Product Type: Acctim gadgets
Newest Review: ... due care and attention. And some never made it into my suitcase because they were just too stupidly complicated to set and were consi... more
Acctim Atom Travel Alarm Clock
Member Name: koshkha
Acctim Atom Travel Alarm Clock
Advantages: Easy to set, sturdy and well designed - uses a single AA battery
Disadvantages: With mobile phone alarms it's less of a 'must have' than it used to be
As someone who spends an average of no more than three nights a week at home, it's fair to say that a travel alarm clock has always been an essential for me rather than a travel 'nice to have'. I've had many different travel alarm clocks over the years but the one that's really stood the test of time is my Acctim Atom travel alarm which I was surprised to find already listed on dooyoo. Surprised because I'd like to replace mine but so far have struggled to find another.
You may ask yourself why I need to replace it if it's such a great clock and the answer is simple but sad. After many years of faithful service, my poor old clock took a nose dive off a bedside table onto a hard tiled hotel floor and ended up with its guts hanging out - but remarkably still telling the right time. It has been 'repaired' by my husband (if you can call wrapping it in stickt tape a 'repair' - normally he'd have got out the silicone gun) and it's still doing pretty well but I think it would be kinder to put it into semi-retirement and give it a permanent bedside place and a less traumatically travel-intense life.
~ Past alarm clock failures and why this one is different~
There are many reasons why I've had so many alarm clocks. Many were abandoned when their tricky little batteries ran out and were going to cost more to replace than simply buying a new clock - shame on me and our throwaway society. A couple more were simply left behind when I left hotel rooms without due care and attention. And some never made it into my suitcase because they were just too stupidly complicated to set and were consigned to the charity shop bag. A final few were just not very likeable - often failing to win favour by not having snooze buttons.
The success of this one is based on several points. Firstly it's a good size - it's just over 7 cm by 7 cm when it's closed and it is 2 cm thick. It slips into the inside pocket of my suitcase without making a bulge. The front cover keeps the screen covered in transit and then folds back to become the stand when the clock is in use. It's big enough to see it clearly and to not be tempted to leave it behind. Secondly it's sturdy - right up to the point when my flailing arm sent it diving to the floor. Thirdly - and quite importantly - it uses only a normal every day AA battery - nothing fancy, nothing expensive and nothing you have to take to a professional to get if fitted. Finally - and most importantly - it's really easy to use. And since I'm either nearly asleep when I set it or totally asleep when it goes off, I don't want an alarm clock that takes the Krypton factor to set it.
~ Ready, SET, Go ~
The clock has a large screen with big bold easy to read numbers. It also has three buttons - two smaller, one larger - and a sliding button. That's the total of moving parts. The two smaller buttons set the hour and minutes and if the slide is set to the bottom function 'TIME SET' then twiddling with those buttons will allow you to set the time. Slide the button up a notch to 'ALM SET' and the same two buttons will set the time you want the alarm to go off. The third setting for the slide is 'SNOOZE' and this - somewhat counter-intuitively - turns the alarm on. The fourth setting of 'ALM OFF' means the alarm is not surprisingly off. You can tell when the alarm is set because the letters 'Zz' appear in the middle of the top of the screen and a symbol with four concentric quarter circles (signifying a noise or a speaker) appears in the upper left corner of the screen.
If you've been paying attention you may have spotted that I missed the big button and this is marked 'LIGHT & ALM STOP' because it works the light and it stops the alarm. When you wake up in the dark and want to know what time it is, pushing the button lights the digital screen and shows you the time. When the alarm starts beeping at some ungodly hour, pushing this button will set it to snooze.
I am the queen of the snooze button and previous alarms have bitten the dust for daring to not have snooze facilities. I can snooze until an early start turns into nearly late, happily cat napping away the minutes between the alarm kicking in again and again. Surprisingly, I didn't actually know what the duration between snooze alarms is despite using this for many years. I've had to do a quick snooze test to confirm that the time between alarms is 4 minutes. If I recall correctly, after an hour it gets annoyed with its lazy-bum owner and stops beeping, perhaps assuming I've left the house and forgotten it.
The alarm is a not too aggressive beeping sound. It starts slowly and the longer you ignore it, the more irate it becomes, the faster and more insistent the beeping gets and eventually it's an almost continuous noise. My tendency to repeatedly use the snooze button often means that I get out of bed, forget I've left the snooze on and then remember when I'm in the bathroom and have to run back and turn it off. I am a light sleeper and I don't need a loud alarm but my husband could sleep through the end of the world and he has sometimes missed this one. I cannot rule out of course that he's heard it and chosen not to respond, thus leaving me to run back from the loo in a bit of a frenzy.
From memory I would not have paid more than £6-8 for this clock and I change the battery about once a year when the display starts to fade. It has long been something I don't leave home without although with the advent of reliable smart phones, I would have to admit that it's not a drama these days if I forget to pack my clock and I'm actually starting to leave it at home more often than not as my phone offers me more flexibility with alarms. Ever since I had to start taking medication first thing in the morning, an hour before I eat, I've found it easier when travelling to set an early alarm to wake me for my tablets and then a couple of later ones to actually get me out of bed. I suspect that like so many other useful items, the travel alarm will be one more electrical item to eventually become obsolete and be replaced by a mobile phone function.
Summary: A faithful friend, always in my suitcase along with my bear
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