Sony Dream Machine (ICF-CL75iP)

We have a few nitpicks and grumblings, but overall the Dream Machine is a happy marriage between the alarm clock, iPod dock and digital photo frame.


7.8
CNET Rating
4.8
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Is it a bird, is it a plane?

Certain sections of technology lend themselves to the concept of convergence, where the mad scientists in the world's biggest tech manufacturer mix together the coolest gadgets to make even cooler gadgets — think smartphones. But what would happen if you mixed together three seemingly boring gadgets, say an alarm clock, an iPod dock and a digital photo frame? Cue the Sony Dream Machine (and Corey Haim is nowhere in sight).

The result is surprisingly sexy, or at least as sexy as an alarm clock ought to be. The centrepiece of the Dream Machine is a 7-inch colour LCD display with a pretty standard WVGA. When viewing videos or photo slideshows the results are colourful and reasonably sharp, and seeing as it's to live on your bedside table it has four brightness settings to dim the screen when its time to sleep.

Rock around the clock, dock

The Dream Machine can play media from four main sources: from its 1GB of internal memory, a USB connection to a PC or portable storage, an SD or M2 memory card, or from the media stored on your Apple iPhone or iPod, though unfortunately there is no 3.5mm socket for connecting any other brand of MP3 player (even a Sony). Apple products connect via a slide-out dock located on the right-hand side of the Dream Machine, and there are two plastic cradles to secure your iPhone in the dock correctly.

While having an iPod dock is a huge bonus for a product of this kind it does come with the most inconsistencies. Firstly, you can't start video or image files using the Dream Machine's control panel, instead you have to set the player into iPod video mode then start playback from the handset itself. You can control the iPod player's music controls using the buttons on the dock and can set music on your iPod as your alarm clock music. You also can't transfer files from the iPhone/iPod to the internal memory, though considering how tightly Apple control these aspects of its products we really shouldn't be too surprised.

The speaker in the Dream Machine is adequate for the job, especially if you plan to watch videos or listen to music close to the unit, as in with your head on your pillow and the Dream Machine an arm's length away. It also features AM/FM radio tuner, which all good alarm clocks should. If you don't feel like being woken up to your heavy metal collection you can record a "Fun Wakeup" (which sounds like an oxymoron to us). You choose a photo from your collection and marry it with a voice recording and create your own custom wake-up call. The Dream Machine supports a range of media file types including MP3 and WMA audio and MPEG4, AVI and MOV video files.

Overall

We have a few nitpicks and grumblings, but overall the Dream Machine is a happy marriage of a few popular electronic appliances. There are features missing that you might expect if you bought one of these appliances as a stand-alone, like Bluetooth or internet connectivity in a digital photo frame, but we feel that the combination of functionality makes up for the shortcomings of each of its parts.

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darkknight
3
Rating
 

"Very disappointing"

darkknight posted a review   
Australia

The Good:The concept

The Bad:Continuously freezes and stops working

I have to agree with everyone. The clock freezes and turns off. You have to wait for ages before turning back on. I like the concept but it is a piece of S*#T. Mine has just died and I dont know if its going to work again.

 

AndrewK2 posted a comment   

The clock freezes, slide show stops and time readout disapears, and alarm never goes off,,,this thing is a real usless piece of junk. Happens way too often making me late for work,,otherwise,,it's a nice photos displayer,,,or,,an excelent paperwieght!!

Team_Misti
5
Rating
 

"Great features but lets you down when you need it most"

Team_Misti posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Looks good, great usage with Ipod, love the screen and dimmer on time.

The Bad:Randomly stops working, alarm fails to go off, appears to lose power for no reason.

Very disappointing, as it promises so much and almost delivers. So unreliable, power failure seems to occur frequently meaning the alarm clock feature fails. Happening too often, only way to get it to work is turn power off and on again. Love all the features but this is a deal breaker. Will need to run a second alarm clock! Have the unit over 12 months and this has happened too frequently. If you dont need reliable alarm clock then this is for you.

 

SonyShiba posted a comment   

The Good:All in one - alarm, picture, videos, mini screen

The Bad:design could be better

I like the littel device. It has all the trappings of a nice little device you can play with - uploading songs and videos of your choice on the dream-alarm-clock.
The ONLY thing that I am very disappointed is that it Cannot set Videos as my alarm. That would have been great feature and perhaps the best one too. But I tried, but could not set that feature. Too bad....think of the possibilities...of videos to wake up to ^_^

 

JAN posted a comment   

You bought it a few weeks ago but mine just quits here and there and have to wait for hours to turn on again......but it just quit and I do not know if it is going to turn on again...for your information I take really good care of that clock..if that is what you are wondering and I only had this alarm clock for a year a half

 

dw posted a comment   

how do you stream the live tv

 

dw posted a comment   

How do you stream live tv from an iPod touch onto the dream machine

Garry
6
Rating
 

Garry posted a review   

The Good:Nice screen

The Bad:AM radio reception, alarm has frozen on me, major audio delay on many video fomats

This was the alarm i had always wanted video, audio, radio and alarm.I saw the potential when it first came out.

I no longer play video on it because the audio is delayed by a long time???
Needs a firmware update to address this.

I no longer listen to AM radio on it because the reception is very bad. Should have included a DAB+ radio in it.

I will try the alarm next time and hope it works as it does most of the time.

This could have been another great product from Sony.


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User Reviews / Comments  Sony Dream Machine (ICF-CL75iP)

  • darkknight

    darkknight

    Rating3

    "I have to agree with everyone. The clock freezes and turns off. You have to wait for ages before turning back on. I like the concept but it is a piece of S*#T. Mine has just died and I dont know if..."

  • AndrewK2

    AndrewK2

    "The clock freezes, slide show stops and time readout disapears, and alarm never goes off,,,this thing is a real usless piece of junk. Happens way too often making me late for work,,otherwise,,it's..."

  • Team_Misti

    Team_Misti

    Rating5

    "Very disappointing, as it promises so much and almost delivers. So unreliable, power failure seems to occur frequently meaning the alarm clock feature fails. Happening too often, only way to get it..."

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