gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

iLuv Vibe Plus Dual Alarm Clock Review

I’ve been getting up at ludicrous tines in the morning lately, working long days, coming home to the chaos of a kitchen fitting and finally hitting the hay far later than is healthy. I tell you this so that you fully appreciate just how effective and persistent an alarm clock has to be to raise me from such a state.

The Vibe Plus does the trick, with a combination of skull vibrating morning torture, completely barmy cuckoo clock alarm sounds and a sleep timer adjustable down to masochistic levels. Indeed it’s such a monster of a wake-me-up machine that I find myself drifting out of sleep before it even goes off, a subconscious desire to avoid the brunt of it’s dawn assault in action, if ever I experienced one.

The iLuv Vibe Plus has a variety of alarm options including the ability to schedule either of the two alarms for weekdays, weekends or both and the choice of waking to a variety of sounds from Radio, to a docked iPod/iPhone, to the barmy “buzzer” sounds and, of course, the namesake of the Vibe. The vibrator, sorry there’s really no other way to put it, does simply that. Using the same sort of technology you would expect to find in a mobile phone, only super-powered to head-shaking intensities, the vibrator vibrates you awake, usually before the alarm sounds even start ramping up.

Not one to miss a trick, iLuv have worked a speaker into the vibration unit, too, allowing for discrete nighttime music or podcast listening without the discomfort of headphones. Alas, like other products I’ve tried that attempt to solve the problems of using headphones or earphones in bed, it doesn’t exactly keep the sound personal. I would recommend it for people who either live alone or have partners who appreciate, for example, the comedic stylings of the Nobody Likes Onions podcast.

The beauty of the iLuv Vibe Plus, however, isn’t in it’s impressive feature set, but rather in its Apple-like attention to ease of use and ability to barrage a user with wonderful intuitiveness in a variety of ways. First and foremost, the clock is absurdly easy to set. Simply place an unlocked iPhone or iPod in the dock, and the time will magically be set, synchronising from your device in an instant. This has proven useful over the last few days, as I have neglected to install any batteries into the Vibe Plus and have had the socket power shut off at least once a day due to the aforementioned kitchen installation. Being able to reset the time with no more effort than it takes to charge my phone is mighty handy.

Similarly, the Vibe Plus makes it a doodle to set the alarms. A single button on the right hand side enters the settings mode where you can select Time, Alarm 1, Alarm 2, Snooze, Bass and Treble options. The time option being first is irritating as it rarely needs to be changed, but accessing the alarm options takes a quick twiddle of the right dial. Setting the alarm is extremely quick, a rotating dial is an excellent way of quickly setting the hour/minute in particular, and I have the process of setting both alarms drilled into me as second nature.

To round off it’s already fairly excellent package, the Vibe Plus delivers great sound, too, its not party volume levels, but it’s good quality and perfect for chilling to tunes on Spotify in the evening.

Oh, and one more thing. The display brightness goes very, very low. A minor point, but I like the clock very, very dimly lit so it’s readable but unobtrusive. The Vibe Plus delivers, with a ridiculous 9 brightness levels, plus the option to turn the backlight off. I keep it at the near perfect level 1.

Overall the iLuv Vibe Plus is both a great alarm clock, and a massive improvement over the bulkier and older iLuv i177 model I used previously. It takes up less room on a bedside cabinet, is more fully featured, more aesthetically pleasing and seems to lack only one thing: a remote. Which isn’t such a big deal, as the i177s remote was only ever good for losing. £60 may seem steep for an alarm clock, but it’s worth it!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010, Home Entertainment, iPhone, Personal Audio.