When you’re buying an iPod dock, it is with the intention of making life simpler, especially if it has additional functions such as an alarm clock and radio. The JBL On Time Micro fits into this description exactly, but it’s also a tad expensive.
The dome-shaped dock is pretty cool, and gives the On Stage Micro a Sci-Fi-ish look. Although it’s quite small in size, it does come across as a little bulky because of its rounded shape. It’s black and grey in colour, and has buttons with which you can control not only your iPod/ iPhone, but also the alarm clock and radio functionalities. It also has an easily accessible snooze button right in the centre, above which is a 2.2-inch display.
The features are quite standard, but the added alarm clock is what makes this product better than some others. The alarm function is quite handy as you can set different alarms for recurring schedules or even individual days so you can set it a little late for the weekend. And you can use the AM/FM Radio or even the iPod to wake you up. It also has a sleep function so you can listen to your favourite music while falling asleep as well as a snooze button.
The audio features are more or less the same as any dock, apart from the fact that you can carry it around after putting in three AAA cells. You can set your alarms, adjust radio presets and even browse through your iPod. But there’s also a remote, which has too many buttons and is rather complicated to use.
A feature I found redundant was the brightness and contrast settings for the LCD display, which is plain monochrome, as it is pretty bright and can be seen from even a distance of ten feet away.
The On Time Micro produces pretty good audio quality, but like almost all other small docks, the sound distorts at high volume, mostly in the lower frequencies. However, if you turn down the volume a little, you’ll find that it sounds good. And for a small dock like this, even the bass response is good at medium volume.
The AM/FM radio has ten presets, and catches signals well. The detachable (wired) antennae provided are standard and the dock has separate inputs for AM and FM.
Even though this dock carries the JBL brand name, at R9,990, it’s a little too expensive. It has an alarm clock with handy features, AM/ FM radio with presets and decent sound quality overall, but on the whole, is quite complicated to use. Besides, you can get plenty of other iPod docks with alarm systems that cost a lot less. If you’re bent upon buying an iPod dock with an alarm clock, check out the Logitech Express Plus.