175 of 184 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2011
There are a few more details I think that will help make the decision for/against this purchase if you are considering it:
When I was considering this and reading all the reviews, it sounded like the light alarm would not automatically turn off. I found that if I set it for a time (4 AM, so starts to ramp up at 3:30 AM) it will automatically turn the light off after 2 hours from ramp up (5:30 AM). I set my alarm to radio with sound off, so I'm not sure what happens with the sound portion if you let it run like that, so YMMV.
I had gotten the impression from another review that you had to toggle the alarm on/off every day to turn the alarm off/reset it for the following day. If you just use the off buttons on the side you don't have to do that. Since I purely use the light portion, that means just a tap on the lamp on/off button turns it off and it is still set for the next day. I would guess that if you have the sound on you would probably need to hit the sound on/off button to turn off that half of your alarm.
It isn't said anywhere that I read, but the sunset simulator portion of this isn't set to an alarm type function like the sunrise portion is. IMO this is annoying, since I planned on using it as an automatic function to make sure I went to bed at a more reasonable time. So keep in mind that if you are in it for that feature, you will have to set it every time you want to use the sunset simulation.
Those points aside, here is my main review:
I bought this since I've struggled with seasonal affective disorder. I use a regular light therapy lamp, but often find I forget to use it. This makes sure I do get my light in, regularly and early. I haven't had to struggle with the urge to sleep 24/7 at all since I started using this. Overall, a much more pleasant way to wake up.
While I was a bit put off by the price, IMO it is worth it just for the impact it has for me day to day. However, if I did it again I would probably go with the next model down (without the sunset simulator) simply because the lack of the ability to set that by alarm means I don't use it enough to be worthwhile.
164 of 176 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
I have never slept well, and therefore have never waked up easily. Though this was an expensive item, I was willing to try it.
It does just as advertised: going from dark to your selected maximum light level over the course of 30 minutes, ending with the sound you select to serve as the auditory alarm, this device wakes you up slowly by taking advantage of your own body's natural response to increasing light. Do follow the suggestion to immediately note the light level when you first wake up, the first time you use it, and set that as your maximum light level, or you will be brought awake both too early and too quickly to receive the benefit of the slow awakening.
Pros: despite initially confusing directions, if you follow them step by step you can get the device set up in just a few minutes. An FM radio option is included for your wake up sound, as is a USB jack for using your own music. I haven't tried the dusk simulation that gradually lowers the lighting as you go to sleep. The switch for turning the alarm off is easy to find and manipulate, and a touch anywhere snooze function is nice, though the length of the snooze is not adjustable. The light is warm and the gradual increase leaves a very natural feeling of dawn taking place.
Cons: However, turning off the audible alarm does not turn off the light. Despite what the instructions imply, that light won't turn off automatically - you must turn it off, separately from the audible alarm. Also, don't mistake it for a usable clock. The time readout is barely an inch high, and no one with even a moderate nearsightedness could ever read it at night. This has left me with the odd arrangement of the wake-up light as the primary alarm on my night table, and a regular alarm as the needed clock. The device does not have a back up battery capacity, so a power failure of more than 15 minutes means a total reset is necessary. In our outage-prone rural area this is a potential annoyance. Finally, it does not function very well as a bedside reading lamp, though the instructions suggest it should.
I am not sure the extra cost over the other available wake up lights from Phillips is actually justified. The only difference seems to be the option to download and use additional wake up sounds or your own music for the alarm.
In a week of using it, I find I do wake up more gently. It remains to be seen if that results in a more positive effect on my mood and productivity. Once I have used it for a while I may decide I really should have bought one of the less expensive models.
146 of 167 people found the following review helpful
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾ Somewhat recommended, with reservations and only lukewarm fuzzies.
This is a nice fancy alarm clock that wakes you up very gently to a variety of alarm sounds, using a combination of light and sound that slowly ramps up in intensity, instead of the conventional alarm clock approach that can rudely and abruptly wake you up with a loud sound or music. The "Plus" model offers the additional option to wake up to sounds/music from a USB flash drive plugged into it, an additional dusk simulator function that slowly dims the light and sound to help you drift off to sleep, and the Smart Snooze feature that lets you snooze by tapping anywhere on the body of the unit instead of having to press a button. These three features are not on the non-Plus model, which has a regular snooze button instead of the Smart Snooze feature.
Philips advertises that this alarm clock offers "light therapy" that can boost "your energy", "improve your mood", "energizes morning wake-up", "gets you out of bed faster", and "helps you fall asleep". While it can certainly help attain those goals, I think that for many people, getting a good night of sleep and feeling well-rested the next morning has far more to do with the number of hours that they sleep, their mattress and sleep environment, what they do during the hours before bedtime (e.g. minimizing alcohol and coffee consumption), possible issues with insomnia or sleep apnea, etc. far more than the kind of alarm clock they are using. Philips juggles the word "light therapy" with this product, but this is *not* a product that utilizes blue light therapy to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
I had mixed feelings about rating this product (which I really rate as 3.5 stars). If it was priced below $100, I would give it a 4-star rating. If it did not have the drawbacks that I mention below, I would perhaps even give it a 5-star rating even at its currently high (overpriced) pricing. I value its ability to slowly ramp up both the light and sound to wake me up, and I like its Smart Snooze feature, but its music playback quality stinks and its design is not perfect. If this product is sold at or close to its expensive list price, I would expect better sound quality and fewer of the limitations and design glitches that I mention below.
ѾѾѾѾѾ Excellent 5-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾѾѾ The great gentle approach to waking up with gradually increasing light and sound! To me, this is the most compelling reason for getting an alarm clock like this. Most alarm clock radios wake you up by turning on a preset volume of sound, and we adjust the volume of this sound to be fairly loud to ensure that we do hear it and wake up reliably. But there are plenty of times when this can be quite a jarring experience and rude introduction to your morning. This Wake-up Light slowly ramps up the light brightness starting at 30 minutes before your set alarm time, reaching full brightness at your alarm time. The alarm sound also gradually increases in volume over a 90-second period starting from your set alarm time and then reaches your preset maximum volume after 90 seconds.
ѾѾѾѾ Good 4-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾѾ Some people may find the Smart Snooze feature to be gimmicky, but I really like this approach of tapping anywhere on the body of the unit to activate the 9-minute snooze instead of trying to grope and fumble around for the snooze button on many models of alarm clocks or clock radios. Instead of having to fully open my eyes and focus on where the snooze button is on the clock on my nightstand, I just have to reach in the general direction of the plastic light cover and tap it to start the 9-minute snooze. You do have to tap the unit hard enough to give it a slight shudder; a light tap may not turn on the snooze. I wish that the Smart Snooze's sensor was more responsive/sensitive to a light tap. But at least I have to wake up less and concentrate less using this method compared with the conventional approach of reaching over and feeling around for a small snooze button.
ѾѾѾѾ The nice variety of alarm sound options. The unit comes with built-in sounds of 'Bird' (birds chirping), 'Yoga' (soothing New Age melody), 'Cowbell' (cowbells and cows mooing, like waking up on a farm!), and 'Forest' (birds and forest sounds like waking up in a tent). You can also wake up to, or just listen to, an FM radio station. Using the USB port, you can also load MP3 sound files onto a USB flash drive, plug it into the unit, and wake up to the MP3 music or perhaps even an MP3 recording of a loved one speaking to you :-) However, you cannot plug or charge an iPod/iPhone on this unit. Note that the USB port on this Wake-up light is ONLY for playing music from it and using MP3 files stored on a flash drive to play as the wake-up alarm sound. You cannot connect other USB devices to this USB port or connect your Wake-up light to your computer to do anything useful. On Philips' Web site, you can also download 20+ free sound files that you can copy onto a USB flash drive to wake up to those sounds too; these sound files cover a wide variety of styles: African Rhythms, African Savannah, Arctic Circle, Beach Mood, Birthday, Bollywood, Carnival, Desert, Disco Daddy, Energetic Day, Energetic Day II, Heavenly Angels, Holiday In The Country, Lazy Sunday Morning, Morning At The Monastery, New York, Not Working Today, Rain Forest, Relaxing Ride, Rhythm Of Life, Romantic Paris, Sunday, Time Wrap, Underwater World (see the 'Comment' section of my review for where to download these free sound files).
ѾѾѾѾ The lamp gives off a nice warm light and glow to the room. The milky white plastic cover acts like a diffuser to tame the halogen bulb's glare. I have two halogen torchiere floor lamps in other rooms, and the soft warm glow from this lamp adds a very nice "mood" for a bedroom environment that is more romantic than a regular incandescent lamp or halogen torchiere ;-) I placed the unit on a nightstand right next to my bed and I find the brightness (at its maximum brightness based on 20 gradations of adjustable brightness) to be totally adequate for reading. But it is not as bright as what a standalone lamp can provide, if you prefer more light to read by. I do sometimes have to slightly angle my book page or Kindle at night to get better illumination if this lamp is the only lighting in the room during bedtime reading. And there is not enough light from this one lamp for two people to read from on a king/queen-sized bed, so the other side of the bed would need its own reading light. As with all halogen bulbs, the plastic cover can get quite hot if the lamp is left on for an extended period.
ѾѾѾ Average not-good not-bad 3-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾѾ This product is pricey, overpriced really, for what it offers. Also, there are some other competing alarm clocks that offer the similar, but less expensive, features of gradually increasing light and sound although this Philips model may currently be unique with both its USB port and Smart Snooze features. I do not have personal experience with the other brands of Wake-up lights, but my non-hands-on investigation of the other brands' Wake-up lights gives me the impression that most of the other brands are also overpriced with compromises in design and features. An electrical circuit that gradually adjusts the light intensity and sound volume is not rocket science, and should not warrant a big mark-up in price.
ѾѾѾ The orange LED display is not the most legible, either from a distance, or if you are looking at its time display at a close distance but from an angle. The clock's digits are very readable in a darkened room. But during the daytime, or even at night with other room lights on, I sometimes have to stare bit longer to read the numbers correctly. For some reason, they chose to compose the numbers using circles, making it look like an orange Hasbro Lite-Brite display. Perhaps this was done to give it a funky stylish look to it. But most LED and LCD clock displays use vertical and horizontal bars to represent the numbers for good reason - they are more readable than constructing numbers out of little round circles. There is a slightly-frosted piece of plastic that is overlaid on top of the orange LED time display. Perhaps this plastic plate was added to subdue the glow that emanates in a darkened room when you go to sleep. But this slightly milky not-totally-clear plastic covering also considerably reduces the ability to see the numbers when you look at its time from an angle. I would have much preferred that Philips did not cover the LED display with this plastic, but instead gave a dimmer option to let the user adjust the brightness of the LED clock; some inexpensive clock radios even let you do this.
ѾѾѾ This alarm clock does not have a battery back-up option in case of a power failure. Some electric clock radios let you plug a 9-volt battery into the unit which will retain the clock and alarm settings in case your power goes out overnight. If you have an electric outage that lasts longer than 15 minutes while you sleep, this unit will lose all of its time and alarm settings. This may be a significant consideration for you if you happen to live in an area where you sometimes lose power overnight; in that case, you should have another battery-operated alarm clock on your nightstand too.
ѾѾѾ When using a memory stick plugged into its USB port, your options are very limited. This wake-up light will only play MP3 and WMA files (and no other file formats) sequentially in the order that they were loaded on your memory stick, and it will not recognize any separate folders that you may have added on your memory stick to group and organize your songs with. The LED display only displays the track number from the memory stick that you plugged into the USB port and no other information. Ideally, since Philips also offers additional free alarm sounds that you can download from their Web site (see the 'Comments' section of my review for the URL), this wake-up light should have included some on-board flash memory built into the light so that you could import the downloaded alarm sounds and some of your favorite songs into the wake-up light without needing to keep a memory stick plugged into its USB port.
ѾѾѾ Probably for the sake of minimizing the number of buttons and retaining a sleek minimalist modern look to the unit, there are only 4 small buttons located below the LED clock display: [-], [Menu], [Select], [+]. But with so few button controls, this clock's ergonomics are quite bad, and this is not an intuitive user interface to operate when changing the time (e.g. during Daylight Saving Time adjustments), changing the two alarm times, changing the alarm sound to use, changing the radio station, changing the 3 radio station presets that you can save, and changing which of the 3 radio station presets that you want to wake up to. If you have the instruction manual always stored near this clock, or if you perform these operations on a monthly basis, you start to remember how things work. But Philips should have added two or three more buttons along the bottom edge of the unit which would have made this far more user-friendly (for example, one extra added button could have directly accessed the clock functions, another extra button directly accessed some alarm functions, and a third extra button could have let you directly access the digital radio tuning and presets instead of having to go through the [Menu] and [Select] buttons each time). On the side of the Wake-up light is a vertical row of buttons that controls the brightness of the lamp, turning the lamp on/off, the volume of the radio or USB sound source, turning the radio or USB sound source on/off, and a lever switch that selects which of the two alarms to use and the lever switch also turns off the alarm after it goes off (but the light remains on).
ѾѾѾ The Wake-up light keeps track of two wake-up alarm times. But this is not a dual-alarm clock in the way that other dual-alarm clocks operate to let two people set up separate alarm times, one earlier and one later. With other dual-alarm clocks, when the earlier alarm goes off, the early-riser turns off that alarm (after the optional snooze), and the second alarm goes off later for the late-riser. On this Wake-up light, there is a lever switch that sticks out. When this lever switch is moved to its bottom position, BOTH alarms are turned off. In its middle position, Alarm 1 is turned on, but Alarm 2 is turned off. And in its top position, Alarm 2 is turned on, but Alarm 1 is turned off. You can mimic the behavior of a regular dual-alarm clock by always setting Alarm 1 (the middle lever position) to be the earlier wake-up time for the early-riser, and always setting Alarm 2 (the top position) to be the later wake-up time for the late-riser. And then when you go to sleep, you move the level switch to the middle position to activate Alarm 1. BUT... when Alarm 1 goes off the next morning and the early-riser then turns off Alarm 1 (after using the optional Smart Snooze one or more times), the early-riser MUST remember to flip the lever switch up to the top position for Alarm 2 to go off later. If the early-riser forgetfully or accidentally leaves the lever switch at the bottom position, which turns off both alarms, then Alarm 2 will never go off. A better implementation of this would have been to use the bottom lever position to turn off EITHER Alarm 1 or Alarm 2 when either alarm goes off, and then use another button combination to activate/deactivate the two alarms. For example, this could have been designed so that you move the lever to the Alarm 1 position, press [Select] and then press the [+] button to activate or the [-] button to deactivate Alarm 1 on the preceding night before you sleep. As with the issue mentioned above of having to always press the [Menu] and [Select] buttons each time in order to configure the Wake-up light's features, the alarm's ergonomics are not good for being able to use its two alarms as a true dual-alarm clock.
ѾѾѾ The light ramps up its brightness over a period of 30 minutes preceding your set alarm time, and then the alarm sound ramps up within 90 seconds starting at your set alarm time. It would have been nice to have the 30-minute light ramp-up time be adjustable. For example, if I set my alarm time for 7:00AM, the light starts increasing its brightness starting at 6:30AM. At 7:00AM, the light reaches full brightness, and during the 90 seconds from 7:00AM to 7:02AM, the alarm sound ramps up its volume to full loudness. I sometimes feel like the increasing light prematurely wakes me up about 20 minutes too early with this approach, and wished that I could set this unit to ramp up its light brightness within a 5 or 10 minute timeframe, instead of slowly increasing the lighting over 30 minutes time. As a result, if I would normally set a regular alarm clock for 7:00AM, I may have a tendency to set this Wake-up Light's alarm for 7:15AM because its gradually increasing light feature starts waking me up before my designated alarm time. Ironically, the unit's dusk simulator allows you to adjust the time duration during which it ramps down the light and sound; you can set it to ramp down during a 15, 30, 45, 60, or 90 minute timeframe. But you cannot adjust how quickly the light ramps up with the alarm. You can adjust the maximum brightness/intensity of the light that it ramps up to. I have mine set to ramp up to its maximum brightness. But during the 30-minute ramp-up period, I sometimes find that I am (gently at least) woken up about halfway into the ramp-up phase, or 15 minutes before my set alarm time and 15 minutes before the alarm sound begins.
ѾѾ Bad 2-fuzzies feature ratings:
ѾѾ When you activate the 9-minute Smart Snooze by tapping anywhere on the cylindrical body with your fingers, it turns off the sound source, but the light is still left on at full brightness. And then to also turn off the light, I have to press a little button on the side of the unit. When I am still half-asleep and wanting to snooze a bit more, having to reach over and press this little on/off light switch button (and being careful not to touch the on/off lever switch below this button which would turn the alarm off entirely!) can be really annoying, and makes the Smart Snooze seem not so smart. It seems logical to me that if I really want to snooze for 9 more minutes, the Smart Snooze feature should turn off both the sound and light for 9 minutes to let me snooze with both silence and darkness again. During the initial wake-up process, the light ramps up in brightness over a period of 30 minutes. In the case of snoozing for 9 more minutes, why couldn't they design this so that it turns off both the sound and light, and then does a 90-second ramp-up of both the sound and light to full intensity after 9 minutes? If you tap this unit to turn off the sound and turn on the 9-minute snooze, and then you manually turn off the light, after the 9-minute snooze time passes, the sound ramps up in volume within 90 seconds, but the light stays off. This unit should turn off *both* the sound and light when you tap on the unit, and then ramp up both sound and light to full intensity within 90 seconds after 9 minutes. If you do not mind snoozing for 9 minutes with the light on, this will not be an issue for you though. What would have been even nicer is if you could configure the light for either the option of snooze-with-light or snooze-without-light (and have the light ramp back up with the sound 9 minutes later).
ѾѾ When either listening to the FM radio, or waking up to the FM radio or USB sound source, music sounds really muffled as if it was coming from inside a barrel. If you use the non-radio/non-music sound options such as the 'Bird' or 'Cowbell', they do not sound that bad. But my favorite radio stations and MP3 music files sound like a muddy muffled drone when the music emanates from the low-quality small monophonic (non-stereo) speaker that is pointed to the rear of this unit. There is barely any treble or bass, just mainly midrange frequencies (and the radio has no tone controls). Yes, you cannot get much bass from such a small speaker, but the lack of decent treble really dulls the sound for classical, jazz, rock, or other music. Talk radio, NPR, and the voice of late-night jazz DJs all sound warm and decent, but the music playback, in general, lacks sparkle in the upper timbres. I have a very old clock radio that I originally bought for about $15 that still, even after 10+ years of usage, sounds better than this. If they had to only use one rear-firing speaker, it seems that they could have used a larger, higher-quality speaker design for it. For less than the current price of this Wake-up Light, you can buy great-sounding alarm clock radios that come with stereo speakers on them along with an iPod/iPhone dock; but those clock radios do not gradually turn up the sound and lighting for you when the alarm goes off. The poor sound quality of the speaker used in this unit is a shame because this unit comes with an attached FM antenna wire that offers surprisingly clear signal reception. I just hid the FM antenna wire along with the power cord behind my nightstand, without bothering to adjust the FM antenna wire, and all radio stations come in strong and static-free. There is no AM, just FM (not an issue for me, but maybe for you). There is no headphone jack on this unit so you also cannot listen to music before bedtime through stereo headphones. If this radio had a headphone jack, I could at least listen to music using headphones or plug external stereo speakers into the headphone jack to bypass the included speaker's poor sound quality. So, unfortunately, I do not enjoy listening to music using this unit before bedtime. If this was a $50 clock radio alarm, the poor sound quality would be totally excusable. But at its elevated high pricing, I expect better sound from this radio.
Other versions of this Wake-up light you should consider are the:
Philips HF3490 Wake-up Light with Dock for iPod : For a little extra money, you can get a version of this Wake-up Light that comes with an iPod dock. Note, however, the number of 1-star ratings on that product complaining about its light bulb reliability and build quality. And as with this model, your iPod music will still sound really bad because of the poor quality of the little speaker that is used. The HF3490 is like this HF3485, but with the iPod dock instead of this USB port, and a snooze lever switch that is not as intuitive as this unit's Smart Snooze (the HF3490's lever switch has ergonomic/usability issues in how it activates snooze and turns the alarm off).
Philips Hf3470/60 Wake-up Light, White : For substantially less money, you can get this model that offers the gradual ramping up of light and sound, which, to me, is the main advantage of the "Plus" model anyway, but (1) without the USB port (MP3 music played from a USB flash drive through this "Plus" model sounds bad anyway), (2) without the dusk simulator (which I never use anyway because I really do not think that you are fooling the body much in this modern age of artificial indoor lighting by having the "Plus" model dim its light and sound for you... otherwise, we should all be going to sleep when the sun sets, instead of artificially dimming a clock radio lamp at 11:37PM...), and (3) without the Smart Snooze feature (it has a regular large-sized snooze button located near the bottom of one side of its cylinder). While I give this 'Wake-up Light Plus' model a 3-star rating, I would give the Philips Hf3470/60 Wake-up Light, White a 4-star rating simply because I think that the 3 extra features on this "Plus" model are not worth the hefty boost in price.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
I have severe sleep issues (diagnosed after a very in-depth sleep study done at a well known sleep center in my area). My insomnia keeps me up until 3-4 a.m. many nights and waking me in the morning, well...virtually impossible. Once I do finally manage to wake up, it takes me at least another hour to get going I feel very, very sleepy at around 2:30-3:00 pm every day.
However, I noticed the last two times (December 2010 arctic circle area, March 2011, south pacific) I traveled and stayed with a friend, I slept in bedrooms that had no curtains/blinds in the windows (one city is close to the arctic circle and one the south pacific, two extremes), both were rooms with bright sunlight in the morning and on both trips, I had very little trouble waking on my own at around 7 a.m., didn't feel the overwhelming urge to fall back to sleep and felt pretty energetic the entire day (both trips were more than 10 days, one being 7 hours ahead of my normal time zone, the other 6 hours behind so I even had jet lag to deal with).
I bought this light and waited impatiently for it to arrive, hoping that it would give me the same effect. The first day, I set it up to wake me at 10 a.m. At around 9:45 a.m., I woke up to the gentle sounds (one that is included) and a slowly brightening room. It really feels like the sun coming up. I didn't feel the least bit sleepy that morning (usually I try to get up at 7:30 and am nearly unconscious and fall back to sleep for at least another 2 hours, late for my day). Due to my severe sleep issues (which required an over night and all day stay at a sleep center trying for a sleep study), I need to take sleep medication AND use a fan AND ear plugs every night, regardless of how active I am during the day.
The next day? The same thing. This went on for 4 more days until I decided to see if I could get it to work to put me to sleep at night. A lot of people have complained that if they set the sunset/sleep light setting to low and eventually off, it doesn't get bright enough the next day. It never even occurred to me that this was an issue, I just turn the light on the highest setting about an hour before bed and it immediately slowly gets softer and softer. About 1/2 hour before bed, it's at the right setting to start winding down and it slowly winds down until it's off. That fixes the "issue" that everyone was having with that, simple.
The night trials weren't as quick, but now I've used this for 14 nights and the last 4 nights, I've gone to sleep by 12:30 (starting at 1 hour before, remembering to take my sleep med, etc). This thrills my husband because he is the one waking up at 2am, 3 am, 4 am because the light was still on from me reading, trying to fall asleep :(
A quick recap of the "CONS" most people have posted and my thoughts on them if you're just trying to decide "yes" or "no"
1. the lightbulb is very easy to replace and it costs about $4. That was the first thing I checked when I rec'd it.
2. I explained the issue with the light not being bright enough in the morning after using the sleep setting by setting it to the brightest setting an hour before I want to go to be (you'll have to play with this to get the timing right for YOU, an hour works for me because the light is dim enough after 30 mins to help me calm down for sleep) and then letting it run down to off (make sure the alarm is set for the next day though!)
3. there is a USB port, it's very simple to load sounds on the USB drive, pop it in and use them on the lamp. Don't know why people are complaining about that.
4. I found the menu easy to use - but I find IKEA instructions easy to read. It's just one simple page of instructions that explain exactly how to set each setting, it took me about 20 mins to get everything set the way I wanted.
5. If you have a job where you HAVE to be up by a certain time, I don't know how well it would work. I have a regular clock on the DVR in my room that keeps time so that's what I have always used to see what time it is (not for an alarm clock).
6. losing time (either caused to changing the menu or unknown reasons)? I haven't noticed that at all and fiddled with the menu several times to try out different light settings, sounds, etc. The time on the wake-up light is the same as the time on the DVR, which is automatically kept by our cable company. They both match the time on my laptop and phone, which are also automatically synced and updated, I can't imagine they're all wrong?
I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on things like this and it's been on my wish list for over a year (a different model of it was anyway). So I was VERY careful in choosing this one and would have immediately sent it back if I felt it was a gimmick or didn't do what it said it would do or if I found anything about it at all I didn't like. I just don't have that kind of money to waste on things I don't LOVE. And there's nothing about this I don't love. If I do find anything that is an issue, quirk, whatever you like - - I'll be sure to come back and update this review. But for now, it's a definite yes, yes and yes. This device has honestly changed my life, silly as that sounds. Being able to wake up like a normal person (and go to sleep at a normal time) has had an amazing effect on me and my family!
Another little bonus that I don't think any other reviewers have mentioned, a few times I've felt drowsy during the day (usually if I've been working on the computer for too long without a break and I live where it's cloudy/dreary a lot right now), I've turned on my "sunshine lamp" and within 20 minutes, I felt awake, productive and motivated...without the typical run to grab a coke or splash cold water on my face).
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2011
I do love the sunrise/sunset feature - it is sooo much better than an instant on alarm or just shutting the lights off at night. Compared to so many other sunrise lamps, this one had so much promise. It is attractive and feature rich, but poorly designed in several ways and unnecessarily quirky.
First and foremost, it doesn't keep time! I suspect when you are in the menu, the clock stops advancing, but I'm not sure. Regardless, it loses about two minutes a week for me.
Also, the alarm brings the lamp and alarm to the previous set brightness and volume. But if I'm using it at night as a sunset, and don't want to start it on full brightness (because that is really bright, and against the whole idea of preparing you for sleep), it will only return to the level you had set it to start at sunset - which is insufficient.
Furthermore, while it has two alarms, you can only have one set at a time - so you can't have the second alarm go off for a second person that may need to get up at a different time (unless that person manually turns it on after theirs goes off).
Based on the research I did prior to purchasing this, I still think this maybe be the best choice if you want the sunset feature and an attractive lamp, but for $170 I'd expect the basic features that are present in a $15 alarm...
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
Philips HF3480 Wake-up Light
I'd give it 10 stars if I could. I'm not one of those people who wake up automatically at the same time every day. Someone or something has to wake me up and I'm never happy about it. An alarm or loud music definitely does not make it any better. The bedroom is situated on the west side of the house and a taller home is directly to our west, so it never gets very bright in the bedroom. I absolutely detest getting up in the dark and, left to my own devices, would sleep 24/7 if no one turns a light on.
This amazing device is everything I could ask for but one: it doesn't bring me coffee in bed. Short of that, the light comes on gradually and I'm barely aware that it's on. I loaded up a USB stick with some soothing music and set it on a very low volume. At the set time, it's tolerably bright in the room and I just kind of wake up -- noticing the very soft music in the background. All in all a very pleasant way to start the day. If, on the other hand, you are one of those people who need to be blasted awake by loud music or a shock jock screaming at you, you really won't like this at all -- you are definely in the wrong place!
At night, I set the light on the full, bright setting (20) and set the dusk simulator to 1 hr 30 min while I brush teeth, put the pets to bed, etc. by the time I get into bed, the light is getting softer and within minutes I'm asleep. Some reviewers have complained about the lack of control over the brightness of the light, but I can't see how that's a problem. If you need the full brightness to wake up but want a softer light before bed you can do one of two things: 1.) Turn the light off manually before you go to bed (you can adjust the brightness without turning the light on by simply pressing the brightness up button - on the side of the light - until the number reaches your preferred brightness), or 2.) set the dusk simulator to a longer period of time. For example: if you want the light to go out gradually over 15 minutes or half an hour, set it for a longer period of time say, 45 minutes or an hour with the light at full brightness before you are ready for bed so that the light will be dimmer by the time you actually get into bed.
Just like the brightness, the volume on the wake-up sounds can be adjusted without turning the sound on by pressing the volume up button (also on the side of the light) until you reach the desired sound level; experiment with different sound levels and make a note of your preferred volume. If you like to go to sleep without sound, don't turn the sound on -- it will still come on at wake up if you have set it to. If you want to wake up without sound, simply turn the volume all the way down or set the sound to USB without putting a USB stick in the light. Some have complained that you can't operate your USB device from the display, but I have been able to change the selection on the USB stick from the light's menu display so that it starts with one that I prefer (it will still cycle through the entire memory of the stick eventually but you can choose where it starts up). To do this push the menu button and use the '+' or '-' buttons to get to the musical note icon, press 'select' and move to the USB icon press select again and the words "USB SCAN" appear in the window the USB's current selection's number will flash and you will hear that selection playing. If you want it to start at that selection press the 'menu' button to return to the menu, if you want to change selections press the '+' or '-'buttons to scroll through the USB until you hear the selection you want to wake up to. Press 'select' and then 'menu' and it's done. This device is so flexible and versatile that there is a set-up combination that should appeals to anyyone who chooses to use it.
Other reviewers have complained about the size of the time display -- it is exactly the same size as every other clock/radio display I've ever seen, so that problem will apply to any clock you might choose to use (short of the display-on-the-wall/ceiling type of clock.) Others have said that the light is not bright enough to use as a bedside lamp -- I have not found that to be true either. The light is not as bright as a ceiling fixture, but as bright as any bedroom lamp I've used. I've placed the light right next to my bed on the night table, if you are having trouble seeing the display or are not getting enough light, try moving it closer to your bedside.
I can't think of any objections I've read that are not easily fixable, if you really want to make this work for you. Just verify the settings before you go to bed (as you would a normal clock radio or alarm clock) and you should be fine.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
I'm one of those folks who dread the shorter days of winter, and partly because it just feels so unnatural to get up when it is pitch black outside... it feels as though I'm being summoned in the middle of the night!
This alarm is really nice. I had a similar product years ago, but didn't replace it when it went kaput. I decided to give this a try, and am so glad I did.
I really like the fact that you can program two different alarm times in, because I have to get up at different times depending on what day it is. The light comes on very gently and gradually over a 30 minute period, and you can set the maximum intensity of the final light quite easily. (Initially I had it set to max, but my wife and I found that this was more brightness than we wanted/needed to get us going in the morning.)
Then a soft sound begins and slowly builds, and you can choose from a forest sound, to some new-age sort of music... it starts very softly and gradually becomes louder. This particular model also lets you load music (or whatever) on a USB memory stick and poke that into the side, and it will play whatever you want it to to wake you. There is also an FM radio option so you can wake up to your favorite station.
Also on this model is the option of setting the light to gradually go off over 15-60 minutes, simulating the gradual setting of the sun... I wondered how helpful this would be, but since sometimes I have trouble getting to sleep, I decided to give it a try. It works for me! If I'm reading prior to sleep, and the light gradually starts to dim, I find myself getting tired, and putting the magazine or book away as the light fades.
I note on some reviews that some folks don't think it is bright enough to also act as a reading lamp. I don't find this to be true at all. Perhaps they haven't adjusted the light to its max setting. I don't have great eyesight, but find it plenty bright to read by.
But its greatest use for me is as an alarm for morning... I am very pleased with this purchase, and even my wife, who is an "early bird" by nature thinks it is a nice way to wake up as opposed to getting jarred out of a nice sleep in what feels like the dead of night! Give it a try... I don't think you'll be disappointed!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2011
This product does what I bought it for - wakes me up gently with light and sound that increases gradually. I have delayed sleep phase disorder, and I was finding the Alaska Northern Light Box I had borrowed from my sleep physician was too bright - it made me feel sick to go straight from darkness to 10,000 lux. So this is a transition light that is doing the trick.
However: (i) I find I do need to be lying facing the side of the bed where the light is for it to work best, and make sure I haven't got anything like a scarf over my head when it comes on, otherwise I lose the benefit of the gradual light coming on, though I do wake up, it's not as gradual; and
(ii) I still need other products - the aforementioned light box (see more below), and a standard lamp that I use as my reading lamp at night. This means my bedside area looks like an electronics bench. When I'm really tired, I have my mobile phone alarm as a back-up, but want to stop this because of concerns about having this close to me all day and night.
You can find a good comparison function on the Philips website, which enables you to compare features/specifications. I bought this model because it's one of two (?) in the range that use the globes that are more like old style globes. I don't want those curly ones anywhere near me. The 'warm' curly globes, especially, have caused some people I know to be very ill because of the wavelength of energy (? - too long since I did physics at high school) they emit.
However, I agree with other reviews - parts of the product are poorly designed, such as using the light at night as dusk simulator then switching to the alarm in the morning. Also, I find that when I flick the toggle switch to set Alarm 1, I have to confirm the alarm time each time I do it. Must be something I'm not doing right, but the instruction book is really badly written, so I can't be bothered to consult it. Set-up was a bit tense, because of aforementioned instruction book. I'm probably not using the light to its full extent, but the workarounds suit me OK.
The first wake up sound is birds chirping, but there's another noise - not sure if it's meant to be a coffee pot brewing or water running. It's distracting and I don't like it.
In summary, I could and should have chosen a cheaper model. I don't like FM radio in the mornings, prefer AM, so that function will remain unused. Nevertheless, I recommend this product as part of the armoury if you're struggling with delayed sleep phase disorder.
Oh, I've also heard that Phillips is putting out a new light box soon, using blue and green light. Apparently the latest research is that this works better than blue light alone. So I'm postponing my purchase of a Go-lite blu.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
I should have got this light a long time ago. I can't believe it- I have been waking up at 8:30AM for the last 3 days with no problem. I feel like I'm waking up on my own, very gently and in a good mood. For years- since I have been living in Seattle- I have had the hardest time waking up when it's dark outside. Usually I would just let myself sleep in, which meant I would wake up at 10:30AM and feel groggy, and miss half the day. I didn't know how to wake up early and feel motivated enough to go and start my day when everyday felt like the middle of the night. I would sleep through the whole winter if I could. When I lived on the east coast it was never a problem- the sun would always wake me up naturally.
The other night my cat woke me up in the middle of the night, and so I didn't sleep very well, but then in the morning I still woke up very easily and actually felt like I got enough sleep. Now I'm thinking it's not really the amount of sleep you get, or if there's sunshine outside in the morning, it's HOW you wake up. I have so much more time in my day now, I feel more in control of my life, and I feel like I can make it through another LONG Seattle winter.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
We purchased this to help our daughter get up in time for school. It's worked very well for that - the light is waking her up gently, she loves waking up to bird sounds, and we haven't had to drag her out of bed in the morning since we set it up.
Also, as a UX designer, I have to say that the design of the alarm system and whatnot is terrific. Turning on the alarm with the big, easy lever on the side not only shows the time that alarm is set for, but it puts you briefly in the mode to change the alarm time - so without having to go into any special mode, you see the alarm time, and you can change it easily; but if you don't do anything, it just switches back to showing the time. Nicely done.
The one thing that surprised us was how big it is. Based on the photos I expected it to be, say, the size of a 20oz soda. Instead, it's more like the size of a basketball. That's a good thing, in my opinion - bigger surface = softer light overall - but you'll need to plan for that when you're thinking about where to place it.