Clock Radio is, as it implies, a clock radio app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Raizlabs Corp., the main screen of the app is designed to resemble a digital alarm clock. The top half of the screen displays the current time, day of the week, whether or not the alarm is turned on, and the time at which the alarm is set to go off. The lower half is occupied by a visualizer that mimics the beat of the music, your current station and song, and a switch for the radio and alarm. You can also slide your finger across the screen to change the color of the display – a neat little addition.
When the app works it does what it is designed to do. The problem is it does not often work as intended or expected, partly because of the restrictions that Apple places on their apps.
Clock Radio is powered by SHOUTcast internet radio – enabling access to over 25,000 stations. To choose a station you tap your current one on the home screen and are then taken to a screen listing every genre imaginable for you to select from. After you have chosen a genre you are taken to another screen listing the stations playing that style of music. For each station there is a display with the name and the current song playing and signal bars to show how strong the connection is. Tap the station you want to listen to, it connects, and begins to play. Sometimes I had difficulties getting an initial connection to a station and even more problems keeping the connection over time, even with a full signal.
The alarm clock function itself worked well enough. It went off when it was supposed to and played the music as long as it had a connection. In the event of not having a connection using the buzzer as a secondary alarm was unreliable due to how quiet it was. If you are a sound sleeper there is little chance it will wake you up. The biggest place that the alarm suffers though is from not being able to run in the background. As a result you have to have your phone on all night unless you have it jailbroken and use an unapproved application such as Backgrounder. For some people that isn’t a problem, but for others it will be a complete deal breaker.
For 99 cents Clock Radio is not a bad little app, but the connection issues and not being able to run in the background keep me from recommending it when there are better, more useful applications out there for the same price.
Clock Radio requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPod Touch.