“ Sharper Image Design's Travel Soother 20 Radio/Alarm Clock features an extraordinary speaker with state-of-the-art aluminum cone driver technology. „
I bought my "Travel Soother" from Sharper Image.co.uk a few weeks weeks ago now, since my birthday. I have tried all of the features on it so that I can enjoy telling you all about it. Firstly though, the reasons I bought it were: 1. noisy neighbour through the wall that has her radio on all through the night, so the drone and beat annoys me. 2. sometimes brain-numbingly loud and monotonous electric sub-station across from my window that drives me MAD. 3. Space-saving: my existing radio is a big thing with cd player etc, so not convenient for on my bedside table. 4. wanted to treat myself to some kind of gadget. As you can imagine, especially if one of the above reasons sound familiar, I was so relieved and excited at the prospect of finally getting some peace from secondhand noise pollution at night. I had a weapon. I must point out that the description online at several sites that stock it, or describe it/rate it, is incomplete, and when I was researching it prior to purchase I wish I knew about its extra functions. These were the functions that I desperately needed, and thought I would need to find ways around it. eg- there is a built-in timer which "ramps down" the volume, therefore you can set it to play radio or soother sounds for up to 120 mins while you get to sleep. Then it will automatically, gently reduce the volume towards the end until it switches itself off. Excellent! I thought I was going to have to buy a plug in timer for it, or leave it playing all night. I thought there may be issues with the power adaptor being plugged into the timer socket, and even contacted Sharper Image about this. The design dept. eventually did reply to my first email, but they say I would need to take special measure to use a timer with it. Thankfully that is not needed now, if only I'd known it was ready equipped! :) I was rather irritated that this was the only place in the UK that would suppl
y a "white noise" machine. All the other places I found online were in the US. We need to catch up in this country. How many of us AREN'T affected by unwanted noise? There are so many other features crammed into this little, modern looking, travel radio; let me begin listing them: The soothing digitally recorded sounds to choose from are: 1. White noise (just a sharp loud hiss = a bit harsh for me) 2. Ebb Tide (nearby ocean waves rippling and rolling) 3. Dockside (water sloshing and bubbling against a wooden pier) 4. Oceanside (waves, seagulls and distant dolphin squeaks and clicks, but their sound is cut off mid flow for the sound loop, which ruins the effect) 5. Brook (more like a garden water feature really!) 6. Rainforest (a few loud and startling exotic creatures live there though) 7. Thunderstorm (one of my faves. background rain and regular soft thunder noise) 8. Fireside ( a bit hissy, small fire crackles, not bad though) 9. Summer Night (obviously not in UK, crickets are singingand perhaps frogs/toads in distance too) 10. Heartbeat (freaked me out a bit, it's very realistic, and too biological/horror movie for me). 11. City (cars peeping and driving along, but not too loudly. Imagine you were in New York with the hotel window open) 12.Steam Train (odd idea, works ok, train is going fast, and I get travel sick :)) 13. Foghorns (constant moaning of the horns in the mid-distance, quite mellow though. at first it sounds like a light aircraft overhead!) 14. Surf's up (heavy, crashing waves; a bit too regular though) 15. Rain (my fave. constant heavy rain, imagine you are snuggly behind a window or under an umbrella) 16. Yosemite Falls (distant waterfall noises, yosemite is a large nature park in US isn't it?) 17. North Woods (again an American title. creature sounds...) 18. Everglades (constant trilling croak of frogs) 19. Windchimes (not s
oothing enough for me, but some will like it. constant tinkle) 20. Aviary (lots of twittering cheeping birds). These sounds are heard from an "advanced Aluminuim Cone Driver" single speaker. So that even though it is a small speaker the sound is much crisper. Unfortunately you cannot set your favourite ones as presets (there are 6 preset buttons for you to store your radio stations on). you will have to scan through them using the (radio)tuning buttons, although the good thing is that when you switch the soother on it will be playing the sound that you were last listening to. With batteries (4xAA) in the back it is portable, but it will not keep the light on, to reserve the power. The blue backlit LED/LCD display will light up for 5 seconds if: you press the timer button, or the alarm goes off (the alarm "ramps UP" the volume to make sure it gets you up!), or if you are adjusting the volume. If plugged into the mains you can press the "SNOOZE/LIGHT" button on top for a sustained light. So, whatever happens you will see what you're doing, no matter what time of day or night. A snooze button will give you an extra 10/20/30 mins of sleep. There is a telescopic FM aerial built into the top, it looks cool - just like a button when pushed down. You are supplied with a small instruction booklet. It's not bad, with a few illustrations, but could be slightly improved in my opinion. The display button allows you to toggle through the options and set them to show what suits you. There is an option of date or room temperature display, and alarm display with current time. When you switch the off button you are left with the time displayed on the un-lit,grey background. I find these buttons at the side are quite fiddly to press as they are flush with the surface, and you have to press at an angle to get them to work. I can see how this would be an advantage when travelling though, as there would be no chanc
e of the radio being reset or switched on by accident and your batteries running down etc. But this, coupled with the easy-to-topple over narrow shape of the thing makes it a little annoying at times. My travel soother cost £34.03 (pre VAT), with the power adaptor @ £6.77 (pre VAT) the final total was £47.93. I was lucky that on the day I ordered they had a promotion for free european postage. I wasn't expecting that bonus, and the soother was half price if you bought any other item (i chose the adaptor:)). Postage was going to be around £8.50!! So I did save a lot. I would not have bought it at it's full price, dunno what I would've done though! I recieved the goods very quickly, within 3 or 4 days. I promptly recieved a replacement power adaptor when I emailed them about a fault. Even though it is clear that the european/uk help centre does not have English as their first language, they are polite, generous and prompt with their reply. Inside the soother's box you are also supplied with some "ear buds" earphones, a soft travel "case" and a letter which promises £20 off your next order of £60 or more. A few tips - I would recommend that you put a battery in, even if you're using the adaptor, as this will save your settings in case of power failure, or moving the radio. If positioned too near your bedside lamp there may be some interference when recieving the radio signal. Having the adaptor plugged in constantly means the plug does warm up slightly, so make sure nothing is placed in front of the plug; let the air circulate. If noises at night are a problem, try placing the radio right on your mattress or pillow, and the sounds will travel into your ear and mask more noises. Only once have I had to use earplugs in addition to cut out the noise that the soother couldn't mask.