Published on August 21st, 2011 | by Greg0
Brighten Up Your Morning With Stem Time Command
First off, no, it doesn’t actually let you control time. Nor does today’s product have anything to do with flowers. Instead, we’ve been waking up to one of the latest and most interesting dock-clock combos, one with some features that make it an appealing purchase for many people. Most docks can play music and charge your device, many of them feature a clock and alarm functionality, but few are so tightly integrated.
The Stem Time Command iPod clock dock offers an alternative to most other audio-capable docks, focusing instead on the alarm functionality. One of the most frustrating things about alarms is that most docks can’t utilize the ones that you’ve set on your iPhone. This one is different, transferring your settings both from clock-to-app and from app-to-clock, and setting the time correctly as well for one less thing you need to worry about. Did you park your car and set an alarm for moving your car from the dreaded street cleaners? Simply dock and forget. And the clock here isn’t bad, with some nifty options like dimmable brightness and a nice size snooze button.
Unlike some others, this one can take an iPad or iPad 2 as well, and you’ll want to utilize the free universal app. If you don’t have an iOS device, you can pass this alarm up- it can still function just fine, but the neatest features are reserved for those within the Apple ecosystem. While many docks offer additional audio inputs, that isn’t the case here- it’s strictly the docking port. Also, this isn’t a travel model- you can pop in 2 AAs, but they simply serve as a backup in case the power goes out, thus preserving your alarms. We loved how easy the whole package was to use- smart prompts, and a nice GUI in the app make settings alarms almost a pleasure. And one nifty feature that we tried out was the Wake-by-Light outlet attached, which serves as a controlled passthrough for a beside lamp. Basically, the alarm can also turn on your lamp to help wake you up (or even fall asleep)- it works pretty well, though we wish we could have a bit more control over the brightness and dimming rates.
Finally, audio does not get short shrift here. We’ve seen all sorts of docks, including those that bizarrely add a kitchen scale. But while we wouldn’t use it as a primary music source- it doesn’t have quite enough punch for a party for instance- the clarity and separation was impressive for a nightstand unit. Bass won’t impress, but the mids and trebles are clear and mellow, not hollow. And a nice touch was the included equalizer, with some different modes for various types of music, something missing in many docks. Even the docking connector itself is smart, with a nice spring-loaded touch that accommodates devices even in their cases. The Stem Time Command isn’t small, but feels solid and durable, and the matte plastic doesn’t pick up fingerprints. In short, count us in- we just wish it could fit two phones, and maybe co-ordinate with some of the wake assistants, like the WakeMate or aXbo that offer flexible alarms. At $100, and available only from Apple stores at press time, it’s a good deal and the best alarm dock yet.