Vers mini-review

In 2000 I asked someone to pick up an alarm clock from Target—something simple, stylish, and loud. Of the three, it was only the latter. Now you can’t unset the alarm! Argh! And I’ve since learned to wake up to much less noise. In my life I’ve averaged about an alarm clock every decade.

I purchased the Vers 1.5R clock radio from Feel More Human.

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I’m hoping my desk and bed won’t be next to each other forever

They actually sell two models. The one I bought is the 1.5R and the other is the 2.0. The difference is the 2.0 is a stereo system and the 1.5 is a mono system with a clock “R”adio. As for why not stereo? This is a replacement for my alarm clock first. Besides, I‘m unconvinced a stereo with the speakers separated 16 inches apart will be that noticeable (yeah I’m looking at you, Wave Radio). Also, I don’t think I have enough space in the apartment to support the penis that is the B+W.

The Vers
Just the right size.

I like the somewhat retro look. Too many iPod docks are way too techy and too plastic. Those styles won’t look good in 10 years and that’s about as long as my alarm clock lasted. It comes with various wood veneers (it’s made from a cheaper, more sustainable wood than whatever it’s mocking). I got Dark Walnut because it was the closest to the stain of my bed frame. This morning I realized I actually bought the Dark Walnut version, but they sent me the Walnut version instead. Argh!

Power backup came in the form of two AA batteries installed, even though the manual says you have to purchase it separately. Along with that the cables go underneath which is a nice touch because it keeps the ugly outlets out of the way.I also wish the power cable was a foot and a half longer, because the outlet I’m using is that far away. On the other hand, if you want to use the line in/line out you’re going to have to purchase right angle audio plugs. Still I don’t plan on using any external audio devices and I much prefer the clean back.

The back
It’s either a Bass reflex or cheat like Bose.

The product is made in China along with everything else in the world. Vers labeles themselves as “hand-crafted sound systems for iPod.” I can just picture all the recently-displaced-by-Five-Gorges-Dam laborers in some industrial city in China “hand crafting” my Vers.

Note that the dials, dock, and remote is plastic painted metallic, so it doesn’t have the action and feel you might expect in something like a Tivoli Model 1 . But all Tivoli’s are made in China too, the clock version being especially poorly designed and expensive value add, and doesn’t integrate with the iPod. I‘m a little worried about the dial breaking down the road. The buttons on the dock definitely won’t last a decade of groggy alarm clock punching. The remote feels cheap but is surprisingly useful. It comes with a lithium battery—a further reminder that the world needs a flat NiMH battery standard. The IR sensor is somewhere behind the speaker screen.

As for sound quality, I only have two ratings: unacceptable and acceptable. This is the latter. There is too much b.s. in the field of audio engineering for this physicist to feel any differently.

I was able to set the clock and alarm without reading the manual as well as figure out how to turn things on, play, pause, volume, and fast forward/back and shuffle songs. The display is easy to read and visible in the dark. But at some strong angles with the indiglo on the contrast disappears. I should have looked at it this morning to make sure the contrast is as good as in the photos of it. The backlighting can be adjusted from the remote and top, but I forgot to test that out.

The iPod and remote feature works with my iPod nano (2G). It acts as a charger, but not a computer dock. That’s good for me because it allows me to remove the dock cables for the USB power outlets I have scattered about my apartment. I’ll probably be able to quick charge other people’s iPhones and iPods this way. The dock is the same Apple standard universal so any inserts work fine delta the color difference.

The iPhone also works with it. The dock for the smaller iPod classic seems good enough for my iPhone 3G. When docking the iPhone 3G it shows a warning to put it in airplane mode, but you can ignore it. My guess is it is because the radio reception might be hampered by the iPhone.
I didn’t test the radio reception, the sleep timer, the second alarm, whether or not the alarm clock mode works with the iPhone, If I want a sleep timer, I’d probably just use the one built into Ambiscience PS for the iPhone.

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5 thoughts on “Vers mini-review”

  1. The Zeppelin is not a phallus, it is a suppository. It also sounds, amazing. Then again, so do Audioengine A2s, which cost about the same as your Vers, but don’t have the alarm functionality.

  2. @Fazal Majid: I like the design of the Zeppelin or I wouldn’t have mentioned it :-) But then there has been this B&W subwoofer I’ve been staring at for years (unfortunately, my speakers have built in subwoofers).

    As for the Audioengine, I thought they only made desktop speakers? That’s another category entirely (I’d have to buy a dock, remote, and manage everything from my iPod). I use a pair of old Monsoon MM-1000’s for that sort of thing. The subwoofer is crap, but it still sounds great. I’m not a big fan of cabling another stereo set in my room.

  3. Hey Terry – in using your iPhone with this have you found any GSM interference? I’ve been in the market for an alarm clock that I can pop my phone into for a while, but haven’t found anything particularly good. Surprisingly few “iPod alarms” mention anything about specifically being compatible with the phone.

    I hadn’t heard of this thing – but it definitely has a cool aesthetic. Recommend it after using it for a while?

  4. @Chris Rivers. No, No interference. I don’t use the radio feature at all though which is the thing that causes that warning to pop up.

    I’ve had one case where the alarm didn’t wake up the iPhone and start playing. Like the aesthetic and the sound is loud and clear enough for me. Like how the alarm works even when no iPod is connected (it does a beep) and ALL alarm modes gradually ramp the volume.

    Really dislike the fact that customer support hasn’t gotten back to me after two tries to contact them about sending me the wrong wood veneer/stain.

  5. Perfect clockradio. The only downside I encounter is the readability of the clock. It has three lumination levels. Already in the middle level, you can read a book by the light it provides. The time then is perfectly readible, also at daytime. However, for convenient sleeping, I like the room darker, so I put the light om low level. The time than is not good readible, especially at daytime.

    Sound is great, especially for such a small device; this quality is unexpected. I also judge the quality of the jog dials sufficient and the remote looks just as good as any other remote, e.g. Sony TV remote. It looks however a lot better than the remotes one usually gets with a similar device.

    The internal antenna already works perfectly for me, no need to fix the external ones.

    Overall, I like my Vers a lot, in fact, I watch TV less in the bedroom and listen to music more, since I have the device. It is a new standard in clock radio.

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