Review: Distil Union Snooze Alarm Dock for iPhone 4/4S/5
If you're a snooze button jockey, the iPhone's touchscreen might impede your morning routine, as it doesn't provide a large dedicated surface to let you postpone an alarm without looking at the screen. Distil Union's Snooze Alarm Dock ($40) aims to remedy that: the wood and rubber holder positions your iPhone 4, 4S, or 5 horizontally, working in conjunction with the iOS' built-in alarm app or the free Snooze Alarm App. The rubber panel across the top gives you a physical bar to hit when you need to sleep for a few more minutes, and the solution works with bare iPhones, as well as many cases.
At 4.5” wide, 2” deep, and 3” tall, Snooze doesn’t take up a significant amount of space. The back and bottom panels are made of wood, with a rubber panel underneath that prevents the stand from sliding around. On the back you’ll find a cable passthrough, which allows you to charge your iPhone while it’s docked. A rubber insert in the ridge that holds the iPhone can be removed if you’re using a case. Only cases with raised button protectors are compatible; those with simple openings exposing the volume controls won’t work.
Although the stand can be used with the default alarm app and work just fine, you will get more from the experience using Snooze Alarm App, which includes a number of extra features. Notably, a warning pops up to let you know what features are limited or disabled if it’s only running in the background. By default, the app displays the time, and is designed to be left on as a clock; you can purchase additional clock faces and alarms from the app’s shop. When setting your alarm, you can also choose the snooze length, which makes a lot of sense for an accessory based around the feature. What’s really cool is that Distil Union has built-in accelerometer support: if you increase the sensitivity, tapping the snooze bar lightly will offset your alarm, even if you don’t actually depress the buttons.
We commend Snooze for its originality and attractive design. While it doesn’t add totally unique functionality—you can still snooze without it—it provides a viable alternative to standalone alarm clocks at a reasonable price. The fact that it pairs with a free app that takes advantage of the hardware is appreciated, although Distil Union should throw in a few more clock faces for users who purchase the dock. While it’s not necessary for everyone, it’s a cool accessory, and earns our general recommendation.