Best iPhone alarm clock dock under £100

Best iPhone alarm clock dock under £100
Charge your iPhone, enjoy your music and wake up on time

With so much technology available, it could take over your whole house if you're not careful. Just look at your bedside table - you've probably got an alarm clock there, your iPhone charger wire will be lying around somewhere (if it hasn't fallen down the back) and you may even have a radio.

Now wouldn't it be good to do away with all that clutter and replace it with a single sleek bit of kit that does all those jobs? That's where the dock comes in, and we've put five of the best iPhone alarm clock docks through their paces so you can choose your perfect bedside companion.

We tested each one for real-world usability, looking at things like how easy it is to find the snooze button when you flail your sleepy arm in its vague direction in the morning.

They don't all have identical sets of features, so you won't get a DAB or FM radio in all of them, and others have neat features such as multiple alarms or twin docking ports, so you and your partner can both charge your phones as you sleep and then wake up at different times if needed.

But remember that even if the dock you go for doesn't have a radio, there are plenty of apps to give you these abilities on the App Store, so don't let this be a deal-breaker if you think the dock suits you otherwise.

Some models also have remote controls, so if you're really lazy you can flip through your music collection without even needing to reach your arm across. And while they're all models that plug into the mains, you need never be worried about missing your alarm if there's a power cut because you can put backup batteries in every single one of them. This means the beeper will still go off, even if there's been a blackout. Sleep tight!

How we selected...

Having a digital clock by your bed was a must here, as was an alarm to wake you in the morning. But aside from those key features, we went for a range of models, prices and sizes so there would be something to suit everyone's needs, budgets and space constraints.

iHome iP88 - £75

iHome ip88

Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus - £65

Logitech pure-fi express plus

Memorex Mini Alarm Clock Radio - £45

Memorex mini alarm clock

Sony XDR-DS12iP - £80

Sony xdr-ds12ip

XtremeMac Luna SST - £82

XtremeMac luna sst

Test one: Real life use

XtremeMac luna

Being woken up is possibly the least pleasurable part of the day, so you don't want an alarm clock that's going to make your mood worse by being tricky to use.

To make sure you get up smiling, we put our docks through rigorous early morning tests. (We are that dedicated.) When you're half asleep, fumbling around looking for a teeny-weeny button to shut the alarm up will only make you cross - you want something big and prominent.

All five obliged; our only complaint being with the Logitech's front-mounted dial - hitting it edges the dock backwards until one day you knock it over the edge.

Another essential feature we wanted was a screen dimmer so we could keep the room dark at night. The Logitech is the only one without a specific dimmer control, though its display darkens when you switch it off.

All five have volume controls for the iPod, but we were keen to see buttons on the dock to play, pause and skip tracks - having to unlock your iPhone to jump to the next song is too fiddly.

As for using the rest of the buttons and wheels, let's look at each dock in turn, starting with the iHome. Its twin dials are nice in theory, but the way they're set up - a play/pause button for the respective iPods at the centre of each, but only the left dial controlling the volume - is pretty counter-intuitive. The tops of the dials aren't grippy enough either, meaning they slip under your finger, especially if you've got dry skin. It's also missing controls to skip to the next or previous song.

The designers of the Sony dock have crammed a whopping 27 buttons onto its two top surfaces, and frankly, that's way too many. While some are easy to find, such as the full iPod controls, others aren't. Less is more, especially early in the morning!

Logitech has heeded those words, with just five buttons and a dial to set the alarm or alter the volume. Alright, there are no music controls beyond shuffle and repeat, and it doesn't need lots of buttons because its features are limited, but we still applaud this kind of simplicity.

XtremeMac has also done a good job at keeping it simple. The bare minimum of buttons is tempered only by the fact that there's little in the way of divide between them - perhaps a bit too much style over substance - but it's easy enough to use, despite the lack of controls to skip through your songs.

XtremeMac also makes two free apps you can install on your iPhone or iPod touch to control the Luna SST from your iOS device when it's docked. We liked the friendly iOS interface, but you don't get much in the way of added features.

And then there's the little Memorex, the only one that realises your iPhone or iPod needs to lie down just as much as you do. A little rest supports whatever device you dock. There are full iPod controls, including a superb volume dial, which you also use to alter various settings. For a bedside dock, it's pretty darn close to perfect.


iHome iP88 - 2/5
Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus - 3/5
Memorex Mini Alarm Clock Radio - 4/5
Sony XDR-DS12iP - 3/5
XtremeMac Luna SST - 4/5