Toybox: Waking up easy to do with Macally TunePro
- 28 February, 2008 22:00
Waking up, if I may paraphrase, is hard to do, but the Macally TunePro might help.
The first thing you'll notice about the TunePro is its striking appearance: long and flat. The speakers are hidden behind a reflective panel — Macally is using NXT flat-panel speakers. In addition, the unit's clock display is invisible until you supply power, at which point the clock shines through the top-right-hand corner of the panel.
At 34cm wide by 13cm high by 11cm deep, the TunePro may eat up a decent amount of real estate on your bedside table, though the slimness of the panel helps offset that a bit.
Front and centre, along the bottom, is a built-in iPod dock cradle that uses Apple's Universal design. Included are three iPod dock adapters: one that accommodates first- and second-generation nanos; one for the 30GB fifth-generation iPod; and one that fits the 60GB fifth-generation iPod, all fourth-generation models, and the iPod mini.
Unlike most iPod speaker systems, your iPod is charged only when the TunePro is on (which means playing sound); if you turn the TunePro off, your iPod will be paused and will no longer charge.
I tested the system with a variety of iPods, including the iPhone, and it worked fine with all of them; the iPhone had to be switched into airplane mode since the TunePro is not shielded from GSM interference.
Two rows of control buttons flank the dock cradle: To the left are the Alarm 1 and Alarm 2 buttons, a Sleep control, and a Radio Preset button. On the right are Up, Down, and Set controls for adjusting the clock time, alarm time, and other functions; the Volume Up and Down buttons; and the Audio Source button. There's also a large, multi-purpose button on the cradle itself, just in front of where the iPod sits. This button serves as the TunePro's Power button, Mute mutton, and alarm Snooze button, depending on what the system is doing.
Three more buttons hide in the rear of the TunePro on its stand. These are for infrequently-used functions such as setting the clock, choosing the display brightness, and adjusting the speakers' bass, treble, and SRS WOW audio enhancer settings.
I found the TunePro's volume controls to be difficult to locate quickly when a particularly loud track came on suddenly. In fact, the overall control design was one of my major gripes with the TunePro. All of the buttons look the same, they're not laid out in any sort of logical fashion, and they're nestled so close together that even if you know which button you're aiming for, you'll likely hit the wrong one by mistake.
The radio functions of the TunePro are pretty solid. FM and AM reception were both quite good, even without connecting the optional AM antenna. There are five presets per band and they're easy to set.
As far as sound quality goes, the TunePro performs pretty well; I listened to a variety of music on it and found it better than your generic clock radio, though not as good, of course, as a dedicated iPod speaker system.
The TunePro is actually a bit cheaper than many of its iPod-playing competitors. For its price, the TunePro offers pretty good sound quality and solid radio reception. But there are some tradeoffs, including the amount of room the unit takes up on your nightstand, as well as the unintuitive controls. It might not get me out of bed every morning, but it may very well work for you.