When I find coincidences occurring from conversations with friends there have been times when I have put them down as mere coincidence or mere fate. Recently upon complaining about the silence both my colleague and I faced in our staff office we both decided that one of us would buy a cheap radio alarm clock in order to fill the base with music or radio channels to keep the momentum of work going! We talked about a few devices on the market, one of them being an Alba iPod dock alarm clock I had seen in my local supermarket in the January sales and upon finding it at Tesco recently I wasn't that taken with the sound quality. We both knew that we could bring both our iPods into work with us and the search for a suitable iPod docking alarm clock was soon the first gadget on my mind to shop around for. At the same time I was about to meet my new neighbour who has just moved into the flat across from mine in the same week. Upon returning home after work I found a Goodmans iPod radio alarm clock waiting for me at the bottom of the communal stair case in the flats I stay in. Along with the reasonably good condition was a note from someone basically saying, "please give this a good home," as the person who had left it had received a new one for Christmas. Tsk - the things that people chuck out these days - I however was pleased as punch, and it didn't cost me a thing!
Up until now for my own music playback from my iPod I've been using a stereo AUX cable of which my old but trusting Panasonic RXED50 stereo has been able to play. Whenever I'm home I use my own Panasonic as a means to wake me up sometimes if I happen to fall asleep in the living room after dinner.
The Goodmans radio alarm clock with universal dock for iPod is really the kind of iPod docking device that is essential for any music lover who likes to wake up to their own choice of music and who may not have their own HIFI or portable stereo to hand. This "need" is all very well for anyone in the market who already has an iPod digital alarm clock, but after a mere week of the off loaded neighborly gesture, I just knew I had to have one of my very own! I scoured the internet looking for a brand new model but I was initially disappointed to find that the Goodmans GCR1870IB in particular is a difficult model to source and it wasn't until I came across a seller on Amazon that I found a similar model, brand new at £35 plus postage and packaging all in.
For radio alarm clock fans the Goodmans GCR1870IB has an FM/MW analogue radio with 10 digital presets per waveband and an optional remote control just incase you need to use this as your own sole requirement of personal and portable "stereo." Its look and size makes it ideal for students. After all it only measures 26cm by 12cm width and a height of just 6cm making this rather squat player look understated against bigger stereos on the market that have an AUX input as its sole feature. The size makes the Goodmans GCR1870IB ideal as a bedside alarm clock or just as a mini HIFI in your living room combining a large faced LCD clock slap bang in the middle of its outward fascia contained in a chrome/silver painted frame. It does however look quite classy with my matching iPod sat on top as mine is silver and a black one would look suitable "all in one" thanks to the shiny matt black finish on the Goodmans. Symmetrical duo buttons are located on the top either side of the Goodmans for volume on the left hand side and skipping tracks on the right hand side.
Unlike some devices on the market, the Goodmans has an AUX input and another AUX output cable which means you can actually transmit whatever you're playing from your iPod or radio from the Goodmans function alone into a much more powerful speaker system. Or if you have a personal CD player, you can also transmit the sound of that CD through the Goodmans GCR1870IB thanks to its INPUT socket. What a neat idea! Although you get a mains power adaptor of 15volts, the actual wattage of this model is 3 watts per speaker - which I didn't think would be very powerful. Power it all the way up and you may find your flat mate in the same flat complaining of noise. For a model that is owned effectively by Alba PLC, a brand name that in most recent years has hit relatively bad press for bad sound quality, the volume of sound here isn't as bad as I initially thought it would be and when hit to the max, the built in speakers don't vibrate too loudly. There's a good level of bass and tone isn't too bright for example.
The user manual is very helpful but you'll need it when it comes to using the Goodmans for the first time. Although the clock settings are easy to change due to a clock reset button located at the rear of the unit, it took me some time to change the year and the date, another welcome feature of the clock settings on this device. A thin Apple like black remote control is also supplied and it has a watch battery, already fitted and ready to go. It can control radio functions, volume, mute and surprisingly all the features you can already do on the main control fascia which has easy to read decals and completely easy to understand functions. What a pity then that the RCU unit supplied can't be hidden or placed on the actual unit as it's size (similar to a Macbook iPod remote control unit) could get lost over time.
An immediate downside is that this iPod clock radio doesn't have a change of sound settings. The setting for sound is therefore fixed even if you have the option of a Stereo function for the FM radio only. Surprisingly the sound quality that the Goodmans puts out is surprising for an Alba, with heavy bass and a good tone factor despite what your iPod may be set at the time of docking. Tone is never too tinny and stereo imaging is very apparent - but again dependent on what you are playing at the time and what your iPod is set to. You also get 8 different adaptors so that you can fit your iPod comfortably on top of the unit, whilst a flush cover plate ensures that when the iPod is taken out, you can fill up the hole covering the adaptor chip safely and out of the way. The Goodmans GCR1870IB has a universal adaptor that is compatible with 30G, 60G, 80G video iPods, 20G, 30G, 40G and 60G colour iPods, 20G, 40G 4th generation iPods, 3rd generation 10G, 15G, 30G and 40G iPods, the iPod Mini and lastly the iPod Nano. The model that was left out on the standing has the same features but a slightly different model number that has an additional dock/USB chip for iPod Shuffle models. The additional adaptors are very handy to have, particularly if you have friends around who want you to listen to their iPod even though a Shuffle plug isn't available on the GCR1870IB, you could always use an AUX cable for that purpose.
Of the clock radio settings, I'm also surprised but delighted to find that within this little power house, the Goodmans GCR1870IB offers 24/12 hour clock facility, a three stage dimmer function on the main central LCD view panel and two alarm systems that blurt out electronic alerts that aren't too grating on wake up! The dimmer selection could be better thought out - the first level of brightness which is set at the lowest can appear too bright at night and I I often turn the light off to avoid being woken up. Sometimes the radio doesn't come on either which has been disconcerting and this is down to the push buttons that don't activate properly. It all has to do with the fact that they have a light-push action and due to the company name and reputation it doesn't entirely surprise me that some of the buttons don't function properly. Sometimes they really need a real prod to get them going! There's also the obligatory Snooze function too. Then there's the option of iPod waking up or rely on the radio function. The universal docking device will also charge up your iPod when you switch your iPod off making the docking feature completely versatile and befitting for its name of just being a bit more universal!
The Goodmans GCR1870IB also comes with an additional plug in MW aerial, aerial stand and quite a long cord. It is optional however and you don't really need to install it if you don't want or use that waveband. The main power adaptor also has quite a long cord so you can plug this unit in from a distant plug socket from your bed if mains power sockets are limited. All is not lost for portability either as the Goodmans GCR1870IB also has battery options instead if you don't want mains power. For FM reception a long black wire built in is already installed although it would have been better here to have a more reliable metal stick / telescopic aerial installed for better reception and a grab handle fitted to make this a bit more portable to carry. The Goodmans Radio reception is dependent on where you live in the UK but I'm relatively satisfied that my Goodmans GCR1870IB picks up stations without problems. My last clock radio ticked because of constant interruption from nearby interferences but the Goodmans doesn't do this which may point to unbelievably better build quality here and the overall condition of this device is pleasing to the eye with tactile buttons and switches that belie the Alba origins!
As an introductory "beat box" for iPod lovers, the little Goodmans GCR1870IB almost has it all. Finding it before it is put out of production will be the hardest task and heck if you don't like the radio at least there are multiple options for iPod play. Additionally if you don't like the sound quality buy an AUX cable and put it into your chosen sound device instead. There aren't many radio clock players that can do that! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010