The Philips Streamium WAK3300 is an additional unit to the £600 WACS7000 setup, but is also a standalone music-streaming system in itself. Beyond its functions as a bedside music gizmo, the WAK3300 is an alarm clock and radio. It's on sale for around £90.
This nifty alarm clock does what you'd expect it to do: it tells the time on a backlit display, it has an alarm -- either the radio, a buzzer or streaming music -- it has a snooze option, and an automatically recurring daily alarm. This kind of functionality is taken for granted for the most part, and the WAK3300 doesn't let us down with its performance of these rudimentary functions. It also offers a pleasant silvery design and a build quality that reflects the near-£100 price tag.
Setting up the little guy took about 30 seconds: a quick time and date confirmation first, then an automatic installation of the network features. Advanced configuration is actually fairly simple, but the quick start and full manual tutorials will assist technophobes.
The 'Philips Media Manager' software is supplied on a CD-ROM. It's a painlessly simple application that easily lets you make your MP3 collection available to the WAK3300 on your home network, be it wired or wireless. Encrypted networks are supported, using the up and down buttons to enter any required WEP or WPA access codes.
Sound quality, while quite tinny and heavy on treble, is fine for a system like this. You're not going to spend any considerable time listening to music from it -- we wouldn't recommend the WAK3300 as a primary music source -- but for wake-up tunes and background music as you get dressed, it'll be fine. There's a headphone socket too, presumably for listening in bed.
For those of you who like to fall asleep to some music or radio, a sleep timer will save you from disturbed snoozes. It can be set for up to two hours.
Our main disappointment, aside from the it-could-be-better-for-this-price sound quality, is the FM radio's autoseek. While quick, it failed to assign anything but white noise to most of the 15 presets, despite many stations being clear when manually tuned.
The WAK3300's backlit LCD display has a very low resolution, and the glossy screen covering it attracts enough glare in the daylight to make reading the display difficult. A colour screen could easily have been implemented instead of this piddly little pixelated effort.
If the poor screen wasn't enough of an annoyance, the laggy menus add a further portion of user vexation. It's true that the menus are simple enough, but the small delay between a button press and the system's response is irritating enough to earn itself a medal in the less-than-prestigious Rubbish Features in Alarm Clocks 2007 awards.
While the WAK3300 might not boast the best screen or the most impressive sound, it's important to remember it's still just a glorified alarm clock. We feel its ease of use and its ability to stream your entire music collection to your bedside is worthy of significant merit, however. Novices to networking won't struggle with the setup either.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide