Top critical review
170 people found this helpful
Seriously lacking in features for the price.
on 5 December 2013
First the disclaimer: I was given this free for review purposes.
In a nutshell: Do I like it? Yes, with reservations. Would I buy another if something happened to this one? ABSOLUTELY not.
First, the good stuff. This alarm starts to glow gently half-an-hour before your wake-up time. The glow very slowly intensifies over the next 30 minutes, until by your set time (when the audio alarm also comes on) it's blazing away at full intensity.
Personally I found that it reliably wakes me, very gently, 15 minutes before the alarm time. This is so consistent that if I want to wake at, say 7, I now set the alarm for 7.15.
If you do want the audio alarm, you have 3 options: bird song, a sort of jungle/woodland ambience, or a radio station.
The lamp is also bright enough to service as an OK reading lamp.
So far, so good. So what don't I like?
Well, it's not exactly an inexpensive alarm clock, and even at Amazon's discounted price, I personally think it still costs too much for what you actually get.
The clock itself is VERY plastic-y and lightweight, and while I can't fault the quality of the finish, it somehow FEELs cheap.
If you live in an area where you get occasional power fluctuations, you'll find this clock very frustrating: In this price range, I would have expected it to wirelessly set the time using the MSF time signal broadcast. At the very least, I would have expected that it would allow me to insert some sort of backup battery - but no. Every time there's a blink in the power supply, you have to reset the time and alarm manually. This is a REAL bummer if it happens in the middle of the night, because the clock resets to startup mode - flashing on and off really brightly. It will wake you up wondering if the house is on fire or something.
(this has happened often enough now for me to re-write this review and change my formerly 3-star rating to 2 stars.)
The various settings for the clock are far from intuitive, and this isn't helped by the usual Philips minimalist approach to documentation, though it's simple enough once you figure it out.
The Natural Sounds are OK, but why only two (that are so similar to each other)? Other similar clocks seem to manage a half-dozen or so. A bit more variety would be nice.
Hence my so-so review. It's a very good alarm clock, but not quite as good as Philips must think, given its pricing.
If my freebie dies, I might buy another if it was in the £25-30 price range, but otherwise I'd look elsewhere.
PS -- I've come back, nearly a year later, to comment that the frustrations with this product just got worse and worse until eventually I put it in the bin! I wouldn't want another, even for free, unless they provided some sort of backup battery feature.