Touch controls have become all the rage since the iPhone’s debut, but what about controls you don’t even have to touch? Logitech’s Pure-Fi Anytime (Best Buy link—Logitech’s no longer sells the Pure-Fi Anytime, but many online vendors still carry it) takes the buttonless craze to the next logical extension by adding a no-touch feature—a motion-sensitive snooze control.
From the outside, the Pure-Fi Anytime looks like your standard iPod clock/radio. There’s an iPod/iPhone dock, using Apple’s Universal Dock design, flanked by a pair of speakers. The clock, which features large, easy-to-read, amber digits, resides over the right-hand speaker. The controls on the right-hand side of the top surface let you snooze; tune the radio station or skip iPod tracks; set radio presets; and configure the Anytime’s two alarms. Those on the left let you set the clock, change the display brightness, power the unit on and off, cycle through inputs, and adjust volume. The buttons are all backlit with the same amber light as the clock, dimming after a period of non-use; press any button, or wave your hand over the motion sensor (on the top-right, next to the Snooze button), and the backlighting illuminates again.
In addition to the built-in AM/FM radio and iPod dock, you can listen to another audio source via a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) auxiliary-input jack on the back of the Anytime. There you’ll also find a permanently attached FM antenna and connections for the included AM antenna and the power cable.
The Pure-Fi Anytime’s alarm features are decent, if not spectacular. You can set two independent alarms with your choice of a buzzer sound or audio from the radio or iPod. You can also manually adjust the volume of the alarms, which is handy if you don’t like being jarred awake by an exceptionally loud noise right next to your head. However, unlike other units I’ve tested, there’s no setting for weekday- or weekend-only alarms, meaning you’ll have to manually reschedule your alarms each weekend. As mentioned previously, you can snooze the alarm by simply waving your hand over the right-hand side of the Anytime; the snooze duration is adjustable.
The clock display’s brightness is also adjustable, though there are only three settings, ranging from “way too bright” to “only slightly too bright.” You cycle through these levels by repeatedly pressing the Brightness button in the left-hand bank of buttons.
Logitech has tried to make it easier to distinguish between the various controls via both small nubs on some of the buttons and different button sizes, but I still found myself fumbling for the correct button more often than not, and I could never remember if the volume controls were on the right or left. Similarly, the motion sensor is a neat idea, but in practice I found it to be more annoying than useful, as I often snoozed the alarm when I didn’t mean to. (The sensor is also right next to the Snooze button itself, which is rather silly—if you can wave your hand close enough to that area to snooze the alarm, you’re only an inch away from just pressing the button.)
The Anytime’s sound quality is pretty good, though, oddly, I heard some distortion on cold mornings—presumably because the unit had not sufficiently warmed up. Apart from this, audio is clear, and the system’s range is good enough for casual music listening, even if it doesn’t compare to higher-end speaker systems.
The Anytime sports the official Works With iPhone certification, so you don’t have to banish the annoying “not made for iPhone” warning on your phone whenever you plug it in. Indeed, in my testing, the Anytime worked fine with my iPhone, exhibiting no buzzing or other interference.
The Anytime features a battery backup (a 9-volt battery is included) for preserving the time and stored settings; the system even alerts you when you need to replace the battery. The Anytime also includes an infrared remote that allows you to control most of the unit’s features; the remote stores in a convenient slot on the back of the unit. Finally, you get four dock inserts for older iPods and the original iPhone (newer iPods and iPhones include their own inserts).
Macworld’s buying advice
The Pure-Fi Anytime sat next to my bed for several months, and while I have a few minor gripes and complaints about it (such as the gimmicky motion sensor and the too-bright display), it’s a solid little unit. If you’re looking for a simple iPod clock radio, it should fit the bill nicely.