“ Brand: Marks and Spencer / Type: Alarm Clock „
I've always had an obsession with clocks. It sounds strange, I know, but I've always had to have at least three different clocks in my bedroom (and most other rooms too, for that matter!) at any one time. And, of course, the time is also displayed on my mobile which is never far from my side, so technically you could probably say I have four.
Having already purchased a larger, similar, alarm clock to this one (it was black, and about the size of a small dinner plate), when I saw this mini alarm clock in red, I just had to have it to sit with my larger black one. Now, admittedly, the larger black one was really rather different in design, and even the clock face wasn't the same, but I still thought it would be cute to have a large one and a mini one next to each other.
This clock is about 8cm x 5cm, and probably a couple of centimetres deep, so it's not very big at all. I'd say it's about a quarter of the size of my other one, to be honest. The design on the clock face is a Quartz analogue clock, which are known for making high quality clock faces. The hands are glow in the dark as well, which I thought was pretty cool!
As far as I know this clock is only available in red, but I may be wrong. This is the only colour I've ever seen it in, and a little research hasn't pulled up any other colours either. If I'm wrong though, feel free to correct me!
Having bought so many different clocks over the years, I have no idea how much this one cost, given that it's a few years old now, and scouring the internet hasn't helped me much either as it seems they no longer sell this model and neither does anywhere else, but I would imagine that it wouldn't have cost more than about £7.50, given I rarely pay more than that for a clock. (The larger black one did cost about £15 though, saying that! I remember that one because it was so much more money! Haha).
So, what was it like as a clock, I suppose you're asking? Well, it kept time well. Kept, being the optimum word. It was dropped on the floor (well, kind of thrown by my cat who decided it's loud ticking was getting annoying right next to his head, given he had decided to sleep there, and battered it off the cabinet!). Ever since, it has struggled to keep time, and often seems to get about half an hour behind over the course of a week or so. But, I suppose, the fact that I still have the big black one means that I can tell the time anyway, and I just ignore the time on the little red one now. It's just there to look pretty, really.
Since then it has also become almost entirely impossible to set the alarm. See, you have to set the alarm to go off four and a half hours before you want it to go off, and it'll go off exactly when you want it to. Well, for a few seconds. Then it seems to run out of steam and the alarm gets stuck somewhere and it stops going off. For me, this is still enough to wake me up if I was to use it, but as I said before, I just use the black one now.
I'll ignore the fact that my cat broke it for now, though, and I'll tell you about how it was before. It kept time well. Almost too well. It was never more than thirty seconds out, which obviously is a very good sign. The alarm was easy enough to set, just moving an additional hand around to the time you wanted it to go off at and it would go off right on time. It was easy to turn off, having to simply push down the button on the back and it would fall silent again. One thing I've often found with alarm clocks like this is that they tend to vibrate across the table if the alarm is too loud, but this isn't something that I found was a problem with this one at all. It stayed exactly where you put it, with the alarm being loud enough to wake you up without sending the clock off the table. Exactly what I was looking for, really.
The only real issue I've ever had with this clock (before my cat broke it, of course!) was that the ticking could be a bit loud (but I like the ticking noise, so it wasn't a problem for me, although I could see it being a problem for others which is why I've included it).
Overall, I would say that this is a very good alarm clock, provided that it doesn't get dropped!
When we finished decorating our bedroom a few months ago, I decided to buy some new ornaments and other items to provide some eye-catching detail and 'finish' the room off. One such item that I had considered buying was a new alarm clock, and I rather fancied getting one that was in the 'old fashioned' analogue design with an actual clock face and 'hands' rather than a digital or electronic model.
I stumbled across the Marks & Spencer "Mini Twin Bell Alarm Clock" purely by accident, whilst browsing in a local branch of M&S at the end of last year. I noticed immediately that the clocks on display were very brightly coloured, and attractively eye-catching and decided there and then to snap up one of the bright red models (as shown in the picture on the Dooyoo page at the top of this review) to provide a little colour at our newly-painted bedside.
Paying only £5 for the little clock, I was thrilled to have found this seemingly-perfect addition to my bedroom, and thought the price was incredibly good value for such an attractive-looking clock.
The design of the clock face is very similar to some plastic 'travel alarm' clocks that I have owned in the past, with the face being a bright white colour, and the numbers - and little 'spacers' between them - being in a bold black colour which makes them appear to be easy to read as they stand out so much. The 'casing' of the clock itself is made of a durable thick plastic which has quite a 'high gloss' look to it, making the whole clock look like it is made from metal. The "Twin Bells" on top of the clock are indeed made of metal, but their presence is not to provide the alarm for this clock, which is in fact a battery-operated device, but to add to the design and overall 'look' of the clock itself. There is a little metal 'handle' on top of the metallic twin bells, which is ideally situated to allow the clock to be held or carried easily, but it also gives an attractive look to the clock itself as the 'silver' colour of the handle contrasts nicely with the red colour of the clock. This could be said also of the silver or chrome-coloured feet - and surrounding metal support on the underside of the clock - that provides further contrasting detail to the glossy red finish.
The clock is a lightweight design, and is really quite small, which gives it a delightfully 'petite' look to its overall design. The clock measures approximately three inches high, from the metal handle down to the bottom of its little chrome-coloured metal feet. The lightweight design and compact size of the clock make it an ideal time-keeper to take on travels or holiday in my opinion, as this clock is no more cumbersome or heavy than your average travel alarm clock.
'Setting Up' was very easy to do. All I had to do was remove a little plastic 'tab' from the reverse of the clock, which was situated in the battery compartment. I didn't encounter any difficulties in doing so, and the process took only a few seconds. As soon as the plastic tab was removed, I could hear the clock 'ticking', thanks to the addition of a thick black second hand on the clock face itself.
The final stage required to complete the 'Setting Up' process was of course to set the required time on the clock. There are several little buttons and dials situated on the reverse of the clock - on the back of the clock face itself - and it didn't take long to figure out what all of the dials were for. For starters, the 'Alarm' dial has a little picture of a bell next to it, whereas the other circular dial has a sort of vertical design next to it, so it was easy to match the functions of the clock with their corresponding dials and buttons. The 'time setting' dial is actually a sort of plastic 'wheel' that can be turned very easily, even though it is small and quite neat as a result of the miniature size of the clock itself. The plastic wheel has a sort of 'ridged' design to it which provides an easy grip to turn the wheel and I didn't encounter any difficulty in carrying out this process. When the wheel is turned, the hands on the clock face turn also, and so it is obviously just a case of turning the wheel around until you have set the clock to read the correct time.
The alarm function on the clock is very easy to set also. There is an additional 'hand' on the clock face itself which is solely for the alarm function, and it doesn't move unless you are moving it to set or adjust the alarm time. The alarm function can be set very easily, thanks to the additional dial or 'wheel' on the reverse of the clock, as I touched on earlier. You can set the alarm time using the same process as setting the time on the clock too, and the process is just as quick and easy to carry out.
The spacing on the clock has been designed to allow you to set your alarm accurately, and the presence of some additional little 'lines' between the large numbers on the clock allows you to work out the time you wish the alarm to go off. I have not found that the process is at all difficult to carry out and the alarm takes a mere moment to set. Once you have moved the 'alarm' hand on the clock to your required time, you need to tell the alarm it has been 'set', which is easy to do thanks to the addition of a little plastic button which is also located on the reverse of the clock face. You have to move the button up to set it, and down to turn the alarm function off. There is a little arrow diagram next to the button, with the words 'ON' and 'OFF' being printed clearly next to it to help avoid confusion. When the alarm rings, you can switch it off by moving the plastic switch down again, putting it to the OFF position, and so the whole process of setting the alarm, and switching it off again is really not difficult to comprehend or utilise in my opinion.
When the alarm rings, it is surprisingly loud, especially given the petite, miniature size of the clock! We have had no problems with the alarm failing to wake us up. A loud sort of 'Beeping' noise continues until the alarm is switched to the OFF position, using the button on the clock.
The battery on the clock can be replaced using the appropriate circular opening on the reverse of the clock. It is marked with arrows showing which way the opening should be turned, and there are instructions on how to carry out this process - including what type of circular battery to buy - enclosed in the box with the clock.
I have found one or two little minor 'niggles' with this clock, but there is nothing so major to make me regret my purchase and on the whole, this little clock is a real little gem in my opinion. In saying that, I feel slightly deceived by the addition of some yellow 'markings' on the minute and hour hands on the clock face itself. When I bought the clock, I immediately assumed that because these markings were yellow they had a glow-in-the-dark facility to them. This is not the case at all, and I actually find it difficult to see the time on the alarm in the dark. I would still have bought the clock, whether the yellow markings were there or not, but I can't really see any reason for them being there and feel that the clock hands may as well be completely black in colour.
Another little point to note is that the 'ticking' on this clock is really quite loud. It is not loud enough to keep us awake, but it is definitely noticeable, especially at first, and the clock took a little getting used to as a result. I feel that the loud 'tick tock' noise on this clock might be a negative point for some consumers and so I feel it is relevant to this review.
According to the Marks & Spencer website, the Mini Twin Bell Alarm Clock is available to buy in three colours, which are the red colour I am reviewing here, as well as a pink or black option, although I have only ever seen them available to buy in-store in either red or black.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and think this little alarm clock offers amazing value for money! I really like the overall design and look of the clock too and would recommend it as being both attractive and functional.