At the end of last year, I reviewed the iH5 iPod Clock by iHome. I liked it well enough, but it left me wanting more. The latest iPod alarm clock to grace my night stand is XtremeMac’s Luna. If you’re wondering if the iH5 that was next to my bed before, has now been banished to my shelf of discarded gadgets, you’ll need to keep reading to find the answer.
From the size of the box that the Luna came packaged in, I thought this clock would be a lot larger than the iH5. Luckily this wasn’t the case. The clock has a 11.25 x 6.25 x 3.00 inch footprint.
AM antenna loop
2 AA batteries for settings backup
The Luna has an iPod style to it with White shiny plastic, chrome accents and a Black metal speaker grill that wraps around all sides.
If you look down on the top of the device, you will notice how simple and clean the design is. The top surface is White with a round chrome knob or button in each corner. An iPod docking cradle is sunk into the front. The Luna doesn’t come with any special sizing adapters to use with all the various iPod models. That said, I had no problems using this clock with my iPod nanos and regular full sized iPod Video.
The back two chrome disks are push buttons that activate and deactivate the two individual alarms that can be set with this clock. A simple press will toggle them on and off. Holding the buttons down for several seconds will take you into the time set mode for the alarms. At that point you then use the front knobs which rotate to set times and scroll through various setting options.
The Left front knob controls volume by turning it clockwise or counter clockwise. Pressing the button will toggle between the different audio sources (iPod, FM radio, AM radio and Aux). Turning the Right knob will control the display dimmer, which goes from completely off to bright (White on Black). Pressing the knob takes you into the menu system and holding it down for a few seconds will activate the sleep timer, which can be set from 1 to 90 minutes. I enjoy this feature because I like to fall asleep to relaxing music. It’s easy to adjust the sleep timer after it has been activated by spinning the wheel or using the included IR remote.
If you look on the back side of the Luna, you’ll see a panel with various connection points for the included AM and FM radio antennas, AC adapter and an Aux line in.
On the bottom of the clock you’ll find a backup battery compartment for the included 2 AA batteries. These batteries keep the time and date if the power should go off.
The mono display on the front of the Luna is a nice size and is easy to read. It is through this display that you will make all the various settings for the alarms. The folks at XtremeMac must have been really confident when they created the menu system, because this clock does not come with a manual or user guide. All it does come with is a card that tells the function of each of the 4 chrome knobs. I’ve never been one to read a product manual anyway, so let’s explore the menu system…
By default, the display will be in Time / Date mode as shown above. If you have one or both of the alarms activated, the alarm time will be displayed along the bottom of the screen. As you can see here, Alarm 2 is set to go off at 5:47pm.
If you press the Right button, you’ll be taken into the menu system. From here, you can set one or both alarms, change various clock settings, radio settings and sleep settings. The Luna has two alarms that can be set independently with different times, different alarm sounds, and volume levels.
You can set the alarms to wake to the iPod, Radio, Buzzing, Beeping, or Ringing sounds. No matter which one you choose, you can then set the max volume level that the alarm will have and the ramp time it will take to reach that level. So for example, if you set the max volume to be 10 and the ramp time to be 30 seconds, the alarm will go off and music will quickly become very loud.
If you want to be awakened by the radio, you can set the channel through this interface. There are 4 presets that you can configure as well.
The Luna has quite a few customizable settings that make it a really nice alarm clock. Through my testing, I only noticed a few oddities. The first one I noticed is that if you set both alarms for the same exact time, it’s a toss up as to which alarm will fire. Only one will.
Another thing I noticed is that by default all the sound based alarms are set to Buzz if you set the alarms by holding and pressing the upper buttons. If you want them to be set to Beep or Ring, you have to go into the Alarm menu and change them there.
It would also be nice if you could specify a playlist, album, artist or song to play as an alarm. As it is, whatever music was playing last will be the music that plays if you have the iPod selected as the wake-to sound. This is probably my biggest and pretty much only gripe with this alarm clock.
In addition to being a nice alarm clock, the Luna also doubles as a nice speaker system for your iPod (or any other audio device using the Aux in jack). It has great sound for a small system and with the handy IR remote, you can lay in bed, or sit on the couch and control playback of your music.
$150 is a bit pricey for an alarm clock, but so far, this one is the best iPod alarm clock that I’ve had the opportunity to test. I just hope the next version allows the option of picking songs or playlists to use as alarms. That feature would make the Luna close to perfect.