XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna is a $150 alarm clock radio and iPod dock/audio system that calls itself revolutionary. We put it through its paces and found it to be a great performer in some areas and seriously weak in others.

Our first impression was favorable, admiring its beautiful appearance with its clean well-rounded lines, black-and-white design and a blue-backlit white-numbered LCD display that looks like it belongs on the flight deck of a UFO. This is a clock radio with an iPod dock, so we plugged our iPod nano into it and took it into the official Gizmodo bedroom for a hands-on sleep test.

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

XtremeMac Luna Clock Radio Hands On: Pretty Face, Flawed Charms

As a clock radio, it has a few features that are extremely important to us and anyone who values tranquility in the bedroom. For one, the backlight on the display can dim all the way down to a barely visible level. This means you won't be getting any clock radio light in your face when you're trying to sleep. That's really important to some people who demand total darkness in the sleeping space.

Just like the display, the volume fades down when its sleep switch reaches the end of its designated time, and fades back up the next morning. The result is that music is never abruptly pulled out from under you, nor does it jar you awake.

We're not big fans of FM radio around here, but the stations that we attempted to tune in with this radio revealed its rather weak reception. We have other radios we've tested here that receive most stations clearly, where the Luna had to struggle with noise and interference. If you're looking for a high-quality radio, you might want to look elsewhere.

Another weakness is the operating system. It's too hard to adjust settings on this clock radio. The multifunction knobs are supposed to be user-friendly, but they're not. Each of the four chrome control knobs has a push-down menu system that takes some getting used to. Plus, as you turn the knobs, there are click stops, but nothing happens to the levels you're adjusting with each click. Sometimes it takes two clicks for the level to change, sometimes three. Not good.

The saving grace of this awkward operating system is the slim, gorgeous remote control that matches the radio. Although it's one of those remotes that must be pointed directly at the radio for it to work, it gives you most of the control you need right in the palm of your hand, letting you turn on and off alarms 1 and 2, set the sleep switch, and control the iPod's transport as well as volume on the radio or iPod sections.

Finally, even though the Luna has two small speakers up front, the sound is very good, and just one notch short of excellent. Of course, with speakers this small, there's not a tremendous amount of bass, but the overall presence of the sound and crisp highs give its tonal and spatial quality almost a 3D effect. Yeah, we were quite impressed with the sound quality of this audio system.

There's nothing revolutionary about the Luna, but the bottom line is that it acts as a good citizen in the bedroom. Once you have your routine settings out of the way, it fades its volume up and down and keeps its display dark enough for even the most finicky sleepers. As long as you use the remote rather than its goofy menu system, controlling the Luna is a simple undertaking, just what a bleary-eyed sleeper needs. Plus, it cranks out powerful sound that's better than most of the compressed audio tracks most iPods are capable of delivering.

Although we have mixed feelings about the beautiful Luna, we would still invite it into our bedroom, and look forward to its charms with great anticipation.

Product Page [Xtreme Accessories, LLC]