If you've seen one radio alarm clock-cum-speaker dock for iPod, have you seen them all? One could certainly make that argument and, to be honest, I probably wouldn't argue too vehemently against that person. Still, there's always a chance that one might surprise you. The XtremeMac Luna ($149.95) isn't really that "one," but some fun design elements and above-average sound quality make it a fine choice in the bedside tabletop radio category.
At 11 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep by 2.9 inches tall, the XtremeMac Luna offers about the same footprint of most other iPod-ready radio alarm clocks, but it is noticeably larger than a standard clock radio. Still, it will fit comfortably on most bedside tables. The design is fairly uninspiring overall: it has the same white plastic housing and black speaker grille found on most iPod speaker docks. Still, I like the funky chrome knobs on the top--it kind of makes the Luna look like a giant Lego. The LCD is also ample (2.7-inches diagonal) and the text is large and legible. By default, it displays light text on a dark background, but that's easy to change. In fact, all of the settings are simple to adjust, thanks to an instruction card that comes placed over the knobs.
With the Luna, XtremeMac also includes antennae for both AM and FM radios, a power adapter, two AA backup batteries for the alarm, and an IR remote. (If you want your iPod to have a secure fit, you'll have to use the dock adapter that came with it--none are provided in the box.) The remote has a lot of useful controls, though there are none for navigating among the iPod's menus, as there are on that of the PlayDock i. Still, there are keys for shuttling among playlists (or radio presets), a large snooze button, and standard playback controls. You can also adjust bass and treble from the remote, as well as switch between sources: iPod, FM radio, AM radio, and auxiliary line input. Finally, there's a power key and a handy button for shuffling tracks.
The Luna offers a plethora of alarm options, but shockingly few radio features. You only get four presets and there's no way to quickly set them--it must be done manually. Plus, there's no autoscan feature, which is--in my opinion--sacrilege when it comes to radios in the digital audio space. However, you do get two alarms, each with its own knob on the Luna itself and their own remote buttons. You can choose to wake to the iPod, the AM/FM radio, or one of three buzzers. Each of the alarms can be set to a particular volume--or ramping volume--regardless of last listening volume. There's also a sleep timer function with a decreasing volume option for those who like to doze off to music.
As far as sound quality is concerned, the Luna actually sounds quite good for a radio alarm clock. You can even hear some bass response if you're close enough, which really, with an alarm clock, your head is frequently going to be close to it, right? In general, music sounded clear and detailed with good mids. You can certainly do worse for a bedside speaker dock. FM radio reception, however, isn't quite as good. There were a couple local stations that I was unable to tune into.