Sporting a white, cubic design complete with a
monochrome LCD display, TDK's aptly named iCUBIC offers a reasonable
solution for people who want to wake up to something other than a
generic radio. Combining an iPod dock with alarm clock functionality and
a remote control, the iCUBIC is a fairly multipurpose device, however
the audio quality leaves a little to be desired.
this unit performs as you'd expect. IPod support is of course a given,
and is a simple matter of plugging your player into the dock on the top
of the unit and switching the playback mode. An FM receiver is also
included complete with station presets as well as a line-in, allowing a
non-Apple MP3 player to be connected. Any of these options can be used
as the alarm when the clock function is operating, as well as for
regular play back.
Configuring the clock and
alarm times is a little fiddly as you need the remote to do at least
part of it (several buttons are present here that aren't on the unit
itself). Nonetheless, you should only have to do this a handful of times
so it isn't really an issue. The remote itself is extremely handy,
allowing full navigation of the iPod menu instead of just offering basic
play back controls like pause and track skip. It is extremely
responsive and easy to use.
Repeat play and
equaliser presets are both included and you'll most definitely need the
latter as the default sound leaves quite a bit to be desired. At low
volumes everything sounds reasonably good although a little flat at
times. When we cranked it up slightly higher, however, we encountered
quite a bit of distortion, particularly in the bass notes.
overall sound is quite bright, with harsh, tinny highs and an overall
lack of bass. The mid range is relatively good with a decent amount of
detail and clarity, but nonetheless it isn't enough to make up for the
hollow sounding bass. The equaliser presets went some way towards
correcting this, particularly the 'rock' option, which gave much more
weighting to the low register notes. That said, you should keep in mind
that the iCUBIC is only an alarm clock. It isn't designed to be an
audiophile level device.
iCUBIC is fairly stylish. It comes in a glossy iPod white colour scheme,
which is quite ironic considering the iPod's shift to black and silver.
The buttons are scattered along the top around the LCD and don't
detract from the overall look. One complaint we do have is the snooze
button. It is rather small and not particularly well positioned. At the
time most people use the snooze button, precision is the last thing on
their minds, and thus we feel it should be a lot bigger and more