‘The Brick’ from Aluratek recently appeared on the market and is an iPhone / iPod docking clock radio that has a big sound for its size. This device is a heavy block weighing in at 4 pounds, and measure 9.6 inches wide by 3 inches tall by 6 inches deep. It stands on four rubber feet, which, unfortunately, have a habit of falling off as you remove the device from the box.

The top of the device is a large ‘The Brick’ logo (if you should just happen to forget the name) and it has Apple’s universal docking cradle designed for iPods and iPhones. Inside the box you will find a cradle adapter for use with the iPod nano, which seems to slot easily, but firmly, into place.

On the front of ‘The Brick’ there is a small, blue-backlit LCD clock, which shuts off after exactly one minute – but it illuminates again the moment you touch any of the buttons. It might become problematic to use the four absolutely identical round buttons located just below the clock face – Volume Up, Volume Down, Source and Standby. Strangely this last button serves as a power button as well, even though there is a normal hardware power switch on the back of the system – why would anyone need to have two power switches?

Also in the box there is an infrared remote with a grid of buttons covering a range of functions, such as volume control, Play / Pause, Back / Forward, and the normal iPhone / iPod menu navigation tools. The Source button allows users to choose from three different audio sources – FM radio, the iPhone / iPod dock, and an auxiliary input. The remote’s functions do not end here as there are also buttons for setting the clock, alarm, snooze, and to change the alarm tone. By the way, if you ever lose your remote, then you certainly need another spare, otherwise you can not set the clock or use the alarm ever again!

In conclusion, I can say that ‘The Brick’ seems a very useful device with an impressive audio playback – but there are several design flaws that need to be addressed. However, it must be popular because right now it is out of stock – but you can pre-order from the next batch for $130.