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What's one of the biggest things in our lives that we take for granted? Ok so friends and family may be on the top of that list but a little further down would probably your concept of telling the time. This may sound like a silly thing and something that you aren't even able to take for granted but where would be without it? Time plays an important factor in all our lives and in everything we do. Whether it's a watch, mobile phone, clock or a computer we use all these things to tell the time and arrange our lives around it.
An alarm clock is something that virtually everybody has in their homes, it's one of life's necessary evils. LC are one of the market leaders in the field of time telling and they also produce jewellery boxes, wall art, mirrors and other special gifts. LC (London Clock Company - how appealing!) are known for their upmarket designs and if you're looking to buy one of their products you'll have to be willing to pay a little more than usual.
I came across this understated yet modern LC design in Argos about 2 years ago, it was then selling for £14.99. I'm surprised to see Argos still stock it, however unfortunately the price has now risen to £17.99 which may not break the bank but considering this is only something to wake you up in the morning it could be seen as a bit excessive.
The thing that grabbed me about this clock was simply the design (it may look like something a 12 year old boy would buy in the picture but believe me it's not!). It's a stony grey colour around the perimeter with a transparent digital face (see picture above).
*** Setting Up ***
Setting up requires 3 AA batteries which unfortunately aren't included in the box. The upside to this is, the clock doesn't consume battery power like some would expect - I had this clock around 18 months, using the alarm 5 days a week before I needed to change the batteries so the batteries definitely shouldn't put you off.
After inserting the batteries there really isn't any need to set this clock up at all. The clock is controlled by radio waves therefore you need to be careful where you put it. The instructions tell you that the best place to put it is by a window and away from metal objects. Everybody knows that people have alarm clocks on their bedside tables therefore this is a little off-putting at first, however I have had my clock on my bedside table a foot away from a metal safe and it works absolutely fine, which just goes to show you don't always need to follow instruction booklets! As I said, once the batteries have been inserted there isn't any setting up required, the clock will instantly display the date (day and month), the temperature in degrees Celsius and of course the time which also includes a second timer which I always like to have. When set up for the first time the clock will be set to a 24 hour clock, if you're a person who prefers the 12 hour clock this is easily changed. On the back of the clock you'll find three buttons - plus, minus and set. To change from a 12 hour to 24 hour format (and vice versa) all that needs to be done is the Set button pressed and the clock set forward by holding the plus button until you see the face change to a 24 hour format. It's unfortunate that there isn't a single button that can be pressed to differentiate between 12 and 24 hour formats however changing it isn't difficult at all and it's all explained clearly in the instruction booklet.
*** Alarm ***
Besides changing from the 12, to the 24 hour time format the thing that you'll need most frequently is the alarm feature. Working very random hours I need to set and reset my alarm clock on a day to day basis and it really is very simple. Pressing the Set button will change from the actual time to the alarm time on the face of the clock. Between the hour and the minute timer you'll see the letters 'AL' which help you differentiate between which time you're setting, (setting the actual time will show no letters). Once the Set button has been pressed all that's required is for you to use the plus and minus buttons to reach your desired wake up time before again pressing Set. On the back of the clock you'll find a sliding button with three options on it - Snooze, Alarm On and Alarm Off. The button will be automatically set to Alarm Off there you will need to slide it up one place to activate it. The button isn't at all fiddly and is changed easily and efficiently.
Ok so morning comes and although you're dreading your alarm going off you know it's coming... and yes there it is... you're awake... well sort of. Even though you know you're going to be woken in the morning you want it to be as pleasant and gentle as possible don't you? This alarm clock, astute as it is, realises that you don't want to be scared to death while you're still half asleep and unable to even open your eyes. The alarm wakes you very gently, it starts off as a quiet and infrequent beeping which increases in speed and volume as time ticks by. All that needs to be done to turn it off is to push the clock down from the top, this will put the alarm onto the snooze function, but beware if you don't slide the button on the back down to Alarm Off then the snooze function will cause the alarm to trigger again 5 minutes later.
I find the sound of the alarm to be completely adequate to wake me up in the morning, I'm a very light sleeper though and all it needs is a trickle of rain on the window to wake me. On the flip side however, my fiancé is a very deep sleeper and this even manages to wake him up in the morning too. Therefore for couples who get up at different times this may not be ideal but if you're not bothered about waking your partner up (I'm not!) then this is a great little gadget. It may not be the most pleasing of sounds, as nowadays some clocks wake you up with the sound of the radio. I however found that I would lay in bed and listen to the radio instead of getting up for work so this is a Godsend for me.
*** Facia ***
The facia is what lets this clock down slightly, it's completely transparent meaning that at certain angles you're unable to see the time. The numbers however are all very big and clear which at the right angle are extremely easy to see. The best angle to see the clock is to be slightly higher than it as the clock slants upwards a little. This isn't any good when you're in bed and you want to see the time though as unless you have a very high bed or a very low bedside table then you'll be forced to grab the clock and slant it downwards to make it possible to be seen.
Darkness is what creates the real problem for this clock. The digits don't glow in the dark, however there is a light function which can (or should I say, should) be used to illuminate the time. The light comes on by pressing the clock downwards in the same way that you would put the alarm onto snooze mode. The light illuminates all the outer edges of the clock, but not the actual time itself, making it difficult to see the time at night. This can be combated, again by slanting the clock downwards which makes the time visible. I've personally got used to doing this now, however it was irritating at first and I would prefer if there was a back light which lit up the time when pressed instead of just the outer edges which light up my entire bedroom better than it does for the time.
*** Overall ***
I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the market for a new alarm clock, if you think you can live with the slightly irritating facia that is. So far, after around 2 years I have encountered no problems with it, however the clock comes with a 1 year warranty so it pays to keep the receipt. All in all this is a very simple to use, effective alarm clock that despite its faults does its job and does it well.