The Ixos Neo is an iPod and MP3 speaker dock with integrated alarm clock. As well as the iPod dock you can connect any device with a 3.5mm audio jack, standard phono connection or a PC through the Mini-USB port. It’s got an FM radio too so should you prefer to wake up to that you can.
The plastic construction of the Neo is ok, but that’s as praiseworthy as we’d be. The buttons certainly aren’t all that impressive and are a bit cheap looking. The design is nice though, and it sits well on the base, which for reasons that we’re not quite sure of slides backwards and forwards about an inch. At least the design has been thought of and it’s more attractive than some of the iPod dock clocks we’ve seen, however for £109 we’d expect a slightly better finish.
The Neo is very easy to use and skipping between sources is a breeze as is setting the clock and alarm. It might sound simple, but some alarm clocks seem to require a degree in astrophysics to set properly. There are four speakers with a power output of 10W, hardly ear shattering but loud enough. Also, the Neo is supplied with a thin remote control so should you wish to turn the alarm off and stay in bed you can do so without getting up. If the blue backlight is too bright for you there are three level of brightness you can set.
With these smaller audio docks you can’t expect miracles from the audio, the Ixos doesn’t provide any either. With voice and middle of the road pop the Neo provides decent if not compelling audio though anything more demanding shows the limitations of the speakers.
A fair bit of distortion was present when things got loud and as with many systems like this the audio sounds very condensed. This might not matter to you too much if you’re only going to be using it to wake you up at the start of your day. If, however, you wanted to use the dock more regularly than that it’s likely to disappoint.
For a product that costs about £110 we expected a little more from the Ixos Neo. It’s not a terrible iPod speaker dock, but then neither does it live up to its price point. A clock radio alarm with iPod dock that costs this much should cope better with a wider range of music and should certainly let you get some more volume before it begins to distort. The plastics are ok, but the buttons are disappointing.
The design sets the Ixos apart, slightly, from the usual squared off devices out there, but it’s hardly a major consideration. The Neo is easy enough to use and it does have a decent range of features, but the price is a barrier. Perhaps if it was half the price then the Neo’s failings would be more acceptable, but as it stands we’ve seen better.