Mondo+ (Plus)
Alarm clock radios were big hits in the past, which means the 20th Century knew a good thing when it heard it. Today we expect a lot more, so why shouldn’t radio keep up? If you’ve got the Mondo+ (Plus) sitting on your night table or desk or wherever — you’ve got the simple esthetic of the “good old days” combined with all the digital modern tech you can stomach that goes so much farther than just giving you an advanced alarm clock. That’s because the Mondo+ has a large cabinet, so there can be a large knob to grip rather than totally relying on buttons. The size also allows for bigger speakers which means you’re getting big quality sound from whatever is playing. Powered by a digital amplifier, EQ (equalization) control and the “simple” bass and treble adjustments for tweaking the sound work towards your personal preferences.

There’s also a large color 3.5” screen so the size of the time stands out just fine — big when you’re not using a function and small and to the side when you are. Pick 12 or 24 hour time, select from 5 individual alarm settings, and take advance of the sleep timer and snooze alarm option. It’s not just for showing menus and text info like artist and song data but also the artwork associated with that info.

So what exactly can you do? Well first, it’s obvious that there had better be WiFi and Bluetooth built-in or it’d be extremely limited. Since these two bits of tech are, getting Internet radio stations seems a given. So it is. But there’s also AM and FM and HD FM stations too (all told, there’s 30,000+ stations so there has gotta be something you’ll like and probably they’ll be a whole lot). The manufacturer, Grace Digital, will even let you add a station to their database or do it for you so that you can access it.

Thanks to Bluetooth, you can stream from your computer or mobile device, or even go the analog route and plug in a device through a minijack. Or go the Chromecast route instead, since you can stream audio to it from a large number of apps (like Pandora, Spotify, Slacker radio, etc.). And do such things as create multiple streaming groups, group a Mondo+ with another one or use the Mondo+ you’ve got with another Chromecast compatible product (which includes Google Home) to sync audio to all the devices at the same time. And yes Mondo+ works with Google Assistant.

And because Grace Digital strives to make things simple, should you prefer a wired connection instead of WiFi, there’s a USB to Ethernet plug cable to get (optional). It plugs into a USB port which can can do a lot of other stuff, from providing power like a battery pack to your mobile device, to accepting a flash drive for playing audio files. There’s also analog outputs for going to a stereo system

Not interested in getting “hands on” with the Mondo+? Then use the included infrared remote to run through the functions. Or clutter up your home screen with the associated app and leave the remote in a drawer. Also optional is turning the Mondo+ into a go-anywhere portable. For that you’ll need the optional battery pack. Maybe you don’t care or won’t need it, but it’s there in case you do.

The Mondo+ (Plus) retails for $199 and turns the whole “clock radio” thing on its head. But mostly what it does is give you a good reason to get up in the morning — the 7-day clock radio works in tandem with the alarm clock — or listen to tunes or news or even the weather in a bold fashion. The days of a clock radio being background “noise” are over.

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