Customer Review

292 of 340 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent unit for price, but has deal breaking flaw, January 25, 2008
This review is from: Sony ICF-C218 Clock Radio (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Unfortunately, I am not able to rate the Sony ICF-C218 as highly as my colleagues. Not that this clock radio doesn't have numerous good features. The radio got good reception and the sound was of better than average quality. The controls, as others have pointed out, are intuitive and easy to use even without ever resorting to the instructions. The alarm, as is common, can wake you up either with the radio or with a buzzer. The only missing feature that would have been nice would be a dual alarm, though for the price this lack cannot be complained of.

The problem with the unit, and it is a serious one, is the brightness of the display. Of the other two reviewers who've rated the ICF-C218 at three stars, curiously one complains that the display is too dim and the other that it is too bright. My experience agrees with the later. I didn't notice until I tried sleeping beside this unit, but once your eyes are accustomed to the darkness the nicely-sized display is simply far too bright. It casts shadows on my ceiling and was a distraction when trying to fall asleep; I was forced to angle it away from myself or face the opposite direction. This is simply inexcusably poor design in an alarm clock and is a deal breaker for me; I'm going to be returning my unit.

A more minor complaint would be the AM/PM indicator. Most clocks have a single light that is lit when it is post meridiem (or ante meridiem, depending on the model), but this one has two lights, one about 7 mm above the other, which indicate morning or afternoon. That's fine when the room is light and you can read the AM or PM text next to the two lights, but at night you'll simply have to remember which light is above the other one and how far each is from the top of the display. Not a big deal for most, but another small design flaw.

This isn't a bad clock for the price (Wal-Mart carries it for even less, $9.96) but the brightness issue makes it unusable for me. The addition of a dimmer switch, fixing the AM/PM indicator, and adding a second alarm setting would make this clock easily a five star item, even at a slightly higher price.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 14, 2008 11:34:37 AM PDT
With reviewers complaining both that the clock is too bright and too dim the deal-breaking "inexcusably poor design" strikes me as more a matter of personal preference. What's too bright for you is just right for me and, I suspect, the majority of reviewers. By the way, the dual alarm version of the ICF-C218 is the ICF-C318 and is also available on Amazon.

Posted on Jun 28, 2008 10:11:47 PM PDT
I don't own one of these clocks yet, but it seems to me that an easy, do-it-yourself fix for the AM & PM indicators would be to cover one of the two indicators with a little piece of electrical tape. Say I choose to cover the AM indicator. Then if I see a dot, I know the time is PM, and if I don't see a dot, I know the time is AM.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2008 5:46:27 PM PDT
What moron sleeps with his eyes open -- to the extent that an alarm clock display, no matter if a little brighter than what he had previously, would affects a sleep routine. It's a basic well-functioning, name-brand alarm clock. That it doesn't slice/dice is immaterial.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 7:27:09 AM PST
How can you possibly not know if it is AM or PM? If you go to bed at say, 10 PM, and you wake up at 3 AM, are you honestly going to be confused as to whether it is 3 AM or PM? Isn't that what the sun and common sense are for?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2008 11:44:13 AM PST
I'm assuming the issue would be when setting an alarm for 6pm vs 6am....

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 3:18:16 PM PST
Mona Lisa says:
throw a t-shirt over it......

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 2:09:43 PM PDT
TexasShopper says:
Maybe luck of the draw. I just got my Sony clock from and the LED display is too dim,
at least during daytime. From across the room, maybe about 10 ft, the LED display on the
DVR box can be viewed much clearer and brighter. And that DVR time display is just 1/3 the size of the
Sony's LED time display. I even tried covering the 2 sides and the top of the Sony clock to reduce
the glare on the Sony's shiny & reflective surface, and though it got a little brighter, you'ld still have
to kinda stare at it a bit to read the displayed time. Would love to exchange my Sony clock with
one of those 'brighter' ones mentioned in these reviews.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 10:30:41 PM PDT
Jesse Bye says:
I must have thin eyelids, because I too agree that the brightness of the LCD is too much. The first few nights I tried sleeping with the clock next to my bed I had to turn it away so that it wouldn't shine directly on my face. For now I've put the clock in a corner of my room where the light from the LCD doesn't hit my face. However, it would be very nice to have a dimmer switch.

As for the AM/PM indicator, I don't really find that an issue.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009 9:30:52 PM PDT
To address the issue with the AM/PM indicators - why not cover either the AM or PM light up with a small dot of black electrical tape. Then the clock will only show a dot of light when it is AM or PM - your preference.

Posted on Sep 20, 2010 11:14:07 AM PDT
I don't suppose this unit is capable of 24-hour display. I've screwed up am/pm too many times in my life to want to put up with it anymore, but the descriptions of these clocks don't usually mention whether they have 24-hour mode. Only in America would people stubbornly resist giving up a system in which 11 comes after 12....
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Location: Maryland, USA

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