The 24/7 is another reworking of the BlackBox range from Gear4, but unlike the other models in this iPod alarm clock range, the Gear4 BlackBox 24/7 doesn't have the benefit of Bluetooth.

No matter, because as a compact iPod speaker system with a built-in alarm clock and iPod charge-up facility, the Gear4 BlackBox 24/7 is a little beauty that really appeals.

The front of the Gear4 BlackBox 24/7 sports a 12-hour clock armed with two programmable alarm options. Nap and Sleep functions offer opportunity for staying under the duvet that little bit longer. The alarm can be FM radio, a boring buzzer or your iPod library, which can be docked on top of the unit.

If you opt for a musical wake-up call then the Gear4 BlackBox 24/7's small speakers, just 2.75in in diameter apiece, won't exactly blow the covers off the bed. At the same time, a soothing blue light accompanies the alarm.

You'll supposedly get 16W in total from the Gear4 BlackBox 24/7's speaker combo, but they struggle to sound more than average. The radio quality fares rather better, though.

Styling is dominated by angular corners and a glossy charcoal-black plastic exterior. Construction feels robust enough to withstand a few accidental knocks during bleary-eyed wake-up calls. The touch sensitive controls work well, and there's a remote control, too. You can power it with batteries if you find you can't do without it when you go on holiday.

OUR VERDICT

This is far from being a must-have gadget but represents pretty good value compared to other less eye-catching iPod alarm clocks. Its audio delivery is average, but its features are spot on.