The humble clock radio isn't dead: it has evolved. The GEAR4 AlarmDock Reveal is a perfect example of just such a thing, doing exactly what it says on the tin. Except the "reveal" part and we can't quite figure out why it is called the Reveal - it doesn't open a mac or lift its skirt for you.
Looking at the design you'll find mesh wrapped around all sides of the rounded-off cube, dipping down at the front to reveal the LCD display. Ah ha, perhaps that's it. The display is a little on the small side - if you wear glasses and peer bleary-eyed at it in the middle of the night you probably won't be able to read it.
The top of the AlarmDock lays out the controls, with volume and playback assembled around the front of the iPod dock. A line offering power, sleep, mode and set sit under that, finished off with an alarm slider, so select the choice of two alarms. Behind the iPod dock is a dimmer which lets you adjust the brightness of the display, a welcome feature for those who have darker rooms and don't want 03:47 beaming out on a restless night. The front of the AlarmDock top is a giant snooze button.
Set-up is simply a case of inserting the backup battery in the bottom (which will keep the time and your alarms in case of a power cut but nothing else) and connecting to the mains. There is a connected FM aerial at the back for you to deploy appropriately. There are a choice of four dock inserts (iPod touch, iPod nano, iPod classic and iPhone) although these won't necessarily fit all models, but you could always leave it out if you don't have the perfect fit.
It is very simple to use, with the alarm switch meaning you can easily set two alarms if you and your partner have to rise at different times, or if you want a different time for the weekend or whatever. The snooze function gives you a 10-minute lie-in before the music or buzzer returns.
The alarm can be set to iPod, FM or buzzer. You an also set the volume you want the alarm to come on at. To use the iPod, you have to make sure it is on your chosen song when you head to bed for the night. There are five radio presets, although no RDS, so you'll only see the frequency on the display, and rather than offering preset buttons, you have to cycle through them in radio mode by pressing the play button - no great hardship.
Sleep will cycle through 10-minute increments up to an hour at which point it will shut down. To turn a ringing alarm off you simply have to press the power button, which turns it off, leaving the alarm set for the next day.
When it comes to sound quality, the AlarmDock Reveal has an authentic clock radio sound to it too. It is slightly tinny, but we found the iPod music sounds much better than the radio especially when it comes to bass delivery. The radio sounds rather flat, but the iPod delivery is good enough for its intended purpose.
It is a clock radio and designed as a bedside buddy, not as your primary music source, so we shouldn’t be too critical. If you can afford more space over the compact 130 x 130 x 95mm device, there are a range of iPod docks that offer the same features but with the capacity for better audio performance.
There is little to get offended about with the GEAR4 AlarmDock Reveal, it does exactly what it is supposed to, providing a place to charge your iPod or iPhone at your bedside, giving you the radio and a clock. The mesh surrounds look good, although the choice of glossy plastic for the top means it will attract fingerprints and noticeable dust when installed for any period of time.
The price of £49.99 makes this an affordable docking option and about the only thing we'd want to see changed was the size of the time display to make it slightly larger.