Sunrays dawn simulator alarm clock review

There’s something about being violently jolted from be at 6 in the morning by the siren setting on my iPhone that just doesn’t sit well with me. I love my iPhone, but every morning at 6 am it feels like it is punching me in the face and chastising me for being so lazy.

The sunrays alarm clock is different – it’s more like a gentle tap on the shoulder and a firm voice saying “come on, get up. You know you have things to do. Like write a review of the sunrays alarm clock.”

Sunrays-alarm-clock

There is a lot of “science” in the sunrays alarm clock press junket – something to do with how we are hard coded to wake up to sunlight rather than obnoxious buzzing sounds, and how light is clearly much better for us. I’m always a little wary of “science” in press releases – they are unlikely to add negative or inconclusive findings so I’ve read some highly doubtful claims in my time. However I spoke casually to 3 folks with phD’s about the sunrays alarm clock and they all casually shrugged and said, “yeah that should work”. Pleased with the results of my own transparent study, I decided to test one out.

So how does it work? Well as you can see, it’s a big plastic box, with a transparent cover and some buttons on the back. You  flip the lid down and screw in a light bulb,  plug it in and wait for the magic to happen. That might sound sarcastic, but come 6 am the next morning, my room has gradually and almost imperceptibly, filled with piercingly bright “sun rays” and without quite knowing why, I was awake. And what’s more, it was a much more relaxed way to get up – unlike the aggressive “Siren” setting that I’d grown accustomed to.

But (and forgive me if this is starting to sound like an advertorial) the sunrays alarm clock is packed with more features then an issue of The New Yorker. It works as a regular lamp, has a mood lighting setting (you can bathe your whole room in Princely purple if you so desire), natural sounds, an aux input for mp3s and an aroma function that lets you wake up or fall asleep to  scent oils or dry leaves – that sort of thing.

Is it perfect? No of course not. It feels a bit cheap and plasticky to touch to touch, it looks awkward and bulky and the mood lighting could be stronger. But if your looking for an alternative way to wake up in the morning, then this is one alarm clock I *ahem* have a lot of time for. awkward and bulky and the mood lighting could be stronger. But if your looking for an alternative way to wake up in the morning, then this is one alarm clock I *ahem* have a lot of time for.

Sunrays is £79.99 from here http://www.jmldirect.com/Sunrays-Alarm-Clock-PS1136/

Logic 3’s i-Station TimeCube review

So it would seem that iPod docks have become so prevalent, that simply playing back sound from your iDevice is no longer enough, and more and more dual (or more) function devices are appearing. Previously we looked at the GEAR4 Halo, a £99 alarm dock that had a lovely bass-filled kick to it and a superb app to accompany your listening experience. We also had a look at the We also had a look at the Exspect TIME iPod dock, which was about half the price, and looked stunning – but lacked the same level of audio quality as the Halo.

Logic-3-i-Station-TimeCube

Well now there is a new kid on the block. Though given its cube-like design one might say there is a new block on the kind. Although one probably shouldn’t. Logic 3’s i-Station TimeCube is tiny and designed to fit snugly on a bedside table. The design harks back to the chunky plastic alarm clocks of a bygone era, as does the massive shiny LED that dominates the front of the device.

The big chunky buttons that adorn the device carry out a variety of functions, such as adjusting volume, tuning the FM radio, or hitting that all-important snooze button. The snooze button also dims the bright red screen, useful if you want to cut down on glare. The buttons give off a nice satisfying click, which is good when adjusting in low light conditions. Or when you are half-asleep. The LED has a slight odd viewing angle – if you move it to extreme positions to the side, or above your eye line it becomes hard to distinguish. But at conventional viewing angles things work fine.

Sound quality is respectable. Like the TIME you probably couldn’t rock a party just using this, but it is more that adequate for the average sized bedroom. And the 3.5 mm dock allows other PMPs to join in on the fun.
At only £39.99 from an online retailer near you the i-Station TimeCube is definitely decent value for money and would probably make a great christmas gift for at least one person you know.

PURE Twilight dawn simulator and alarm clock: Mood awakening

Being rudely awakened by the dreaded alarm clock blasting out to all of sundry may be an affliction of the past. Thanks to PURE Twilight, a digital alarm clock that formulates the perfect atmosphere for emerging from a great night’s sleep feeling refreshed, energized and ready to tackle any challenge the day might offer.

PURE-Lifestyle-Dawn

PURE – one of the world leaders in producing radios – claim Twilight is the world’s first combined dawn simulator and digital radio. The alarm clock’s unique comforting powers can aid a restful night’s sleep for adults, children and babies. This multi-aiding alarm clock gently purrs soothing lullabies to help lull a baby to sleep, whilst adults can use Twilight as an atmospheric reading light, to help relax at bedtime. Different mood light modes can also be set, such as ‘Ocean’, whose calming hues of blues and green resonate an ocean scene, ‘Rainbow’, which softly rotates through the colours of the rainbow, and ‘Fire’, which flickers passionately from red to orange. Once slumber-seekers feel hazily relaxed, they can turn the light off with ease by pressing Twilight’s touch-sensitive glass dome.
On waking, Twilight can be programmed to several different alarm setting, including FM radio, digital radio or an authentic tone, such as a cockerel crowing, church bells chiming and wind chimes whistling.

Similar to the majority of PURE’s bedside radios, Twilight comes equipped with a PowerPort, which enables users to plug in USB accessories, often solving the problem of inadequate power points within close proximity to the bed. Twilight also an auxiliary input for an MP3 Player or an iPod.

With the increasing energy needs Western consumers are demanding from the world, any technological gadget that produces efficient energy is irrefutably positive. Being the most “efficient energy product of its kind”, PURE’s Twilight not only wakes users calmly and serenely, but having the knowledge that their new radio/alarm clock uses as little energy output as a 45W incandescent light bulb, will aid feelings of virtue, righteousness and calm.

With today’s hectic, gadget-reliant lifestyles, owning an environmentally-friendly, tranquil-invoking and calm-enhancing gadget is likely to be a breath of fresh air. Consequently PURE’s Twilight, retailing at a reasonable £129.99, may be the perfect Christmas gift for all our stressed-out, sleep-deprived loved-ones out there.

TIME iPod alarm clock and speaker dock review

Exspect’s design team deserve a pat on the back. As someone who is emailed literally 3 times a week with new iPod dock releases, I have a somewhat jaded view of that genre of device. As a result the raised eyebrow that came when Exspect’s TIME iPod speaker dock hit my inbox was genuine.

TIME-dock

As you can see from the image above, the Expect, when fully docked with an iPhone forms a replica analogue clock face. Your iPhone serves double duty as the “12” and the clock face via an app that automatically installs when you first install the app (well I had to give it a few goes but eventually it installed on an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4).

With its sleek, slimline silver frame and piano black face, the TIME dock is actually striking and makes a really good “statement” piece for your bedside table.

It also comes with a rather basic remote control that allows you to skip, play and pause tunes and switch between the music player or radio app. There is also a snooze button built into the remote, but I can imagine that being a little counter productive – I like the physical process of wandering over to the snooze button. Unfortunately playback is a little basic – so you can’t access iTunes playlists from within the app, which is useful if you are using the dock for music playback.

The built app allows access to the Music player, as well as the radio app and of course enables you to set alarms clocks. The interface is simple and straightforward but lacking the graphical flourishes of the bundled app that comes with the GEAR4 alarm dock.

The sound quality is also a bit thing and not quite up to the GEAR4’s level of bass – it’s great as an alarm clock but not quite up to task as a fully-fledged iPod dock, in part due to the limitations of the app, which could hopefully be addressed by an update. At £49.99, it is half the price of the GEAR4 and replicates the main functionality of that device and has a pretty striking look so it is definitely something worth checking out if you are a student, or person on a budget.

GEAR4 AlarmDock Halo iPod review: iPod dock around the clock

GEAR4 offered us the chance to spend a few nights with their new AlarmDock Halo speaker docking station. How could we say no?

The UK-based audio brand have release a relatively stylish little iPod dock that doubles up as an alarm clock. Small enough to fit on a bedside table the Halo has a little LCD clock just above your iPod and a big old fashioned snooze button just on top of that. The white plastic finish reminded me of iPods of yesteryear and the curved design goes beyond functional.

gear-4-halo

The sound quality from the dock was decent. Whilst lacking in room-filling bass it managed to subtly boost audio to acceptable levels for what is a bedroom-based device. As a living room dock it would average, but for day and night time listening in the bedroom the Halo, which has a built in subwoofer, displayed a relatively robust performance. There is a supplied remote that deals with volume and song playback. It’s a nice and click but a little bit hard to read in the dark – a little frustrating as I spent a lot of time using the unit in the very late or very early hours.

As any reader of this site should know, decent iPod docks are in no short supply. What makes the Halo special is the alarm dock functionality they have included thanks to the SmartDock app that “unlocks” additional functionality – or provides a more appealing way to access it. Installing the app from the walled garden is simple, and syncing is easy – just plug your iDevice in. You can set alarms on the device or on your iPod and they will sync on connection.

The Halo comes with a built in FM radio and has a little aerial out the back for reception. The SmartDock app has an autoscan function that makes tuning easy, and there is a fine tune option if you have signal problems. You can also control iTunes from within the dock, which is nice if you want to set some music to fall asleep to – or indeed a play list to wake up with. If you set music to sleep mode the volume will slowly decrease until the unit switches itself off, which was handy for obvious reasons.

The £99.99 dock should be yours to buy in shops from November.

Sony’s serene, hi-tech alarm clock

If your anything like me you dread the noise that emanates from traditional alarm clocks, my current alarm clock sounds like something from an alien planet – it’s a high-pitched foreign screech – I hate it. But Sony is about to release the serene and soothing ICF-C71PJ (we know it doesn’t sound that serene) but trust me this alarm clock looks to change the world of alarm clocks.

Sony-Alarm-Clock

Gone are the alien alarm noises and taking their place are five built-in soothing sounds from the natural world that provide you with an alternative to those annoying high frequency noises. You can choose from crisp digital recreations of undersea world, waves, mountain brook, rainfall or a birdsong to suit your mood.

The compact brushed aluminium finish will no doubt look great in anyone’s bedroom. It’s the first alarm clock to feature a built-in projector, which will project the time on to your wall or ceiling allowing for comfortable viewing.

There are multiple ways for this alarm clock to wake you; these include listening to your favourite radio shows with the FM/AM digital tuner, or you can plug-in your iPod or any other personal music player into the audio jack and listen to your favourite songs as you welcome in a new day.

Other notable inclusion are a built-in thermometer, which will give you the ambient temperature of your bedroom, making it a valuable way to check whether you have your heating set correctly for a good nights sleep.

This alarm clock dispels the problem of a late night power cuts with a battery back-up, which ensures that you always wake on time every time.

Sony have obviously spent a lot of time thinking about what functions a really good alarm clock should have, and they have decided that you shouldn’t hate you alarm clock – you should love it. And I think you will love this alarm clock, you will almost certainly hate the name, but for everything else it’s serene, thoughtful and full of features.