If you must have cutting-edge tech in your iPod speaker, 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 and displays the time, date, and radio frequency (if the unit is powered on). The back edge houses inputs for the power adapter, the line-in cable, and the radio antennas (two FM and one AM are included).
In addition to the two antennae, JBL includes a stereo patch/line in cable and a remote control that can be used to navigate among the iPod's menus as well as control the breadth of the radio's many features.
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.