When I was a kid, there was nothing I wanted more than an alarm clock radio. I eventually got one years later, finding one of those old flip clocks at a yard sale while I was at university. It eventually broke when I took it apart to see how it worked, and I’ve been without one ever since… until today!
This alarm clock radio from Aukey is much more advanced, with Bluetooth streaming, 40 FM radio presets, USB charging and a classic red-on-black LCD display. It retails for £34 or $50, and we’ve got one in to review today. Let’s get started!
- All-in-one clock radio and Bluetooth speaker
- Alarm gradually ascends in volume
- Snooze button
- Two 3W drivers with passive radiator
- Stream music via Bluetooth
- Save up to 40 FM radio stations
- Supersized LCD display with 4-level brightness and screen off
- Programmable auto-off sleep timer
- Built-in battery enables portable use as radio / speaker
- Charge your phone or other devices with USB port
- Contains: clock radio, Micro USB cable, 3.5mm cable, manual
|Technology||Bluetooth 2.1, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP|
|Audio Output Power||2 x 3W|
|Audio Frequency Range||80Hz – 20KHz|
|Input||DC 5V 1A|
|USB Output||DC 5V 1A|
|Charging time||4 hours|
|Battery life||7+ hours at 50% volume|
|Dimensions||145 x 97 x 96mm / 5.7” x 3.81” x 3.78”|
|Weight||600 grams / 21.16 ounces|
The clock radio has a simple look at first glance, with few differences from traditional clock radios. There’s a big LCD display in the classic red-on-black colour scheme, two dials on the top and some buttons also.
The overall presentation is very good; the display is highly readable and the symmetrical layout appeals.
It’s only when you get closer you can see some of this machine’s complexity. There are a bunch of buttons and functions on the top of the model: two dials for adjusting the volume and the alarm time or radio frequency, plus buttons for activating the sleep mode, setting the time and changing modes between Bluetooth and FM.
There are the standard three playback controls: previous, play/pause and next. In Bluetooth mode these work as expected, while in FM mode you can turn off the radio and skip between your saved presets.
Finally, there is a snooze button which also adjusts between the four brightness levels; just above this button you can see the built-in microphone that allows you to take hands-free calls.
On the back of the clock radio, we have the Micro USB input that powers the radio, plus a full-size USB port which can charge a phone or similar device. Finally, there’s a 3.5mm input which allows you to connect non-Bluetooth devices and play them through the clock’s speakers.
The display is easy to read, with numbers dominating the screen. Small indicators show AM or PM, whether or not an alarm is set, whether Bluetooth is on and other functions. The time is replaced by radio frequency, volume levels and other information when appropriate.
The speakers point to the left and right, giving some stereo separation.
Overall, the design is sensible and the build quality is robust. Despite being made from plastic, there was little give or flex evident anywhere, allowing the clock speaker to be used on the go as a Bluetooth speaker or to remain happily on your bedside table.
In our testing, we sought to see how intuitive the radio was by trying to use each of its features without reading the manual beforehand. Setting the time, scanning and saving radio stations, activating Bluetooth mode and using the playback controls all functioned as expected.
Activating the alarm was also simple, just a tap on the alarm dial, but setting the alarm time was difficult. Even after reading the manual, I couldn’t get this to work. Eventually, I realised that you need to press ‘set’ before activating the alarm and holding down the alarm button for two seconds. This first step isn’t mentioned in the instructions, which is a shame. Once you reach this phase, you can set the alarm to occur as a one-off or each day, which is nice, and you can choose between ‘AL0’ (an alarm tone) or ‘AL2’ (the radio). I wonder what happened to ‘AL1’?
The only other problem we faced also concerned the alarm. The Amazon product page promises that the clock radio will gradually ascend in volume, but in our testing that didn’t occur — we went from lying in bed asleep to scrambling to turn off the massively noisy radio in a heartbeat. This may be due to an insufficient number of volume levels; even the quietest setting is fairly loud, and the level below this is ‘off’. If the speaker were more distant, this might solve the problem, but then you’d have a hard time making it to the speaker to turn it off. C’est la vie. In the end, we shifted to having the clock make an alarm tone instead and that was sufficient.
Otherwise, the speaker worked well in all situations. The sound quality was reasonable at low to medium volume levels, and FM reception seemed okay despite the lack of an external aerial. Of course Bluetooth and local playback (or internet streaming) will provide better sound quality, but it’s still nice to have FM as an option. The clock display was easy to read even without spectacles on, and the snooze button was readily accessible when getting up.
Being Micro USB powered is quite handy, as it means that you can use it with a multi-port USB charging hub and therefore not take up another plug socket. The USB charging port means that you don’t even lose out on a charging space, although you don’t get the benefit of fast charging on the clock radio.
In general, we are happy with the Aukey Alarm Clock Radio’s performance. You get quite a lot of functionality for the price, and apart from the radio wake-up incident, this device seems well designed. Ultimately, we’re happy to give the Aukey Alarm Clock Radio our recommendation.
You can find the Aukey Alarm Clock Radio on Amazon below.
☆ Stylish retro design with striking LCD
☆ Modern functionality: Bluetooth, USB charging, 3.5mm input
☆ FM radio works well
☆ Well built and good value
☆ The lowest volume setting is still quite loud, causing alarm issues
☆ Some settings are counter-intuitive
☆ Where is 'AL1'?