The Stem Time Command Mini is a “compact, app-enhanced audio alarm and dock” for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The base is small and simple: time display, two speakers, and three buttons – volume up and down, and one button to play, pause, set, and snooze. It comes with a long cord, making the base easy to move around a room while it remains plugged in. The base supports devices in or out of most protective cases, and it comes with additional supports for the iPad.
When it is first plugged in, you are prompted to set the time, but by docking your device the Time Command Mini automatically sets the time that is set on your device. That is a really great feature, absolutely no hassle! It is simple to set up, just plug it in, dock your device, and it’s ready to go. The Time Command Mini will keep your device fully charged while you use it. Not only can you play music while it is docked, your phone is fully functional, and you can keep it docked while having a conversation over speakerphone.
There is an App that compliments the Time Command, aptly named “Time Command.” While it is not necessary to download to be able to use the device, you are prompted to download it every time you dock your iPhone/iPod/iPad. With the App downloaded and open, your phone remains on a display screen, showing the weather, the time, and the date. There is a small alarm symbol on the bottom of the screen that gives you three options – Set Alarms, Sleep Now, and Sleep to Audio.
The first option, Set Alarms, allows you to set several alarms on your device, much like the regular clock App. You can select the alarm sound, and select a range of volumes (from level 1 to level 16). The Sleep Now option turns the time display on the dock completely off, and dims the screen on your device. You can select the brightness of the time on the dock (from level 1 to level 5), and you can adjust your device’s display brightness through the settings. Finally, the Sleep to Audio option allows you to fall asleep to music from your device, or to relaxation sounds from the App, like Ocean Waves, Camp Fire, or Summer Rain, among others. Once you select the audio you wish to fall asleep to, you can set a sleep timer so it turns off automatically. Hit “Done” and the device’s screen dims and the dock display turns off.
The dock also supports an alarm that works whether or not a device is plugged in. The sound is a simple beeping that you can set the volume level for. Deactivating the alarm is a simple push of the centre button. While using the Time Command to play music, the three buttons have multiple functions. The volume buttons also serve as Previous and Next song buttons, and the centre button is Play and Pause. This little dock certainly delivers big sound; it is a lot louder than you would think.
The main problems I have found with the Time Command Mini are that I am constantly being prompted to download or update something for the App, which is slightly annoying, but not really a big deal. The volume controls are slightly flawed; if you press too fast you end up changing the song. Finally, the alarm is not all that loud, and I can’t imagine relying on it to wake me up from a cozy sleep.
Overall, the Time Command Mini is a great product, compact in size yet offers big sound and has a variety of uses. You can purchase on for $79.95 from the stem official web site.