Clock radio’s used to be all the rage but, unlike the wristwatch, replacing it with a smartphone isn’t smart. That’s because a clock radio isn’t a bygone product of a dusty product — at least not if it’s iHome’s Kineta K2 Dual-Charging Clock Radio (iKN95) being talked about. That’s a lot of name, but then this device does a lot. Yes it’s a clock radio, but one that not only keeps up with the times (and tells you the time), but also takes care of your future (i.e., smartphone) to make sure it doesn’t run out of power.
First up is what it does besides telling the time and sounding either one or two alarms when there’s more than one body that’s got to get up at a predetermined time. For doing this, the Kineta relies on either a series of built-in tones or the always under-appreciated and the obnoxious buzzer.
The Kineta has a universal voltage AC adapter which means you can take it with you, should you be heading outside the country on a regular basis. Otherwise it’s nothing to be concerned about, but one can appreciate iHome adding a bit of “extra” to what they do. That can be seen in the shape and function of this “clock radio,” not to mention being able to use a capacitive touch panel to activate controls rather than having to punch buttons.
For a better aural appreciation, go with the FM radio which is something really good for iPhone users since they don’t have easy access to FM airwaves. And programing up to 6 FM stations for quick access should be there. So it is. Obviously the Kineta plugs into a wall outlet so it has plenty of “juice,” and it knows what to do with that other than just playing tunes of the airwaves There’s a better than just decent set of stereo speakers inside — actually their quality is such that listening to what comes out of them is a pleasure. And that includes vocals too, which also means voice but more on that in a bit. Considering all this, wouldn’t it be a shame to confine their use only to FM? So it doesn’t — the Kineta pairs with your smartphone for playing recorded tunes, or music off streaming apps, whatever.
Now how to pair is easy — just use Bluetooth like it was an other accessory being hooked up to the phone. And those who have NFC (meaning Android users since Apple’s either saving doing it or ignoring it altogether) can just do that tapping thing to sync/pair it up. And as a last resort, there’s the ubiquitous line-input for your old iPod or out of date cassette player or portable CD player. And getting back to that business about voice — no surprise that there’s a speakerphone inside so it’s an easy time when a call comes in, with talk and end “buttons” to make using the Kineta as your speakerphone more accessible too.
Part of the reason the speakers sound better than expected, by the way, comes from the stereo transducers being “fed” by a custom designed digital signal processor. The size of the Kineta also allows for more “space” so that the sound can be generated with a higher precision and better quality.
Now earlier it was noted that the Kineta isn’t stuck with old technologies and thinking of that, one shouldn’t discount the design of a product indicating froward-thinking. Charging using the Kineta gives you the choice of the lower voltage ready for a phone, but also the higher voltage needed to properly charge up a tablet. But besides the USB ports, the Kineta embraces the new by having a built-in charging station for a K-CELL USB battery pack. This cylindrical device looks like a lot like its charging pack brethren, but instead of being stuck in a drawer till needed, the K-CELL physically “lives” inside of the Kineta until needed. And you can see it and check its battery status too. All that would just be “sounding good, lousy to use” were it not for the fact that you can pull the K-CELL out and turn it into a portable charger to take with you (noting that life isn’t limited to charging your phone on a night table only). That’s really, really cool but even more important is that it’s a usable technology that has value.
The Kineta K2 Dual-Charging Clock Radio comes in black or white and costs all of $99.99. That’s nothing when you consider all it can do and does.