.