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I'm one of those people who spent the last five or so years using their mobile phone as an alarm clock. On several occasions my phones battery ran out during the night and I missed important meetings, mornings at work or just ruined my sleeping pattern. I told myself that I needed to pick myself up an alarm clock for the first time in years. It took me a while of walking around shops to find the Philips AJ3231/05 and I haven't looked back since.
Setting the clock up was relatively easy. All I had to do was set the time and then set the time that I wanted to be woken up. The best thing about this alarm clock is that the light is quite dim, even on its highest setting which is a good thing for light sleepers such as myself.
The radio doesn't exactly sound anything special though. It sounds sort of tinny and rather distant. Remember those old travel radios from years ago? Well the Phillips Aj3231/05 sounds just like one of those. I will say one thing though, it is a nice design. My brother told me it looks like something from the future and I have to agree with him there.
To target oversleeping the alarm does have a snooze button which means the alarm will sound 9 minutes later and keep repeating until you press the snooze button again or turn the alarm off altogether. This is refreshing compared to my mobile phone.
(I'VE ALSO POSTED THIS ON CIAO)
My radio alarm clock was playing up more and more and I was getting a bit frustrated with it when I realised that it was 16 years old and my parents had bought it for me as a present when I got straight A's (the one and only time!) for grades at school. It has served me well over the years, only occasionally letting me down (generally due to human error) but it was definitely time for an upgrade! It took me a surprisingly wide search to find an alarm clock within my budget that looked decent, the cheap ones looked, well, cheap, and the only ones that I liked the style of were ridiculously expensive but then I came across the Philips AJ3231 Radio alarm clock and I decided that it would be the right choice.
The Philips AJ3231 looks very sleek and stylish. It has a mirrored 13.5cm squared screen which acts as a useful mirror - I have utilised it several times in the night if I have got something in my eye or likewise. The bottom few centimetres of the front panel is brushed silver plastic with the word "Philips" on the front, so from first look it is very contemporary and simple. When it is plugged in, the number display is in the centre of the mirrored screen and is orange, there is a button on the side to enable you do have it brighter or dimmer - I have mine dimmed as I feel that it is sufficient and the brighter setting is not as easy on the eye in the darkness. The back and sides of the alarm clock are black plastic, but if you angle it in the correct position, you cannot see this at all from the front. The base is only 6cm wide so it has a tendency to be slightly unstable and does easily knock if you are too heavy handed.
This alarm has a dual alarm which means that you can set it for two times, and flick between the two - I find this really useful because sometimes I can have an extra half hour sleep if I'm not doing the school run and this function means that I don't have to mess around with different times every day. Setting the clock and the alarms is an easy process - there are up and down buttons on the side of the unit which are self explanatory - the numbers move quickly through the 24 hour clock if you press and hold so setting takes no time at all. I also like that it is a 24 hour display - one too many times on my old alarm I have been caught out by having it on pm when it should have been am, but I cannot make this mistake with this clock,
The wake-up call is either in the form of the beeping, or you can have the radio coming on. The buzz is quite a pleasant sound - it is loud enough that it wakes you up, but it isn't so loud that it scares the life out of you! The radio tunes easily with a dial on the side (FM and MW) and it is very good at picking up a reception. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the sound, this is helped by the unit having a good sized speaker on the back - there is a jack on the back also so an MP3 player or other audio device can be played via the unit. It is far too easy to adjust the radio volume in my opinion, it is on a rolling dial which could easily be accidently turned down to mute and so your alarm would not be heard - this is the sort of thing that I would do so I generally have my alarm on buzz where the volume cannot be altered.
When the alarm goes off, you can press the "repeat alarm" button on the top and this switches of the alarm and repeats six minutes later - always a necessary function in my opinion! The button is easy to locate as it is right at the front on the top of the unit and is a generous size, it has a satisfying click when pressed and does not require too much pressure which is a good feature if you wake up with a dead hand! To turn the alarm off and reset it for tomorrow, press "alarm reset "which is not so easy to find if you are sleepy as it is virtually flat to the unit and in between two other buttons both of which mean you could easily have the radio blaring out unintentionally with a slight slip of the hand.
If you want to listen to the radio whilst you drift off to sleep, it is possible to press the "sleep" button and the radio will turn off by itself up to a maximum of 59 minutes later, I use this regularly and think that it is a useful feature and I also use it if I am upstairs during the day and want to listen to the radio.
A battery back-up is essential for me living in the countryside where the power supply is often interrupted intermittently. The 9v battery which is inserted into the bottom of the clock will maintain the setting for up to a day if the power fails, otherwise as soon as the unit is unplugged all data is lost. The power cable is 150cm long which I think is a generous amount and even if you haven't got a plug directly by your bedside table (big hint to my electrician husband) it should be enough to reach something.
The instruction manual that comes with the alarm clock is well laid out and easy to understand; it gives you all the information that you will need and also a few trouble shooting tips that are fairly self-explanatory but might be useful to a consumer all the same. The clock comes with minimum packaging which is mostly recyclable apart from the polythene which I know has kept the display free of scratches whilst in transportation.
I bought my Philips alarm clock from Comet for £19.99 but after a quick internet search, I have found that it can be purchased widely both on the internet and the high street for £15 - £25. I am very pleased with my purchase; I know that it isn't an all singing and dancing digital model but I trust it, it fulfils my basic needs well and looks very good in the process.
My last alarm clock finally gave up the ghost a while back, so I started to hunt around for a new one to replace it. One of the annoying problems we did have with the last clock (which we were given) was that the figures were quite big and bright (and probably would not have gone amiss on an airfield!), which did become annoying at night and for ages we just lay the clock flat to cover the brightness up. So this time we wanted something that would be a little more discreet and also have a radio with it, which is something that we've not had before in an alarm clock.
I had a load of Nectar points to spend, so I was kind of drawn towards Argos and came across this one. At the time, it had over 75 reviews, averaging a 4 star rating overall, so I thought it seemed to have some good endorsement to recommend it.
I paid just short of £20 for it, and it still seems to be a similar price now. Out of the box, it does look to be a very smart radio alarm clock. The front panel is actually a darkened mirror, where you can't actually see anything behind it, and all the switches and buttons are discreetly hidden away around the sides and across the top, and are colour coded (black down the sides, silver across the top) to match their surroundings. It's not actually that big either, being 170 mm high by 140 mm wide and 75 mm deep, although it is shaped a little like a wedge where the front panel slopes away from you. So stood on its own, this device does look good and stylish.
The clock radio is mains operated, but you also have a battery backup via a 9V battery that is discretely tucked away behind a panel underneath should you have a mains power failure. When we've had a power failure, the figures disappeared, but the battery ensured that the clock still maintained the time correctly ready for when the mains come back on again.
When you put the device on, the figures glow a sort of golden yellow through the front mirror panel. There is a switch on the side where you can select either bright or dim, and they are discreet and don't really light up the room at night. Down the left hand side are all your controls to adjust the time and to set the alarms, of which there are 3 to choose from. You have a choice of waking to the radio as an alarm, or there are 2 electronic tone alarms, of which one is sort of high pitched, the other one is low pitched, and when they go off, the make a slow beep beep sound.
Now interestingly, the higher pitched alarm initially seems fairly quiet, and reading through some of the reviews at Argos, some people had complained that it was too quiet. But one day, I forgot to switch the alarm off when I went for a shower, and when I came back, it was making quite a racket. What appears to happen is that the alarm gradually rises in loudness if you don't switch it off, and I found this to be equally applicable to the low pitched alarm as well. I couldn't find this rising loudness fact mentioned anywhere in the literature or on the web, and I suppose most people wouldn't notice it because they just switch the alarms off when they hear them. But it is worth noting if you are worried that the alarm wouldn't wake you with this clock radio.
Across the top you have the main snooze button (nice and big and easy to find), which gives you something like 10 minutes extra, which is pre-set. You also have the alarm off or reset button, the radio on/off button and the alarm sleep button. Down the right hand side you have your radio tuning dial for either FM or MW at the top, followed by a band selection switch, which also has a third option of Aux, because neatly tucked away around the rim of the back is a 3.5 mm jack plug which you can connect to your Ipod or other mp3 player to play through the clock's speaker. Again coming down the right hand side further, you have the brightness switch that I mentioned earlier followed at the bottom by the volume dial for the radio. Of note, the radio itself does actually have a very good sound quality on it and isn't in any way 'tinny' in my opinion.
If I were to give any negative points about it in order to balance this review, it would be to do with the adjustment buttons to adjust the time or the alarm settings. For some reason, the forward button runs extremely fast - a quick blip and you've gone 15 minutes. But the back button is really really slow. So setting the time or alarm correctly often means that you have to over shoot the time you want, and then use the back button to slowly rewind to the desired setting. It's only a minor problem once you get used to it, but it is worth noting.
In summary, this clock looks good, is stylish and has a nice radio. Reading some reviews might say that the alarms are too quiet, but I've since determined that there is that 'hidden' gradual increase in the loudness that many probably don't know about. And even given the 'warp speed' fast forward button issue, I still think that this is probably the best bedside clock that I have ever had.
So definitely worth 5 stars from me.
The sleep function does not work at all, and this looks like a faulty product.The sound is tinny, the buttons are conveniently placed and the display and size of unit good.
This clock radio is silver rimmed with a rather garish yellow clock display. There is a sleep button on the top (large so easy to whack early in the morning) and an easy to use off/on button. There are two alarms, and you can set it to alarm sound, or radio, the latter is what I use. Setting the time can take an age if you want to go back yet when going forwards it goes so quickly it's difficult to set it to the exact time needed! The tuner for the radio is fiddly and actually often misses the station you want, or the sound comes out crackly and reception is poor. The volume is not very loud, and I have to have it full blast for it to wake me, but then maybe that's just me and my deep sleep. I am a teenager, after all!
Not bad, but then not perfect.