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Under Review: Philips clock radio/iPod dock a decent wake-up call

Philips’ DC200 clock radio/iPod dock combo is an affordable, compact option in the crowded market for devices of this type.

It’s not designed to operate as a genuine indoor sound system. Yet, considering the size and output of the double, two-way front stereo speakers, music quality is strong, clear and perfectly suitable for a small room.

It’s a rectangular box coloured white, with the design similar to many other clock radio/iPod dock products. The white body and black speaker grille are a sensible choice, given they’ll be complementing the look of your iPod.

At just under a kilo and dimensions of 80 x 20 x 80 mm, it won’t be hard to transport between rooms either.

The white backlight of the LCD display adds a touch of class to the overall look, but you’ll need to adjust the brightness if you don’t want to risk the constant bright glow keeping you awake.

The range of buttons makes the unit quite easy to use, without having to look at the instructions. There are twin, five-way navigation controls for tuning the FM radio, selecting songs on your iPod and setting the clock.

In addition, there are buttons for brightness control/repeating alarms, switching between music sources, a power button, alarm snooze button, time set and iPod menu button. The snooze button will turn your alarm off for 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

There are also two dedicated alarm buttons, which is useful if you need to wake up at different times on different days.

Most iPods are supported, including the iPod Touch, but if you’re using a Shuffle you’ll have to use the auxilliary-in port and cable. Aux-in can also be used to connect a CD player.

The 20 programmable pre-sets for the FM radio are a plus, as is the USB port, so you can play music from collections stored on a USB stick.

It would be nice to see controls such as bass adjustment and there is no remote, unlike higher-end units of this type.

Users can choose to wake up to a beeping tone, an FM radio station, an iPod track or Philip’s preloaded relaxation sounds or music, which includes bird song and breaking waves.

Overall, the $99 price tag will give you value for money in this case.