When I get an idea in my head, I can sometimes become unhealthily obsessed.
My latest quest is for the perfect alarm clock. Let me take you back in time briefly.
I’ve owned two alarm clocks that I can recall. Throughout my teenage and university years, I had a white Morphy Richards radio alarm clock with an integrated light. The light was very nifty, good for saving space on the bedside table. If the light looks a bit like a phone handset, then you should know that that’s no coincidence, because they also produced a near-identical model with a phone instead of a light.
When I moved out on my own, one of the first things I treated myself to was something with an integrated CD player so that I could wake up to music of my choice. It’s the device that I use to this day, though I don’t tend to use it for its CD-playing abilities, nor as a radio. This is because Karen insists on a needlessly complicated and error-prone morning routine whereby her radio comes on at 7am, my alarm goes SQUAWK SQUAWK at 7:30am, and then we actually get out of bed at 7:48am when radio 4 tries to foist Thought For The Day upon us. So I don’t need something that can play sweet music, just something that can make a noise.
However, while it’s good, it could be better. I’ve decided that it’s time to find the perfect alarm clock, and here are the features I’m looking for:
- An alarm that starts off quiet, and gradually gets louder. Something we discovered about my alarm clock, when we went on holiday and I forgot to deactivate my alarm, is that it doesn’t turn off. Ever. My neighbour, who has a copy of our front door key, had to let herself in and turn it off, which was a bit embarrassing. So, yeah, if the alarm could also have the facility to “give up” after five minutes, that would be great.
- Radio-controlled. Having to manually adjust the clocks twice a year is just so 20th century. We’re living in the future, we should be past that.
- Automatic brightness. An LED display that’s bright enough to be seen by day is unnecessarily bright in the dead of night.
I recently tried ordering a new alarm clock off of Amazon (hey, remember that debacle with the car stereo?) but am having to send it back, as it has the following flaws:
- The display is nonsense. Rather than an LED display, it’s LCD, which would be fine, but the viewing angle on it means that you can only really see it clearly when you’re standing over it. When lying down in bed, with the display on the same level as your head, the digits are so faded as to be nearly invisible. Another thing about LCD is that it’s not illuminated automatically, so a built-in backlight is necessary for when you want to know what the time is in the dark. Which would also be fine, but the one installed on this is searingly bright.
- The alarm, supposedly a crescendo alarm, starts off quiet, as a crescendo alarm should. However, instead of then getting louder, it just beeps faster and more insistently, while maintaining the same quiet volume. I’m not convinced that this will actually be effective in waking me up.
So the search continues. Sadly, it looks like Morphy Richards don’t make alarm clock radios any more, which is a shame as my experience with them so far has been pretty good.
Tell me about your alarm clock and why I should get one.
Well as you know, my John Lewis alarm clock is excellent, and I enjoy waking to the news of some distant atrocities bring trusted by John Humphreys. Sadly this post is already out of date, thanks to having to get up a whole bloody hour earlier. That’s my sleeping time, that is. Roll on half term.
I use my iPhone, and a ‘morning’ lamp that gradually brightens.
The iPhone ‘Bedtime’ app is what I use, although it doesn’t have ‘Crescendo’ settings… but I did use AlarmClockPro (or something) which had that functionality (and which I might go back to)
I plug the phone in away from my bed to make sure I get up, and have a separate clock to show the time (red LED which I’ve further muted with same blue plastic over the face).
Ah, I’m very much a “phone off overnight” kinda guy, but yeah I’m well aware of the fact that clock radios aren’t as ubiquitous as they once were, simply as so many people just use their phones. Likewise watches.