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Wake up to your iPod music with either the iLuv i199...
...or the XtremeMac Luna.
The iPod has become more than just a music player: With systems such as iLuv's i199 and XtremeMac's Luna, the iPod becomes the heart of home entertainment. And the i199 and Luna both let you get the most from your iPod.
iLuv i199. Though it looks like a digital alarm clock, the iLuv i199 is actually a shelf-sized media player (it measures 15.5 by 4.8 by 9.375 inches). It's a CD/MP3 CD player, AM/FM radio, and it also has an AV-out port so you can connect it to a TV for playing iPod videos - kudos to iLuv for including an AV cable. It has a USB port and can play MP3 or WMA files on a USB flash drive. You can use the auxiliary-in jack to connect other audio devices too.
Bluetooth support via iLuv's BluePin transmitter/receiver makes the i199 even more versatile. Paired with Bluetooth headphones, you can listen to the i199's audio discreetly. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone, you can easily transmit songs wirelessly from the phone to the i199. The BluePin uses Bluetooth 1.2, has a range of about 25 feet, and maintained a connection while we wandered into an adjoining room.
The i199 produced warm sounds that are great for rock, pop, and hip-hop. Its bass response is heavy without distortion. The i199 faltered a bit on the high notes, though. Classical pieces sounded clipped, and midrange and low notes often drowned out the high tones. This exposes one major missing feature from the i199: treble and bass controls that would allow for fine-tuning.
Luna. The Luna is designed from the get-go to be an alarm clock. At 11.3 by 6.5 by 3 inches, it won't crowd your nightstand. It also has an AM/FM digital radio receiver, two alarm clock settings, and a line-in port.
Four large, shiny control buttons grace the top of the Luna - kudos to XtremeMac for coming up with a control panel design that is both useful and eye-catching. The Luna uses iPod-like menus that appear on its LCD screen (at some angles, the glare off the clear plastic that covers the LCD makes it hard to read the display). The front right button lets you breeze through the menus, similar in action to the iPod's clickwheel. The front left button controls volume, snooze, and the audio source, while the two rear button control the alarms.
The Luna's pair of drivers are loud enough to fill a medium-sized bedroom, and they produce clear, warm sound that focuses on the midrange. It doesn't produce thumping bass, nor does it create high-range notes that'll widen your eyes. Fortunately, the include remote has bass and treble adjustment controls, so you can tweak the audio to your liking.
The bottom line. The i199 is a great solution as a mini stereo for an office, bedroom, small living room, or kitchen. If you're just looking for a way to wake up to your iPod music, you can't go wrong with the Luna.
REQUIREMENTS: 4G iPod or later, iPod nano, or iPod mini
Can transmit songs from mobile phones via Bluetooth. CD player. Can play MP3s on a USB flash drive.
No bass or treble controls. Weak high notes.
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REQUIREMENTS: 4G iPod or later, iPod nano, iPod mini
Small footprint. Nice design. Great controls.
No radio-station autoscan. Infrared remote requires line of sight.