I’m not all that picky when it comes to alarm clocks. Essentially it passes my rigorous test if the display doesn’t light up my room while I sleep, and the default buzzer doesn’t stop my heart when it goes off in the morning. But I suppose after using the Timex Ti700 for a few months, those standards would have to be set aside for a more advanced, iPod-centered alarm clock. At the end of the day, I’m happy with the Ti700 – it does the job it sets out to do (wake me up so I can get into work before noon) at a fairly reasonable price ($69).
However, if you’re slightly more picky than I about the performance and features of your alarm clock – especially one that touches your iPod – then you’ll likely expect more of a review than that.
What better place to start than my two initial indicators? The large round display face of the Ti700 is backlit with Indiglo technology. The white-blue color looks really nice, and has 3 levels of brightness (and a 4th setting of no backlight at all) that you can choose from. Being one who would put black-out curtains on my windows if the wife allowed it, I don’t like any extra lights muddling-up my darkness. That goes for the Dish receiver LED, my charging MacBook, or anything else; Thus, my alarm clock needs to be visible only when I go looking for it. Unfortunately even the lowest Indiglo setting is like having a car’s headlight right behind my head when I wake up in the dark hours of the night. I’ve adapted by just keeping the backlight off (which makes the entire display unreadable in the dark) and turning it on only when I need to see what time it actually is. It’s not ideal, but it works.
My other main standard is the default buzzer that’s used when I forget to plug my iPod in at night. On most alarm clocks it’s that screeching buzzer/beep that gives me the shakes when I wake up to it. Not a fan. Much to my delight, the Ti700 rocks a very calming yet effective “beep-beep-beep” that works for me. It’s not waking up to the smell of Bacon cooking, but until George Foreman adds alarm clock functionality to his grill, it’ll do.
So what else makes this thing tick? Well The Ti700 has 2 alarms (whether you’re a heavy sleeper and need two, or your bedmate needs their own time to wake, it works out well) and a battery backup in case the power goes out while you’re out. It has a single speaker for playing the built-in AM/FM radio or your favorite iPod playlists. It also comes with a remote so you can control the tunes from across the room as you get ready in the morning. And as with most iPod accessories of this nature, it includes various adapters to fit your iPod.
As for the rest of the features, I have a few qualms. The tall, cylindrical shape doesn’t seem to have enough weight in the base, making it easy to knock over with flailing hands in the wee hours. Likewise, the build quality is on the cheaper side, as the price tag may indicate. When mashing the buttons, they don’t have a pleasing, even movement, but rather seem as if there’s a single spring in the center of the button that’s responsible for its rebound. Not a show-stopper by any means, just something I noticed very quickly with this product. My last minor complaint has to do with the UI. I’m fairly competent with gadgets and generally don’t need to read a manual to get something setup the first time. But the buttons (or lack thereof – there’s only a handful) are mostly multi-function and not as intuitive as one might think for setting up alarms and such.
Qualms aside, the Ti700 wakes me up to the songs I want to hear from my iPod. The single speaker is enough to wake up to, but in my modest master bedroom it’s a bit under-powered were I to use it as my main source of music. So if you’re looking for a relatively affordable iPod alarm clock and your needs are modest, the Ti700 should do the trick for you.