Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Aluratek's Internet Radio Alarm Clock with Built-in WiFi Review

I've tried Aluratek's Internet Radio Alarm Clock with Built-in WiFi for a few weeks and here are my thoughts regarding this product.

Even though I've experienced a few bugs with this product, overall, I like it. However, I consider it to be somewhat expensive with a suggested retail price of $160+taxes+shipping (USD) when it isn't on sale and would probably not spend that much for what amounts to a fancy FM radio alarm clock with built in WiFi.

The internet radio stations are organized relatively well. They are organized by country or genre. My only negative comment is that sometimes the genre is not correct. For example, CJAD (a Montreal news talk AM station) is in the "news" genre and not the "news talk" genre. There are some other "mistakes" for example, I went through the "business" genre because I wanted to listen to some business news/stations and there were a few stations that sounded like regular news stations.

There are lots of internet radio stations listed in the menu. Some of them weren't playable. According the manual or the company's FAQ, this is probably because too many users are currently listening to that internet radio station.

The first thing that I did when I plugged in the internet radio was to update the firmware since it wasn't able to connect to my Linksys router for some reason. After updating the firmware for the internet radio, I was able to connect seamlessly.

The time can be manually set or it can be automatically set via NTP. I've noticed an occasional problem with the date and time. The problem is that sometimes it would randomly change to a totally random date/time. When I first started using the internet radio, this happened when I accessed the menu either via the remote control or by using the buttons on the radio itself. After contacting technical support and updating the firmware, the date/time didn't randomly change after I made a few menu selections using the remote control or the buttons on the top of the radio. However, I still have a problem with the day/time changing to a random date/time sometimes when the alarm goes on and I press the snooze. This problem doesn't happen all the time when I press the snooze or stop button but it does happen occasionally. Aluratek's technical support department has been helpful but my problem with the date/time randomly changing after pressing the stop/snooze button when my alarm goes on still happens occasionally. I haven't investigated whether this is because the time is set to synchronize with a NTP server and/or whether I'm using WiFi. Because of this bug/problem, I don't recommend using it as an alarm clock unless you're one of the people who never press the snooze button when the alarm goes on.

The unit does not have a battery backup but it will remember certain settings during a power failure. When the power is returned, if the clock is set to synchronize with the NTP server, the date/time will be correct.

One of the things that I like about this internet clock radio is that it has WiFi and it also has a LAN connection. Using the LAN connection, the internet clock radio can also double as a network access point for some of your other wireless devices. I haven't investigated this option since I am able to access the WiFi signal almost anywhere in my place so there is little need for me to use the internet clock radio as an access point.

The internet clock radio has a USB port which is used to update the firmware. The internet clock radio can also play MP3 files off a USB device (hard drive or USB memory stick) plugged into the USB port.

One of the features I like a lot about the Aluratek's internet radio alarm clock is that it can access a PC that is configured as a media server or a non-PC media server and play the MP3 files from a media server which is connected to the same internal network. I have a collection of MP3 audio files on my PC and I'm able to listen to the MP3 files on my internet radio clock in my bedroom.

The unit's display is somewhat bright and it cannot be dimmed. The display can only be turned on or off. There is also a preset so that it can always stay on or it can stay on for up to 30 minutes after the last command/button is pressed either on top of the radio or on the remote control.

If you have any questions/comments regarding my review on Aluratek's Internet Radio Alarm Clock with Built-in WiFi, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

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