Last week, we posted a link for the Insignia Voice Command AM/FM Clock Radio for $7.99, making it the cheapest such radio by far. For that price, we figured it was worth giving it a test drive. In this podcast, J.J. describes the unit and demonstrates some of its functions. You can still purchase the clock radio for $7.99 from Cow Boom.
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Got My Insignia Voice Command Clock Radio, Here's a Review I loved the sound, and was pretty excited taking it out of the box. Comes with a nice wall adapter, the three triple a backup batteries, and has a built in wire antenna, and an MP3 player input jack on the back that would also work for the Stream or book sense. Note: no cable for this is included. Sound is bassy through two full range decent speakers, so you would think stereo, but no where is this stated in the manual, so probably not. It sounds stereo. A.M and F.M reception is surprisingly good. Controls suck. There is a half circle, an upside down U shape made up of 7 buttons on the top, all the same size, no distinguishing marks, and maybe 8 on the back. 4th button on the top is source, tap for A.M., F.M, and auxiliary, and hold down to turn the radio on and off. You tap the bar on the front edge for snooze, or to wake up the microphone. Guess I'll try to do a little better. left to right on top, record for naming stations volume down volume up source tune down tune up and preset. The snooze/sleep/voice command bar goes all the way across the front edge, making it easy to hit. I was hoping you could just say snooze or alarm off, but no such luck. When the radio is ff you can wake it up by either tapping that snooze button or by saying voice command from across the room. It will sometimes trigger from other sounds, but then you just say cancel. Programming presets for the radio is tricky. It doesn't make this clear, but you need to program the presets first, and there is no speech feedback for this. Then you can easily record a name verbally for each one and the radio will jump to that station, but again what the manual doesn't say is the radio has to be off for that to work. Otherwise you just tap the preset button up to five times to go to the station you want. Here are the instructions from the manual for getting the stations programmed in. This can be done without sighted help if you are careful. Press TUNE + or TUNE – to tune the radio to a desired station Press and hold the PRESET button for two seconds. “P01” flashes on the display. Press TUNE + or TUNE – to select the preset number for the station. Press the PRESET button again to store the station as a preset. Repeat steps 3 to 6 to store as many as five AM presets and five FM presets. ***Translation from Reggie: for example: if this is your first preset, you would, A. find the station you want. B. hold preset for 2 seconds, C. it's already on preset 1 so you just tap it again. Now to program the second one you, A. find the station you want, B. hold preset for 2 seconds: Then press tune up one time to go to preset 2, then tap preset again to save it. Repeat as needed. Hope that's clear as mud. Once the station is in there: to record the name for your preset, You tap preset till you are on the correct station, then tap record and it asks for the station name twice. Then says station named successful. You can also scroll through your presets by tapping the pre-set button. When you say voice command, then radio, it will ask you A.M. or F.M? You tell it, then it asks for the station name and it goes to that station and turns on. That part is pretty slick. I just wish you could say radio off without having to physically go over and hold the button, but I understand why that is. It would confuse the voice command. You say voice command, and you wait for her to purr what can I do for you, before issuing commands. Nice sexy female voice. You can say help and get the list of commands. They include sleep for the sleep timer, radio and station name to have it go to a preset. Time, set time, set alarm, alarm, and cancel. there's no calendar. You have to push the button to snooze. There are duel alarms, and you can wake up to radio or buzzer which are continuous beeps. I don't think they get louder. The manual doesn't even say how long snooze will last, or how many times you can hit snooze before it will give up and just let you sleep in. So I would be nervous, but they do say the alarm will only play or sound for 20 minutes. To turn off the alarm you just hit any other button besides snooze. I read a lot of reviews that give it 1 star and say it locks up after a week and you have to pull back up batteries out and unplug to reset. Also that the display is either too bright, or off. For now it's pretty fun. Making presets is moderately accessible, and it's cool to be able to name stations by voice. Okay, Saved the best for last. I did find it on Amazon for the same $7.50 price, so if you don't mind spending $25 in total purchases to get for free shipping, or paying for shipping, you can avoid that horrible Cowboom site. Remember that this is a discontinued product, so when they are gone they are gone. I did download the user guide and can send it to anyone who needs it. Reginald George Adaptive Technology Specialist Kansas City Missouri 816-200-1064 firstname.lastname@example.org
mcikeyc Sunday, 29-May-2011 5:05 PM ET:
I have tried two days in a row to complete an order. To my dismay, I found the site to be difficult to navigate. I was using XP, perhaps another browser would have worked better. My problem is that as in many other sites, Customer Service does not have a clue to help. I got all the way down to trying to find something that would allow me to check out my order. Customer Service could not help me. I will hav to wait until someone comes home who can see to do this order. What ever happened to being compliant?
Merrilee Thursday, 02-Jun-2011 4:04 PM ET:
I wanted to try the Cow Boom site after reading the one comment about it not being accessible. They are correct. The site is not great, but I was successful ordering the radio with a bit of diligence and determination. The shipping is free, so it was worth my effort to figure out how to navigate the site. I'm looking forward to playing with the clock radio for a cost of $8.47 with tax. Amazon may sell this clock radio, but if you don't need other items from Amazon to total $25 for free shipping, its worth the effort to use Cow Boom in my oppinion.
kismat.dinana Sunday, 05-Jun-2011 12:45 PM ET:
i wood think burt's store&Patrick Timony at MLK library|adaptive services division will love this talking clock radio!
lobacat Monday, 13-Jun-2011 3:05 PM ET:
I got one for me and one for my friend. Mine was totally out of order in ten days. the antenna was in two pieces when I took it from the box. On thethird ay the voice command stop working.On the Tenth day, the radio wouldn't turn on at all.
flyingtravi Wednesday, 20-Jul-2011 10:45 AM ET:
When I received my radio I started to set the radio pre-sets and learn what all the voice commands will do. I did figure out that the speaker can be used as an external speaker for other devices. The speakers sound pretty good for the size. The only draw back is that 8 days later the entire radio quit working. At least it's only a $7.99 loss.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.