iPod speakers are a dime-a-dozen. There are big ones and small ones; black ones and red ones; some with alarm clocks, and many with built-in docks. As one might expect, you don't have to look hard to find models with integrated FM--and even AM--radios, but if you must have cutting-edge tech, HD radio with iTunes Tagging is where it's at. Among the handful of models offering this feature is the JBL On Time 400iHD, a tabletop speaker dock with JBL's signature space-age design. At $300, the On Time is anything but cheap, but the plethora of features and excellent FM radio reception may make it worth it for some.
The JBL On Time 400iHD looks like a scaled-down spaceship with its oblong footprint and tapered ends. The unit measures 14 inches long by 5 inches deep by 3 inches tall, so it's neither the most compact tabletop unit we've come across, nor is it too large to fit on the standard nightstand. A gray, cloth speaker grille, which conceals two Phoenix transducers, wraps around most of the shiny black body. The front panel has a 3-inch monochrome display that is backlit in bright blue, while the back edge houses inputs for the power adapter, the line-in cable, and the radio antennas (two FM and one AM are included). An iPod dock and a glut of buttons take up the top of the unit. The tactile keys are raised and easy to press, though the speaker is slow to respond at times, and we think the snooze "bar" could stand to be about twice the size that it is.