Aluratek has brought out a cool little boom box that might just come in handy on your next camping trip. Aluratek sent me one so I could play with it and see what makes it tick.
Initially when I opened the box, I was expecting their AWS01F which includes a wireless speaker as well. However when I opened it, the instruction book indicated it was the AMS01F. The only difference between the two packages is the wireless speaker. Otherwise the rest of it is the same.
The first thing you have to do is charge the radio up. You simply plug it into your computer or the included Mini-B USB charger for about 3 hours. The instructions mention something about a red LED indicator which I don’t see. Other than the LCD’s backlighting and the LED on the charger itself, I see no LED indicators. There is one on the LCD that looks like the battery indicator on many cellphones. Look at that for the charge.
Once it’s charged, you can turn it on with the power button and it should be in clock mode. To change modes, you hit the mode button and it will change into MP3 mode, FM radio mode, Line in mode and finally back to clock mode.
In MP3 mode, you just hit play and it plays the first mp3 file it finds on the SD card. You can play in order or in shuffle mode. What order it plays in though is unclear. To go to the next track, you hit the forward or back buttons. The player shows you the file name on the display which is kind of nebulous for some podcasts, but should be fine if you have proper names on your files. Would be nice if it picked up the ID3 tag info, but this is a very basic device so I didn’t expect it. It supports SD card sup to 32 GB in size. Getting music on it is easy as it works as a standard mass storage device when plugged in with the included USB cable. It will also charge when plugged in to a USB port.
In FM mode, you can press and hold the forward or back buttons and it will scan the FM band for nearby stations. You must have the included auxiliary cable plugged in or it will not pick anything up since it uses the wire for an antenna. Reception of local stations seems is fine, but your mileage may vary on this option depending on your location.
In Line in mode, you can plug anything that has a standard 3.5 mm headphone output. My iPod as well as my Droid 2 both worked fine with the line in. You get a little more control of the music this way, but line in does not seem usable for the alarm function.
This does indeed have an alarm function and it can use a buzzer, a MP3 file or a FM station as your alarm. This would be a handy function and device for going camping. It has a 4 hour battery life when playing audio, but should probably be sufficient for alarm clock use when on a short trip. The nice thing is it uses a standard Mini-B connector so if you have a solar or crank charger, you should be able to charge it up enough to get you through the night for alarm clock use. To make sure you do have enough power for the alarm clock, turn it off during the day.
The audio quality of this little thing isn’t great mostly because of it’s size, but it actually does a pretty good job for use as an alarm clock, kitchen or bathroom radio. It’s not the best, but good enough for most of my uses.
The AMS01F will also work with up to 6 of the AUWS01F speakers in the Bump line. I was unable to test this as I don’t have one but they promise a range of 60 ft. That should be enough to cover a floor of your house if you have a small house like mine.
This is a nifty device. It does what is says, is simple to use and doesn’t pretend to be the world’s best radio. I will find this very handy on short camping trips this spring and summer. It is available now direct from Aluratek!
What I liked: Simple operation. Almost did not need the instructions!
What I didn’t care for: Controls were a little hard to press in.