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One of the best $15 alarm clocks on the market,
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This review is from: Sony ICF-C318 Clock Radio with Dual Alarm (Black) (Electronics)I've been using this alarm clock for 6 months, here are my thoughts:
Easy to set, and as accurate as any $15 clock. Once or twice a year I will resync it to my cell phone, no big deal. The "automatic time set" feature means the clock has a backup battery that tracks time during power interruptions, as explained on Sony's product page:
"The correct EST (Eastern Standard Time) has been preset at the factory, so just plug the clock in and adjust the time zone as necessary. In the case of a power interruption, the built-in Lithium battery maintains the correct time so when the power returns you don't have to re-set the clock."
It does not sync up to the atomic clock on WWVB.
Medium-size 0.9" block digits; green is easy on the eyes. I measured the three brightness settings by using the clock to read 12-point font in a pitch dark room (I have 20/20 vision):
Highest setting: Can read 12-point font at 4 inches
Medium setting: Can read 12-point font at 3 inches
Lowest setting: Can read 12-point font at 0 inches
This clock is quite dim on it's lowest setting. I had to press the paper against the face of the clock, center each word over one of the display segments, and peak in from above to read. Unfortunately this is so dim that it tends to get washed out in a well-lit room, it's quite difficult to read from 10-12 feet away during the day. I avoid this by keeping it on the medium setting.
The alarm sounds like this: [...]
EDIT: Ok, amazon filters links, just google "alarm clock beep"+"soundbible", it's the first return.
On it's low setting it's about as loud as a typical cell phone ring. The high setting is noticeably louder, but not much more. I bought it after scouring the web for the quietest alarm clock available (I'm a light sleeper), and unfortunately I got my wish. As it turns out, waking up to a quiet alarm and waking up to a loud alarm are two very different things. I found myself snoozing for longer and longer, never fully waking up. This problem led to an amazing discovery that changed the way I wake up forever: loud AM static.
If you find this alarm is too quiet for you, try turning the radio to some AM static and cranking the volume all the way up. Waking up to loud AM static is wonderful. There's an alien violence to the thing, I feel like my subconscious immediately gives up trying to process it and goes straight into fight-or-flight mode, resulting in a lovely little adrenaline rush for my morning. If you've ever been exposed to a very loud, very weird sound that you weren't able to explain even after listening to it for a few seconds, then you know what I'm talking about. It's great because it wakes me up without the obnoxious hatefulness of most alarm sounds, just loud and panic-inducing. Try it, it's great, my stomach turns when I think about going back to a regular alarm sound.
Impressively intuitive. There are completely redundant controls for the dual alarms, and you never have to hold two buttons down at the same time. Actually, there are no buttons involved at all, just the selection dials on the top and the rocker switches on the sides. This makes it very easy to set in the dark. The rocker switches are amazing. They don't twist indefinitely like knobs, they just turn a quarter-turn in either direction -- up for forward and down for backward. If you overshoot the desired time, just twist the other direction a couple times. They give a satisfying click when you twist them all the way, causing the clock to zip through time in 10-minute intervals a second or so. If you were changing the alarm from 12 noon to 12 midnight it might take 6 or 7 seconds to scroll through all the hours. Because it goes in both directions, setting the alarm should never take longer than that. The snooze button is medium size, I haven't had trouble finding it. Because you have to twist the selection dial to turn the alarm off, it's fairly difficult to disable it when you're aiming for the snooze.
A perceived drawback is that you must enable the alarm before setting it, causing it to go off if you happen to scroll past the current time. I found that this only happens if you click past the current time one minute at the time, returning the rocker switch to neutral between each click. At high-speed or even low-speed scrolling the alarm won't go off.
Meh. Sound quality is good enough for AM radio. It would do a 56kbps mp3 justice. High-quality speakers are expensive, and this is a $15 product.