124 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
The clarity of the voice, even from another room is outstanding. The digital readability that another reviewer finds fault with? I don't know what he's talking about because this radio's readability is as good as it gets. He must have it set on dim read out. The reception on FM is excellent. On AM, it's absolutely amazing! I live in an NYC apartment with so much ambient AM radio interference that I seldom enjoy AM -- up until this Sony ICF-C707! Nearly FM quality on AM! All this with great style. This is one of those rare machines that is nearly perfectly pleasing.
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2010
This clock radio is much better than I expected. The reception is excellent...much better than my previous clock and my wife's. The blue light on the display has to settings, both of which are very bright at night, so I turn it off. The only feature I would change is how to set the alarm. If you miss a step, you can easily put the alarm type in the wrong mode (e.g. AM vs. FM vs. Nature sounds). The speaker is very loud, but is nice for listening to the radio because of the volume. Another nice feature is that you can independently set the volume for alarms A and B. Also, you can have the alarm for only weekdays, weekends, or both. That is a great feature and now I will not have my wife yelling at me on Saturday mornings for forgetting to turn the alarm off. I recommend this.
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
I am mostly pleased with this alarm clock. It seems to be a good product with a few drawbacks that don't bother me too much. Whether you will like it depends on if you can live with those drawbacks. Here's a rundown of pros and cons:
Style: It looks good, small and compact and unobtrusive on the bedside table. You may not be able to tell from the images online, but it is pretty small, about 8" long by a couple inches square. There are some wires hanging out of it, which could be annoying. One is a cord for an outside music source, but that one has a place to tuck in on the bottom of the unit, unlike the other one which is for the thermometer and the FM antenna. It just has to lie across the table.
Display: The display is an LCD (not LED) with a blue backlight. The backlight can be turned off, or to 2 brightness levels. Unfortunately increasing the brightness of the backlight does not improve the contrast of the display. It is not easy to read unless you are right next to it. Also there is a lot of information on the display; in addition to the current time there is the alarm time (but only for one of the alarms at a time) and the room temperature. I usually leave the backlight off, only turning it on when I specifically want to read the display. It is easy to cycle through the brightness levels by pushing the snooze bar.
Alarm settings: There are two independent alarms. They can be set to go off every day, just on weekdays, just on weekends, etc. They can also be set to go off with radio, built in nature sounds, or beeper. You can set which of your preset radio channels or nature sounds the alarm will use, and what volume it will go off at. The beeper starts off slowly and then gets more insistent the longer you try to sleep through it.
The two alarms can be used on different days (one for weekends, one for weekdays, etc.) or they can both be used together. I have one set to come on with the radio, and then the other one comes on 15 minutes later with the beeper. The beeper will shut off the radio if I haven't already snoozed it. I have both of them set for weekdays only, so I don't have to remember to turn them off for weekends, and on for workdays.
Sound: The sound quality is pretty good for such a small device, but it's no boom box. The radio signal comes in pretty strong as well. To me the nature sounds are bizarre. Some people may find them soothing to go to sleep to, but most of them would make me want to get up and go to the bathroom. They (and the radio) can be set on a sleep timer. You can also plug in an external source (like an Ipod) - the cord from the clock plugs into the device's earphone jack. You can't use the external device as an alarm (the clock would not know how to turn on your Ipod).
Buttons: The snooze bar is easy (maybe too easy) to find in the dark. The alarm off button is definitely not. This is the biggest problem with the clock. To turn off the alarm in the morning, you have to turn on a lamp to be able to find the alarm off button from its hiding place in a row of identically sized buttons. The good thing is this makes sure you are really up before you turn the alarm off, and don't hit it by accident.
Time setting: The sales info implies that the clock automatically sets its own time, but it doesn't. It is factory set to the "correct" time and then it keeps the time with a battery backup. It seems to keep pretty good time, and there is a function for manually setting the time if necessary. The backup battery is a specialty "button" battery that you won't find lying around the house when you need a replacement. Also it requires a screwdriver to get the battery out.
One final recommendation: save the instruction booklet. There are a bunch of functions that you don't need to do every day (like resetting the time), so that you won't remember how when it comes time to do it.
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2010
The title about sums it up. I saw this unit in a local BJ's and was blown away by the sound. This clock radio is *incredibly compact*, yet the sound that you get out of it is much more voluminous than the size of the unit would suggest. The antenna also picks up FM signals very well (even signals that are sometimes weak in my car and full sized stereo in my living room).
I can't say that I understand the complaints about the LCD brightness as it offers you three settings to choose from (bright, dimmed, and turning the backlight off completely) which is probably one more than most other units (usually just bright and dimmed or on and off). If the backlight -- even at the dimmest settings -- is too bright, then I suggest simply leaving the backlight off and hitting the large snooze button a few times (which toggles the brightness) when you want to check the time in the middle of the night and turning it back off.
Certainly, it can be said that some functional aspects of the unit have been sacrificed for the aesthetics of the unit (i.e. many of the buttons are small, untextured, and roughly the same size), however, I find those complaints to be minor misgivings for an otherwise superbly designed clock radio. These small design weaknesses are not enough to dock a full star.
With two separate alarms, BATTERY BACKUP (it even comes with a batter), a well designed antenna, crisp sound, audio-in jack, nature sounds (haven't used these), and easy to use interfaces, this unit is a keeper. It's so good, I'd consider buying one just as a compact desktop radio for the office. I'd say that the only way this unit could be better is if displayed the date and if it offered more presets (like a "Preset A/B/C" option) - as it is, you can only set 5 presets using the numbered nature sounds buttons.
103 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2010
This clock has many nice features, including multiple alarms, nature
sounds, auto daylight savings, battery backup, and a wide snooze bar.
But if you can't glance at the clock and read the time easily, then the
product fails. The numbers are BLUE, and the backlight is also BLUE.
The backlight on the LCD display has 3 settings: bright, dim and off.
You can switch between these by pressing the snooze bar on top.
The bright setting is too bright, and the dim setting makes the clock
difficult to read at night or early morning when you're half-asleep.
Instead of blue numbers with a blue backlight, Sony should have went with
something more readable, like black numbers with a white backlight.
** UPDATE - Problem with Buttons/Controls:
In the morning when waking up, most people hit the Snooze button once or
twice, then press the Alarm Off button. The Alarm Off button on this Sony
clock is tiny (3/8" x 3/16"), and is grouped with 7 other identically-sized
buttons. These tiny buttons are almost flush with the clock.
The Alarm Off button does not have any tactile clue, such as a raised 'dot'
or a lowered 'dimple'. So it's difficult to find this button by touch
early in the morning. Did the Sony designers actually test this clock
with a focus group before selling it to the public?
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2010
I bought this little clock radio primarily because I saw from the display model that you can connect an external AM antenna. The external antenna this thing comes with is plenty good enough to pick up my favorite stations where other alarm clocks were not.
It plays talk radio pretty well and has just enough features. I really like the noise maker and audio in features. Also key for me is the digital tuner (it can be so hard to get a dial at just the right spot) and the ability to set the volume for the music alarm (since I often listen to the radio when going to bed at a volume way too low to ever wake me up)
It doesn't have an ipod dock which is a plus for me since I don't use an ipod ever and would feel like I was paying extra for a feature I would never use.
If being able to check the time at night is important to you then I would only recommend this if you plan to place it on your nightstand. It would definitely be difficult to read from across the room but is perfectly readable at the middle brightness setting from my bed.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2011
I've had dozens of clock radios over the last 25 years and this one is my all-time fave. It has 3 brightness settings. VERY Bright, low light and off! I don't like ANY light when I'm sleeping. You can easily reach over a tap the snooze button to turn on the light. Tap twice for low light, tap 3 times and it's off again. It has 2 alarm settings. Not only can you set different alarm times and stations (or buzzer) but different volumes as well. Very very helpful since I wake up at a click, and my husband needs a volcanic eruption! It takes a bit to follow the instructions for initial set up and alarm settings but once you get it... piece of cake. It has a slew of nature sounds but I don't use them. Probably very soothing to some folks out there. I highly recommend this clock. I'm buying another one for my daughter for Christmas.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
So, I purchased this alarm clock even though it only received average ratings, yet I am quite happy with it. How come you say? Well, let's have a closer look at some of the negative points raised in other reviews:
1. DISPLAY TOO BRIGHT
The blue display is perhaps a little bright, even on the dimmed setting, BUT it is not the blinding beacon described in some of the other reviews. I usually sleep with my eyes closed and even facing the clock I have no trouble sleeping. (And if you should find it too bright, an easy fix is a small piece of dark automotive tint film on the display - just ask for a piece of offcut from your local tint shop.)
2. COMPLICATED TO PROGRAM AND OPERATE
The story here is that the alarm clock allows you to program not only the wake-up time, but also how you wish to be woken (to radio, nature sounds, extrernal MP3 player), the corresponding volume (so it won't wake you with the same volume setting you used for listening to your heavy metal music when you went to bed), and whether you want to be woken weekdays only or the whole week. So naturally, programming is a little more involved than setting your old mechanical alarm clock. I found the instructions supplied perfectly clear and managed to go through the steps in a matter of minutes.
3. CLOCK UNREADABLE FROM ACROSS THE ROOM
Really? And I thought the purpose of an alarm clock was for people to work out the time while they're in bed. Even my wife can read the clock without her glasses from the other side of the bed!
4. BUTTON TO CANCEL ALARM TOO SMALL
That's the only real point I've read in the other reviews. The button to switch off the alarm is small and in a row of buttons that are all the same size. But let's be pragmatic, once you know it's the third button from the right you let your finger slide across the buttons, count to three and press - no need to turn around or look up. To make it even easier, I put a small blob of epoxy adhesive on the button so I can now find it with my gloves on. (OK, that's a slight exaggeration but you get my point. Plus I don't wear gloves in bed, only socks - just kidding, I'm in SoCal!)
5. POOR AM RECEPTION WITHOUT ANTENNA
Again, really? FM reception is perfect and since I never listen to AM I didn't bother hooking up the antenna supplied. But I am at a loss how one can fault a radio for poor AM reception without hooking up the antenna supplied exactly for that purpose...
In summary, for the price this is a great little alarm clock. Granted, the sound is not exactly hifi quality but the small size of the clock simply limits the sound quality. Still, it's perfectly adequate for listening to the news and perhaps a song or two before it's time to roll out of bed and switch on the ghetto blaster in the kitchen to wake up the rest of the family. I am therefore very happy with my purchase and believe that anyone with realistic expectations and a basic degree of common sense will be too.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
I've had this clock for about a year with no problems. The radio gets nice reception, and GREAT sound quality for the clock's very compact size. It lets you program the clock to only alarm on weekdays if you so choose. Then the clock *remembers* to reset the alarm Monday morning! The display is easily switched through 3 brightness settings by tapping the snooze button, and the clock displays the current temperature which is surprisingly handy. I'd expect nothing less for just under $40, but it was a good investment.
I still own the "Sony ICF-CD815 AM/FM Stereo CD Clock Radio with Dual Alarm" which has an awesomely loud annoying buzzer and has the advantage of allowing you to wake up to a CD track of your choice, but, has an inferior radio when compared to this model. My old Sony CD alarm/buzzer might wake the dead, it practically has for the last 5 years. However, this newer Sony ICFC707 Clock Radio (aka "Nature Dream Machine") is perfect for my current lifestyle because it still allows me to *actually wake up*, but a bit more gently AND is very reliable, is nicer to look at, and great to listen to when I need a radio. (The volume is plenty loud enough but never "blasts"). Another great feature of this clock is a buzzer that starts off somewhat softly and slowly and gradually gets louder. In conclusion, I think I love this modern evolution of the Dream Machine and may marry it. :)
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
I have been very happy with the clock and would buy it again. The things that Sony should work on are small but would make a big difference. 1. Make the buttons on the top of the unit different sizes or shapes or at least spaced apart. When many people reach for their clock, they don't want to have to turn on a light, put on glasses, pick up the clock and hunt down the button. 2. On the nature sounds, make the loop of the sound much longer, with the water sounds they are very short, about 5 to 10 seconds. Did you think we would not notice?
Again I am very happy with this clock and hope that when I ware this one out the next one will be even better!