Newest Review: ... even if it has been used. Unsurprisingly, I did just that. I therefore cannot recommend the Avon Sunrise Alarm as it is a huge disappoin... more
** Winter Sunshine For A Tenner ***
Avon Sunrise Alarm
Member Name: malibu_jenny
Avon Sunrise Alarm
Advantages: Design, digital display, no wires and happier mornings.
Disadvantages: The worst snooze sequence!
You know what it's like getting out of bed on winter mornings. The heating's not on yet, it's dark outside and the shrill jarring alarm clock sets your teeth on edge and sends you stumbling into the bathroom with your eyes glued shut.
I started trying to make life more comfortable for myself last September, looking at the Philips sunrise alarm in John Lewis. The display model felt cheap and nasty, the staff had no idea how to even set the time on it, I hated the clock face and size and I left the shop feeling I'd saved the best part of £100. The Lumie Bodyclock seemed a good alternative, but this was bulky, fiddly and everything else I was desperate to avoid.
Still looking at Christmas, I spotted another Sunrise alarm for a fraction of the price. At £10, the Avon Sunrise had everything I wanted. A sunrise alarm needs to go right next to the bed, but with no proper plug sockets in the bedroom and an abhorrence of trailing wires I was delighted to see that this took batteries. It had a digital display - another tick in the box - and a blue backlight for waking in the night and checking the time. It came with a backup alarm sound if the light wasn't enough. Best of all, the design was remarkably sleek, curvy and compact without a horrid oversized giant bulb. I loved everything I saw.
Having not received it for Christmas, I bought it for myself a couple of weeks later. I hadn't seen it in action, but you can't have everything with mail order. It promised to wake you with a sunrise effect and I figured that even if it wasn't super powerful solar light, any light was good. I collected it gleefully from my pile of post at the front door and took it to The Boyfriend's house to open.
Plain box, layer of bubble wrap, miniscule typed instructions in Chinese and all the rest but I worked out how to set the time myself without and did so in under a minute. The most fiddly thing about setup was getting the battery case open. Really, this needed a teeny tiny screwdriver; the kind you'd get in a cracker or fix glasses with but The Boyfriend did it swiftly enough with a nail file. They could do with including this, but we managed. The alarm was as easy to set as the time and anxious to see the 'sunrise' I set it for half an hour's time. We put it on the mantelpiece, flicked off the light switch and settled down in front of the TV with MyDogs.
Ten minutes into the series of Gossip Girl I'd sky plussed, the light came on. Not very bright, but sudden and slightly shocking. Not really what I'd want 20 minutes before I had to get up, but it might not wake me. Anyway, we paused the TV and The Boyfriend went to put the kettle on. Five minutes later there was no discernible difference and we lost interest. It didn't get any brighter before the sound kicked in. If anything it looked a little dimmer.
I switched the buzzing off without any problems (you can have buzzing, light or both) and played with the backlight feature which was impressively responsive. The buttons on the clock are smooth and set into the silver case, although it's plastic and lightweight it had a really nice tactile feel and I still wanted to love it. For a few minutes after the alarm went off, I could turn the light on and off by using the slider on the back. But then that stopped working. This seemed to be not because it was broken, but because it just didn't do it after the alarm had been off for a while.
I set the clock before bed that night, timing the alarm for 10 minutes after I usually get up. The idea was that this way it wouldn't wake me up too early when it switched on. The following morning I woke up as soon as the initial light came on, although I felt better for being woken by a light and not a noise. I followed the same plan the second night with the same result.
Although you could hardly describe it as gradual, being woken by the light lets you linger in the space between deep sleep and the breakfast rush for a little longer and I can honestly say I like it. The light's handy for getting up and finding my slippers on the dark mornings and I feel more relaxed overall.
The only downside is the decision to snooze.... If I don't get up straightaway and I struggle back under the duvet, the light dims and eventually switches off. This is great when I'm in the shower at that time (as I should be), but crap when it sends me back into warm dreamy sleep with its sunset.
Yes, you can see the circuit boards through the back and the box carries no brand name, but it's the best tenner I've spent in a while and I'm a lot more impressed with this than I was with the Philips Sunrise or the Lumie Bodyclock. Get a light box or pills to cure SAD, move abroad to get a full natural sunrise in winter - buy this to get out of bed in a better mood for a very good price.
Summary: You could spend a lot more on a lot worse.