Lightning Review: Aluratek Wi-Fi Internet Radio Alarm Clock

Illustration for article titled Lightning Review: Aluratek Wi-Fi Internet Radio Alarm Clock

The Gadget: A Wi-Fi internet radio alarm clock from Aluratek, with over 11,000 free stations worldwide.


The Price: $199.

The Verdict: I actually like this thing a lot despite its laundry list of flaws—it's a bread-and-butter gadget that mostly works as advertised. It's got more radio stations than you could possibly ever listen to, from a good portion of the United Nations and organized into a bunch of different genres. Whether or not you want it basically comes down to how much you love radio, and if having thousands of stations on your alarm clock makes you tingly.


Here's what I dug: You can use any radio station (internet or otherwise) as your alarm. Bookmarks for your favorites, a necessity. The stations are about as well organized as you can hope for in cataloging thousands of them, and you can sort them by genre or location. Setup is simple, even without instructions. The sound and size aren't bad, though the bass could be a bit punchier. And I just like the concept of the thing—the core internet radio functionality works really well, above all.

Not groovy: The screen and UI are ugly, straight out of the early '90s. A significant issue is that the Wi-Fi receiver is weak—my DD-WRT router blasts the signal at 85mW, and on the other side of my apartment (which is by no means cavernous) two rooms away, I only got two bars. In a larger pad, this will be a problem. It lost service occasionally, requiring a reboot. And I never could get it to sync up with Windows Media Player, even though it saw my computer, and my computer saw it. Given these issues, $199 is just way too much, as much as I like this thing's soul. [Aluratek]

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I picked up a Linksys wireless MediaLink for $10 (you can still find them online for $20-$30). Updated with the latest firmware, you get almost as many internet radio stations and streaming access to your home computer.

This looks like a good product, but $199 when usable alternatives cost so much less.