Digital radio alarm clocks have been for many years a pretty standard shape and size, with the same old display and scarily loud wake up noise. Today they have been enhanced by implementing a dock that allows you to attach your iPod or iPhone and benefit from the vast selection of wake up noises, music selections and an impressive display.
The Edifier Tick Tock Dock features these aspects while actually mimicking the classic looks of traditional alarm clocks from decades gone by.
So let’s take a closer look…
At first glance the Edifier Tick Tock Dock resembles something that belongs well and truly in the past due to its shape. What lies beneath this classical design though are a multitude of features that bring the device bang up-to-date due to the fact you can connect your multimedia capable Apple device.
On the top looking like a couple of old fashioned alarm clock bells actually reside the two speakers. The front a fairly small round display showing the time and other important information and around the rear are where all the mass of buttons are situated.
Right at the back are buttons for Mode, Set, Up, Down and two inputs – one for power and another for AUX IN. AUX IN allows you to connect any device that has a small headphone output including most phones and MP3 players if you don’t own an Apple iPod or iPhone. Another couple of buttons for ‘Function’ and ‘Input’ sit above these and finally another assortment for adjusting volume and track selection.
Design wise you will either adore the traditional looks or despise them. Compared to other docks I have owned and viewed, the Edifier has a less prominent ‘in your face’ perception – instead focusing on a more comfortable and actually more pleasing item to have sitting by your bedside. It’s a subtle look that will happily replace your existing unit without standing out like a sore thumb and looks dare I say quite cute.
- Total power output: RMS 4.5W x 2
- Audio input type: iPod, iPhone, auxiliary, FM radio (87MHz to 108MHz frequency coverage for CN/US/AU regions & 76MHz to 91MHz for JP)
- Dock compatible with: iPod Nano 5th/6th generation, iPod Touch 3rd/4th generation, iPhone 3GS/4/4S
- Adjustment: Power, volume, input, mode, track navigation, play/pause, set
- Full range speaker unit: 11.2 inch (40mm), magnetically shielded
- Dimension: 130mm x 126mm x 89mm (WxHxD)
- Color option: Black, white, beige
So let’s start with the most basic feature and that is of course the clock display. It’s perfectly clear, without being disruptive to your sleep and will show information that is relevant to the function you have currently selected. For the standard clock function, a 12 or 24 hour display can be selected with the hour and minute filling the majority of the screen in the center. Seconds are also displayed much smaller above this area while the day is shown as an attractive abbreviated block below the time. The very top of the screen displays the function in use, be it FM (Radio), iPod or AUX (external input).
The built-in alarm can store 5 waking up time settings, allowing you to set-up various work days and much more pleasant lay-ins without manually configuring the unit from scratch on each occasion. You can either be woken up by the FM radio station of your choice or by your iPod/iPhone. You need not use the built-in alarm at all and instead you could use your favourite iPod app to do the honours while your Apple device charges overnight connected to the dock.
Unfortunately, the placement of the buttons for configuring the time, date and alarms are quite frankly a pain to use. First of all you need to locate the correct button from the mass of options, once you have passed this step you then need to turn the unit around to reveal the display. Using your memory and a lot of dexterity, you fiddle with the settings until you finally hit the desired combination that achieves the result you are after. This is far from ideal and I feel looks have taken precedent completely over function, certainly when it comes to altering the settings.
The real magic though is when you connect your Apple device. By pivoting an otherwise hidden docking station below the clock display, a traditional Apple connector reveals itself, allowing you to place your iPhone or iPod on the Edifier Tick Tock Dock. This blocks the display of your Edifier unit, but this is replaced by your far more impressive Apple screen. You can either control the music playback using the controls on top of the Edifier Tick Tock Dock or use the iPod/iPhone itself. No matter which method you choose, the Edifier is transformed into a more capable product and your incredibly small internal Apple speaker replaced by more generously sized stereo speakers.
Of course, in the end it comes down to mainly sound quality and here the Edifier does well. Although the speakers protruding from the top look small in size, don’t let this fool you into thinking you will only achieve a very tinny sound production. In fact, the Tick Tock Dock packs a fair amount of bass punch for such a small unit. With all types of musical content thrown at it, the unit reproduced the sounds adequately well with just enough bass showing for you to identify those key deep moments. It certainly won’t compete with a fully fledged sound system and of course it isn’t meant to, but that doesn’t mean a good amount of volume and detail can’t be achieved. The main downside is that the speakers are so close together, you will find it near impossible to detect any stereo separation – yet this is forgotten with the improvement in sound quality and volume capabilities.
The sound quality is certainly a step up from the internal speaker found within an Apple device with the hint of deep tones creeping through and a loud clear reproduction, but the unit is let down considerably by fiddly controls that hide around the back for setting the time, date and more importantly alarm times.
Features I loved:
- Classic design
- Good sound quality
- iPod/iPhone dock connection
Features that lacked a little:
- Fiddly button placement