The Emerson iTone iC200 SmartSet
Alarm clock radio claims to be a good bang for your buck. Service Villa research labs put it to the test to see if the claims are true.
When we plugged in the Emerson iTone iC200 SmartSet Alarm clock unit, the smart set feature did exactly what it was supposed to do: It automatically incremented the time and accurately displayed the present time, month, day, and year. We were very impressed by not having to set the time of the alarm clock at all. After that, we went through all the menus and felt they were relatively easy to navigate even without reading through the instruction manual. The remote control, although lacking some features, did the basics and did them well.
Testing of the radio didn't go so well. The Emereson iTone iC200 SmartSet had no reception and we were unable to listen to either AM or FM stations in the heart of Miami, Florida. We thought at one point that there must be an antenna we forgot to plug in or something, but after reading the manual it states that the antenna is built into the power cord. After noting this we began moving the power cord and the radio and still nothing. We took the unit out of our labs with a long extension cord and still nothing. We felt this was one of the most important features of the alarm clock because odds are you won't wake up to any alarm if you can't hear it. To give Emerson the benefit of the doubt, we went to a local store where they sell the unit and tried a different one. It seemed to have the same problem.
Disappointed, we decided to try the iPod dock that is built into the unit. To our surprise, it worked remarkably well. We were able to set alarms using the iPod and the sound was relatively good compared to other systems of the same price range. Alarms could be set to ring Monday - Friday, all seven days of the week , or just weekends, which was an excellent feature and worked well with the iPod.
Another thing that we didn't like with the Emerson SmartSet Alarm clock was that we could not set the time ahead by a couple of minutes like many people like to do to trick themselves into getting up earlier. It felt odd we couldn't actually set the time we wanted.
All in all, if the radio would actually work, it would be a great buy, but since it doesn't, we thought the Emerson iTone iC200 SmartSet Alarm clock was a bust. Instead of purchasing this unit, we recommend the iHome iH9
for its better sound quality and functionality, all for just a couple dollars more.
- Automatic time set
- Good sound quality when connected to the iPod
- Good iPod connectivity
- Atrocious AM/FM Reception rendered it useless
- Can't manually set the time ahead
WHERE TO BUY