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Customer Review

82 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a light job of heavy work, 24 Sept. 2012
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I know what you're thinking... 'Coloured Sunrise Simulation Wake-up Light? Sounds a bit much'. You need not be skeptical, because in the time that I've been using these products, my mornings have never been so happy. Why oh why couldn't I have had one of these when I was at school.

How does it all work? It's entirely straightforward - this is a device that is designed to produce an artificial sunrise in your very own bedroom, and will therefore wake you up in the most natural way possible (apart from a bad hangover). No 'buzzing', no BRING-BRING, just light.

As soon as you take the product out of its box, it immediately recalls design cues from the 1998 Apple iMac, what with its 'dome' shape, transparent rear casing and vents hidden towards the back. This won't strike you as being a typical bedside clock, and given its large size I would just like to point out that the incredible ergonomics of this device may overwhelm anything else that is on your table. My previous Lumie sunrise clock now looks tiny in comparison.

Does the extra size return any favours for Philips' offering? This has to be a resounding yes, because the light fills the room easier and this means that you can set the intensity to a lower setting. I've also benefited from the larger clock display itself, the space to have a multitude of buttons (each with their own dedicated function, so you don't need to remember combinations) and perhaps best of all, the buttons on the front-face of the device are touch-sensitive, meaning it's silent to press them. The factory setting does include a 'beep' feedback, but you can turn this off.

The quality of the finish is also outstanding, and I haven't come to accept anything less from Philips to be perfectly honest. Each component of the outer casing/enclosure is made from a high quality plastic, and the lighting from clock is beautifully soft. I doubt sound quality was top of their list in this product, but the radio and wake-up effects still project clear dynamics.

This leads on to an interesting USP; you can have a sound recording accompany your sunrise. You've set your alarm time (you get 2 presets - one for week days, one for weekends), the sunrise time (how long it takes for the light to reach its maximum brightness) and volume level for the audio... then you can go on an pick from one of five different built-in sound effects to follow up from your sunrise. These include bird calls, a zen garden, woodland atmosphere, piano/new age sounds and the seaside. Are they actually any good? Well, that all depends on where you live for a start...

The only drawback here is that you can't preview the volume of the sound effects, so it's a process of trial and error this time round. You also have the option to wake up to the built-in FM radio, or of course, you can just listen to it at any point.

Like other sunrise alarm clocks, the main lamp itself can be used on its own without the alarm, which is handy if you just want to use the product as a 'bedside light' per sé. But to extend on this functionality, you can allow the lamp to gradually dim like a sunset too, so if you don't fancy just plunging into the depths of darkness, the device will slowly make the room go dark. Surprisingly, it's a very effective feature.

Compared to the Lumie products, Philips' offering is also far, far easier to use - largely because of the aforementioned controls. Each function has a dedicated button, so once you've learnt to navigate the device, it's much more instinctive to use. Like many Philips products however, the only thing missing is an instruction manual that actually 'is' instinctive, and doesn't require some deciphering. I can understand the need for hundreds of languages (and thank god, English is at the front), but the images and annotations can sometimes be... well, cryptic. Just as well the product's easy to use!

Since I had already owned a sunrise alarm clock for about a year, I had a good deal of knowledge for how to get the most from the concept and what works best for my own body clock. And while the HF3520 is packaged with a better design and more features, the actual wake-up is unsurprisingly similar to my Lumie, although I'll admit that the change in lighting hue was a nice addition. If I was to lean in favour of this product, it would be that the light does a better job of spreading around your space and therefore appearing more natural, whereas the Lumie felt somewhat constricted to wherever it sat. Philips seem to have done a better job of using plastic and film technologies to give the light a different 'glow'; one that is far more satisfying, no matter how simple it is to wake some one up.

All round, the HF3520 just seems like a more refined, purposeful product than others on the market, and although you'll be paying a bit more in return, the value is easily present. This is just a wonderful product from a company that understands the importance of simple concepts.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Sep 2012, 16:40:42 BST
If you go into demo mode you can preview the sound and the volume level and also the light brightness.

Posted on 17 Nov 2012, 23:25:57 GMT
Nadia says:
Does this lamp have LEDs or is it a light bulb? My current "redundant" sunrise alarm clock had a light bulb which died 6 months after buying it. When I tried to replace it, I found it was obsolete! So now the lamp is totally useless, £60 down the pan.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2013, 11:02:15 GMT
rubez says:
It uses LED.

Posted on 23 Nov 2016, 21:03:18 GMT
amazon, stop using reviews from those who get free products
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