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Speaker Docks & Clock Radios: Not Just Relics of the Past

Once upon a time, we didn’t have smartphones. Phone alarms were foreign, and online music streaming was outlandish. But, we survived. Alarm clocks and clock radios kept us on schedule, and MP3 players and speaker docks kept us in tune. Today, smartphones may be taking over our lives, but clock radios and speaker docks still march on. Read on to find out more about speaker docks and clock radios and how you can integrate them into your life.

What is a Speaker Dock?

A speaker dock is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a speaker for playing music and a dock for connecting and recharging your mobile device. And it can do both these things at once. Speaker docking stations are available for smartphones and tablets, but generally have a single dock connector that’s only compatible with select devices. Some speaker docks also have a USB port, so you can plug in devices that may not be compatible with the dock connector.

What Types of Speaker Docks Are There?

A standalone speaker dock is a simple unit comprising a speaker and a dock -- no frills attached. A combined speaker dock, on the other hand, features extra elements like a radio, clock, and alarm. Because of their extra functionality, combined speaker docking stations make great bedside companions, allowing you to recharge your phone overnight and wake up to the sounds of your favourite radio station or playlist. A standalone speaker dock is lighter and more portable than its combined counterpart, making it a cinch to move from room to room.

What is a Clock Radio?

Clock radios have been around for decades – and they haven’t lost their groove, yet. These handy bedside units feature a digital clock, built-in radio, and alarm, so you can tune into your favourite stations and wake up to the sweet sounds of pop, rock ‘n roll, or whatever your ears desire. The beauty of the old-school clock radio is you no longer need to rely on your phone as a clock, alarm, or music player. The clock radio offers all that functionality, and often more.

What Features Should I Look for in a Clock Radio?

Besides the basics, there are a few bells and whistles that can make one clock radio stand out over another.

Sleep Timer

A programmable sleep timer is handy if you want to fall asleep to your favourite radio show without having the radio blare all night long. It’ll automatically turn off the radio after a set amount of time.

Backup Battery

A backup battery is beneficial if there’s ever a blackout. It’ll ensure your alarm still goes off when the power’s out, so you don’t miss that important morning meeting (or flight to France).

Dual Alarm

For couples with separate wake times, a clock radio with dual alarm functionality can accommodate both schedules. It’ll let you set separate wake times from different sources, so you can each bask in a bit of snooze time.

Customizable Display

Clock radios generally feature easy-to-read digital numbers, but some have customizable displays with selectable colours and adjustable brightness. Some even display the temperature and date, so you’ll know you’re not stuck in Groundhog Day when you wake up.


Clock radios and smartphones can happily co-exist, especially when they’re connected. Some clock radios have Bluetooth for wireless streaming or a USB port for recharging your mobile device. Look for a 3.5mm audio jack if you want to connect other devices like headphones or an MP3 player.