Amid the vast amounts of internet radios & MP3 speakers, there is the Aluratek AIRMM02F Internet Radio with its built-in alarm clock, and built-in wifi. This product certainly falls into the lower echelon in compared to what many other alarm clock combos offer. It has a nice slim appearance, and a pretty decent sound quality.
The Aluratek Internet Radio can connect to 11,000 stations in over 150 countries around the world. It does this through your wifi or ethernet connection and without any monthly fees involved. Sound similar to internet radio on iTunes? Well, that’s because it is. Only iTunes doesn’t send you through the hoops that this thing does. To navigate the mono toned colored digital LED menu, you have to use a mixture of two nobs, and two buttons. You can imagine how annoying this makes typing in your passwords. It does come with a remote control that allows you to type in the password- the way you type on a cell phone (pre-iPhone of course), using the letter/number pad. However, even with the remote, navigating the system is convoluted at best.
At least the time and date automatically sets on the system, except for me it messed up the time. The AIRMM02F also has an FM antenna so that you can wake up to your local stations. Once you get the hang of it, it isn’t too bad to set up your favorite stations, just plan a good chunk of time to get it set up. And once you wind through all the menu options, the station itself takes about 20 seconds to load and runs without interruption.
As far as using it for alarm clock purposes, even that I found perturbing. The set up process was frustrating, as are most alarm clocks. It does not give you an AM/PM option, so you are going off of 24 hour time. Then you can select a sound to wake up to, be it internet radio, local radio, an mp3, or the classic buzzer. And if you need to make an edit, you have to go through the whole process again. To add to it, the snooze button is not clearly explained, so at a guess I just smacked the nob and it turned off. The other option is finding the remote control “stop” button, but who wants to do that at 6AM?
Fortunately, the music clarity of the Aluratek Internet Radio is decent if you are planning on using it in your immediate radius or in a room. For such a small item it sounds very clear and nice. Just don’t plan on using it to hear throughout the house though. It will sound washed out and without bass. To solve that problem you can hook it up to your sound system using the sound out RCA plugs. But then the quandry remains, why not use iTunes free radio service and just hook up your laptop? It you happen to have an mp3 player with a USB cable, or a USB flash drive with MP3 files on it, you can plug it in directly to the radio and play its music files through the system. There is no dedicated dock for an iPod to be plugged in except if you want to connect it through a 3.5mm jack, so that is going to isolate a lot of users.
Unfortunately, the Aluratek Internet Radio AIRMM02F feels like an over-glorified alarm clock that costs near $100, which personally, I find unacceptable. There is just no way to justify the cost in comparison with other products out there that offer a far easier user experience and better technology. We’d like to see a better price tag on this system in order to justify its purchase more.
The Good: It has a remote control, decent sound, stations are rarely interrupted
The Bad: Digital LED screen, difficult to use, a bit pricey, must be plugged in to work.