It’s the thought of a good iPod gizmo that causes us to leap out of bed and embrace the day. And now we have a blindingly (or should that be deafeningly) good iPod gadget to greet us as soon as we open our peepers in the morning - the Duo-i from Boston Acoustics.
Not that the Duo-i is billed as an alarm clock - it’s an AM and FM stereo radio and iPod speaker set with an iPod dock and loads of connectivity options. However, it’s great for putting by your bed because it boasts two different alarms, and a cool snooze feature. For a bit of extra shut-eye, you simply touch any part of the silver trim around the edge of the front to switch on the snooze. Tap it once for 10 extra minute of peace, or keep tapping to increase your lie-in by five minutes with each tap.
You can choose to wake up to the radio, your iPod, or an alarm tone. We suggest setting your alarm 10 minutes early just so you get the chance to play with the touch sensitive trim.
It’s this elegance that we love about the Duo-i. All too often, iPod speaker systems with alarm and other interesting functions have the most infuriating and over-complicated interfaces imaginable. Not so the Duo-i. It has three simple dials - a big one that turns it on and off and adjusts volume, and two smaller ones. One cycles through modes and clicks in to select, while the other tunes the radio. Two buttons control the two alarms, and there are five numbered buttons for presetting radio stations.
Sound as a pound
The unit also comes with a remote control. You can skip through tracks on your iPod using the remote and using the tuning dial on the main unit, but there’s sadly no way of navigating your iPod’s menus. This is our only real gripe.
Of course, the Duo-i would be nothing if it sounded rubbish, but we were surprised when we plugged it in and fired it up. Its sound is bright and crisp, and Boston Acoustic’s BassTrac audio processing delivers cracking bass response. It’s not massively loud, but it’s fine as long as you’re not having a party, and there’s no distortion even at top volume.
Looks wise, the Duo-i benefits from its simple interface - the few buttons keep the look clean and the unit is smart without being too obtrusive. Despite its simple looks though, it has more connectivity options than most - there’s two auxiliary inputs (3.5mm Aux input on the front, RCA input on the back), a line out, and a headphone out. There’s even a video out plug so you can output movies from your iPod to your TV.
Optional metal grilles are available in nine colours: Glacier, Rosebud, Onyx, Pearl Gray, Caramel, Chocolate, Spanish Moss, Olive, and Chili Pepper.
Not only is the Duo-i one of the finest small-ish iPod speaker sets we’ve seen - it’s also one of the most versatile. With its stonking sound quality, easy-to-use alarm clock functions, and video out socket, it’s perfect for the bedroom or kitchen. Watch out though - its touch-sensitive trim gives you a dangerous incentive to snooze all morning.