I have been a big fan of the Kicker zKick ZK500 and use it almost daily. It has great room filling sound and some serious piss-off-your-neighbors bass. Paired with a Zune Pass you will never be without any fresh tunes. Being that the Zune Pass allows you to have up to 3 devices under the same account I thought I would check out one of Kicker’s other docks for another room in the house.
Currently for my bedroom I use an iHome ZN9 clock radio, but it’s not something I like to listen to music on since it sound harsh and hollow. It’s not bad to wake up to, but getting ready in the morning or evening you want to have some good sounding tunes to kick off your day or night out.
The ZK150 works with all Zunes. There are no specific docks sleeves to swap in and out like other speaker docks, but am adjustable arm in the back will accommodate any Zune model.
One thing to note about the Zune HD and HD radio- since the jack is on the bottom of the Zune HD you will not be able to connect headphones in order to receive a signal to the Zune. However, there is a work around, you can simply run the Zune HD over the 3.5mm auxiliary connection and pick up an HD signal. Also keep in mind that FM radio is available through the dock itself, you will only need to do this if you want an HD signal.
The ZK150’s features are pretty straight forward much like most clock radios. This might seem mundane but one crucial aspect of an alarm clock to me is an easy to set alarm. This is the case and I have used the alarm regularly for the last few months without issues. I am one of those obsessive compulsive ones that triple check the alarm settings before bed with some harder to use alarms, but this was not the case for the ZK150- it’s easy to see and easy to set.
For those that like to fall asleep listening to music there is also a sleep timer. You can have this set from 5 to 120 min.
I do have one complaint about this in terms of using it as an alarm clock. While it does have a built in battery backup that will save the time and alarm settings if the power goes out, the alarm will not sound if the power is off. By comparison, the iHome Zune Dock alarm will go off if the power is out or even if its unplugged. Sure, it’s a very rare instance for your power to be out at the time of the alarm, but those in sketchy power areas might want to consider this if you have somewhere important to go the next day.
Like the ZK500 I am not disappointed with the performance of the ZK150. It has big sound and big bass for its size. It easily fills a room and also does well outdoors (A 12 volt adapter is an optional accessory that can be used while tail gaiting or camping).
While I am impressed with the sound coming from such a small dock, do realize that it does have its limitations since there is only a single full range 3” driver per channel. It will obviously miss clarity in the highs and won’t be able to reach the really low sub bass. But speaking of bass, it does have an impressive amount considering its size. The bottom line is that the ZK150 won’t win over any audiophiles, but it will exceed most people’s expectations of a $180 ($132 on Amazon) clock radio.
You can pick up the Kicker zKick ZK150 currently for around $132 with free shipping and mostly likely no sales tax. This is a steal considering the iHome Zune clock radio MSRPed for $100.