The good news first - this little unit does exactly what it says on the tin. It will lull you to sleep with a "sunset" produced by a halogen bulb in a white plastic dome, which fades from very bright to off over 15-90 minutes. During this time you can select "wellbeing" sounds (waves on beach, dawn chorus etc.) or the radio, and the volume will gradually decrease to nothing as the light dims. In the morning, you get the reverse sunrise effect, again over 15-90 minutes and timed so that the lamp reaches maximum brightness at the time the alarm is set to. The alarm can be one of the wellbeing sounds, the radio, an electronic beep, or the light just staying on or flashing with no sound. The Bodyclock can also be used as a reading light with the radio or wellbeing sounds in the background, with no dimming.
The build quality of the unit is excellent - the plastic dome is sturdy and is held in place by several lugs. You will need to remove the dome to change the bulb. Replacements are readily available. Nice thinking on the part of the designers.
Now for the bad news.. The controls on the Bodyclock can only be described as 'quirky'. Getting the unit to do what you want isn't as straightforward as you'd think. Examples:
* Turning the alarm on also activates the sunset - the designers assume (reasonably) that these two functions will be used together. The unit doesn't automatically switch the light on and start dimming it when the Alarm/Sunset mode is activated - however if you switch the light and/or sounds on manually, they immediately start to fade to off, according to the menu settings. If you turn the light or sounds back on after they have faded to off, you get another sunset effect, and so on. (Bizarrely the beeping alarm is grouped with the wellbeing sounds - if you wanted you could have an electronic beep that fades away to nothing with your 'sunset'!)
* If you don't want an alarm in the morning, you can activate the Sunset mode separately (but see below).
* The LED display can be set to auto-dim along with the light, but this only works if the unit is in Alarm or Sunset mode. If neither is selected, the LED stays on at full blast even if the lamp is off, and will probably keep you awake at night as it is bright. Because of this, you'll probably want to keep the unit permanently in Sunset or Alarm mode, unless you want to use the reading light for any length of time.
* The Alarm mode deactivates when the alarm is switched off in the morning - you have to remember to activate it again. This is the 'feature' that will probably cause most annoyance, as every clock-radio I've ever used sounds the radio or buzzer daily until you switch off the alarm mode. Fortunately I've got into the habit of checking the alarm is switched on and set to the right time before I go to sleep (paranoia of being late for work) so it's no problem for me to turn the Bodyclock alarm back on, which is a single button press.
I've had the Bodyclock for a week now and fortunately I've already got used to its odd controls. It does its job so well that I can forgive it being a bit fiddly to use, but I've had to knock off a couple of stars for this as it will undoubtedly irritate some buyers. The manual makes reference to displaying the "software version" on the LED - perhaps the next-generation Bodyclock will come with built-in wifi so it can go online and update its firmware, blu-ray player style?!