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Altec Lansing Moondance HOME iPod Dock
The clock radio is an age old item from the woodworks of electronic devices, something that has stood the moody test of time, and now recently adapted itself to a clock iPod dock. Everything eventually will support iPods, even toasters (I think some already do), so its only natural for us to cover a nice little iPod dock cum clock by none other than the familiar Altec Lansing. Some of their products have received very good reviews by us, so let’s see how good this Moondance HOME iPod dock, M302 turns out to be...
Designed very much like a table clock, this one sports a huge LED screen with extremely clear and readable alphanumeric display. As you feed in the DC power, via an included adapter, the clock glows on and stays on even on standby. The brightness is more than enough, to see the time in the night. The body is light and not so large. One can easily lift it with one hand and toss it around. That’s good as alarms by their virtue need to be tossed. It obviously is not recommended in this case though, as the build quality will not allow it. Having said that, It is strong enough to take a few blows though, like falling of the bedside table once or twice will not break the dock. The body is trapezoidal in front view with smoothly curved sides.
There are no hard corners in the elevation. The top and bottom faces are flat and well finished, with nice black push buttons arranged on the top panel. In the center of this arrangement of buttons is the connecting port, a bare one right out of the box. But just like all docks, there is an included small packet of plastic seats for different iPod types, which need to be slid onto the port to ensure a tight fit between your iPod model and the dock. The front panel has two hidden speakers behind the cloth grille, seamlessly fixed on. The back panel is bare with only 3 connectors at the bottom, one for included FM antennae, one auxiliary audio input (for another non iPod, MP3 player) and power in. The unit comes with a slim black remote.
Features and Specs
This unit has all the requirements of a modern alarm clock, and also supports FM, so you can choose to wake up to your own playlist tracks, or to cackling of an RJ. There are 2 alarms available to be set, and of course snoozing is supported, which stops the music. A brisk read through the manual is required to fully get the processes of setting alarm, storing FM frequencies, select alarm days etc. It’s not that hard though. Typical Digital interface operations are required - like pressing the alarm button for 3 seconds sets it into alarm mode.
Now the important part. It does not play iPhones, and even though it mentioned iPod touch, our unit did not play it. We have the 2nd generation model. Check pic for complete list of supported models. The speakers are 2-inch full range drivers. The max power rating is not given, but on hearing it we would be able to make an assumption.
We plugged in the system and connected a classic iPod to it. The first thing to notice is that the sound is boxed in, something we had expected. It is a small form factor, with only 2 inch drivers, so expecting huge sound will not be viable. The loudness though is more than satisfactory. It is not thumping enough to hold a party in your room, but perfect for an alarm, or for personal listening. The sound power is satisfactory for medium to small sized bedrooms, like about 200 square feet or less.
There is not much bass in the sound, it more of mid frequencies and highs. The highs also are not crystal clear and beautiful, but they do have enough sheen to impress. Mids are crisp and forward sounding. At max volume, I felt a trace of distortion - its audible if you look for it. This should not be.
The alarm tone itself is a squealing square wave style buzzing tone, it really does the job of waking one up, even the deep slumberers. FM reception is in fine fettle, no complaints there, as we tuned all our channels (in Mumbai) and preset them. There is one issue which I would like to address. The navigation is quite slow, cycling through input modes is unusually slow. The remote on the other hand responds well, there is no issue with that.
At a price of Rs. 5490, this unit is reasonable. The good thing is it has an aux input, so one can use this model as a music system for a PC also. The sound is loud, but there is not much bass and thump. Sound quality is a little better than average, but not spectacular. The alrm and clock functions are all cool, so someone actually looking for a table top clock radio can go for it but it's better not to be considered it as a serious music system.