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My dream machine sits beside me on my bedside table and I utilise this clock radio for quite a few things. It is the only clock I have upstairs so helps me to keep time, it is my only music machine upstairs also so I listen to the radio a lot when I am getting up or getting ready to go out and of course, I use it as an alarm clock although with a toddler I don't really have a need for an alarm clock most days. The digital read out of the numbers are quite big and in a flourescent green colour so you can see them really easily, even if there is sunlight coming in through your window. Of course you can see them nice and bright in the middle of the night too when you are pregnant and up for the 5th time to go to the toilet!! The clock time display is just a 12 hour clock so there is a little dot next to either the am or pm writing depending on what time of the day it is. The clock is in a rectangle shape and is quite small compared to other alarm clock which I really like as it does not take up too much space on my bedside table. When I set an alarm I love to snooze, I like that feeling that I still have some time left before I need to get up so hit the snooze button quite a few times and wake up leisurely which is nice. THe snooze button on this dream machine is great. It is a massive circle button on the top of the radio and takes up almost half of the top so all you need to do is reach your arm over and press somewhere on the top of the radio to turn it off which is great, perfect when you are half asleep. There are a number of different ways you can set this to wake you up, you can have a buzzer wake you up or you can have the radio wake you up. The buzzer is too extreme in my opinion, who wants to be jolted out of bed with a horrible buzzer ringing in their ears, no I would much rather have the pleasant tones of Heart FM wake me up slowly from my slumber. The alarm is extremely easy to set. You press the alarm/radio button and then hold down the time set buttons to your required time. There is a fast button to allow you to do this to get to your time quickly and once you are near you can go slowly to make sure you get it to the right minute. Then you flip a switch that says alarm on and it is set. A little light on the right hand side will indicate that you have set the alarm and that it is ready to go. The radio has AM and FM settings and is tuned on the side by a little disc. I get quite good reception from this radio and it is always clear and good sounding. My clock radio is silver with a black face but I believe you can also get it in full black too. The dream machine, a nice way to wake up!
I was bought the Sony Dream Machine (ICF-C1iP) as a gift from my parents to take to university. It can be used as an i-pod docking station for all i-pod varieties plus has a radio and alarm clock function. Its a really compact system so can fit on even a student sized bed side table, plus it looks pretty cool and sleek so I've had a few friends admiring it! The volume it can produce and the sound quality are really good and once you've managed to program in radio stations (which is simple enough when using the manual) both the radio and i-pod player are very simple to use. It even comes with a handy little remote control. The major problem I've had is using the alarm clock. I just can't see what I'm doing wrong! Even after following the instructions to the letter its still VERY unreliable. Also the arial wire for the radio lets an otherwise great looking machine down on appearance. All in all would recommend it as a compact, robust and good quality machine, with the large exception of the alarm system.
I have the ICF-C273L Dream Machine and it's absolutely ridiculous as an alarm clock/radio. The process of setting the alarms, and the time is so counter-intuitive that it defies belief that any serious corporation could have launched it onto the market! I suspect it's all to do with cost of manufacture - it's obviously cheaper to cut back on buttons and rely on 'intelligence' in the machine to allow functions to be completed. For example my old reliable Philips radio had a button for every function - so to select the alarm type you simply used the 'alarm' buttons - up for radio, down for alarm and in the middle for off (one for each alarm) - simple and straightforward. This has a smaller number of buttons many of which have two or three functions depending on the order you press them in. For example at one point you have 'alarm' and 'sound; both displayed - one is solid and one is flashing - you then use 'time adjust' to select the one you want (the flashing one). you use 'tuning' +/- to adjust the time! etc etc It usually takes about 4 goes to get the correct alarm time, alarm type and the correct station set - I've not had to rely on resetting it when very tired or a bit drunk :) but I suspect when I do it'll defeat me. £26 wasted! Their on-line help is useless too! Their manual entitled 'setting the time and alarm on your .....' actually doesn't tell you how to set the time!!. I'm sure it all makes sense in Sony-land but in the real world there are much better machines out there for the same or less money!
(Please note: this opinion is about the Sony Dream Machine ICF-C113 which is not the same as the model pictured and described above. There are many variants in the Sony Dream Machine range.) ----------------- I have to confess that I didn't actually need another clock radio when I bought this, but I was won over by the ultra-cool and sexy looks of this model. My last clock radio was the classic 1980's wedge shaped Sony ICF-C220L (a present for my 10th birthday from my grandparents), which had done its job and looked good at the time when set against grey/red diagonal stripe wallpaper and black ash furniture, but somehow the time had come to move on from this grotesque throwback from Thatcher's Britain. So last Christmas I purchased my Sony ICF-C113 from Comet at the Argos-trouncing price of £34.99. It's a very stylish silver cube in a matt finish which measures a mere 12cm in every direction, taking up the smallest of spaces on your bedside table. Now, what sets it apart from the cheapo £6.99 bits of tat? Let me see... Well there's a switch that lets you change the display backlight from orange to green. It's only an aesthetic thing but quite nice if you fancy a change now and then. There's also a switch which changes the brightness of the display between high and low. Fun to fiddle with, but not much use in the grand scheme of things. The radio gives decent enough sound quality on all the local and national FM stations, and the digital PLL tuning means you can programme five of your favourite stations into the machine. This is quite a boon if you wish to flick between channels when lying in bed, but paradoxically you can only be woken up by the station you have programmed onto preset channel 1. So if you wanted a bit of variety in the mornings, this would mean manually retuning your chosen radio station onto preset channel 1, which rather defeats the whole idea don 39;t you think? Naturally the radio also picks up medium wave and long wave frequencies which I haven't used but I have no doubt they sound fine. The buzzer alarm (or the "P45 avoidance warning" as I call it) is loud and shrill, guaranteed to penetrate your dreams and fill you with the joyous thought of another day at work. There is one particular function which I have to admit is a real godsend - the Daylight Saving Time button. Whenever the clocks go back or forward, one simple click will realign the time instead of having to do that finger-numbing cycle through 23 hours. A clever built-in power backup remembers the correct time and the preset radio stations if you suffer a power cut or unplug the machine for whatever reason. But I'm not going to heap praise upon Sony for packing all these electronic functions onto this product. Features like digital radio tuning have been commonplace on cheap hi-fi's and car stereos for years, yet in the clock radio sector they are marketed as luxury extras. And this bit of kit isn't cheap - it costs five times the price of the cheapest clock radios, and I bet it only cost Sony tuppence to drag this model into the 21st century. I have identified something of a designer's faux-pas on this machine which can lead to early morning heart failure. Confused? Let me explain... When the radio comes on, let's say at 7.30am, for some bizarre reason the LCD display shows the frequency of the radio station instead of the time. The frequency of my chosen station is 103.4 FM (that's Century FM for all you northerners). So you suddenly open your eyes to see the display saying "1034" when it should be saying "0730" which leads to a cry of "oh sh*t" as you leap across the bedroom trying to think of an excuse to tell your boss. After replaying this cycle of panic followed by overwhelming relief for several days on the trot, you get into the habit of turning the radio off in order to see what time it is, and then turning the radio back on if you actually want to listen to it. Was this product designed on a National Lottery grant or something? I just can't see why the designers at Sony thought we needed a daily reminder of the frequency of our favourite radio station. When you're waking up in the morning there's only one thing you need to see on the display - and that's the time. Another example of bad design on this model is that you can only read the time when your head is positioned at eye level with the display. This is because it uses a backlit Liquid Crystal Display (like a digital watch) instead of the Light Emitting Diode displays which are usually used on clock radios. In practice this means that your bedside table must be at exactly the same height as your head on the pillow, or else you won't be able to read the display on this crazy little beast. But the big problem I have with this machine is the bewildering array of 14 silver buttons on the top. Printed on and around these buttons is a mass of text in tiny grey lettering, much of which is in garbled acronym form and makes little sense to the human operator. You need to spend a good half an hour studying the manual before you feel even remotely confident with this clock radio. Even then, you never feel totally fluent with the confusing sprawl of buttons, and need to keep the manual by the bedside in order to periodically remind yourself of the function of each cryptically labelled button. The only well designed button is the snooze bar which is thoughtfully positioned along the front and can't be missed by an arm that reaches out to request another ten minutes' sleep. This machine isn't user friendly. It's like having to learn an entire operating system. Machines like this should be logical and self explanatory. I can't help suspecting that the over-technical styling was a misguided attempt to give the product added appeal. But when you're bleary-eyed in the morning and find yourself taking random stabs at the many buttons (which you can't see without sitting up because they're horizontally mounted) it can be irritating to say the least. I'm disappointed to say that the sleek Sony styling is about the only saving grace I can find in favour of this model. Strangely the clock radio market sector is virtually untouched by design trends, so the modern styling of this product is successful in making it leap out at you from the shelf in Comet. After having tried to live with this machine for six months, it's become obvious to me that Sony didn't "people test" this model - they just cobbled together a load of buttons onto a silver box and hoped for the best. Sorry Sony, but I like more thought to go into my electrical products. Trust me - I'm not being unduly harsh here - this clock radio is a pain to live with. It gets a big thumbs down from me.
This clock/radio was exactly what I was looking for. I previously had a clock/radio/cassette player, which was rather large and took up alot of space on my bedside table, at the time when I bought this, I thought that it would be really useful, especially being able to play cassettes. Unfortunately it wasn’t as useful as I first thought and took up more space than I originally anticipated. So after putting up with this cumbersome clock for many years, I saw the clock that I really wanted. A compact, stylish silver finish, cube shaped clock/radio, that was definitely going to take up less space on my bedside table. I didn’t buy it straight away, as it was quite expensive really for a bedside clock, and also I didn’t think my husband would approve of such extravagance, especially as I had a perfectly good clock already! I only got to buy this clock recently, as we had applied for the Egg credit card (see opinion), and when it came, I was allowed to make the first purchase on it! Whey hey - shops, here I come!! All I wanted was the clock/radio that I had seen previously, which was expensive enough. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest clock that I could have chosen, as there are plenty for sale that are alot cheaper - but it was exactly what I was looking for. Lucky for my son, as he got to inherit my bulky clock!!! The Model ======== Sony FM/MW/LW PLL Synthesized Clock Radio - ICF C113L Dream Machine Features - at a glance ================ FM/MW/LW PLL (phrase locked loop) digital tuner Dual alarm 5 random pre-sets Summer time adjustment button Snooze/adjustable sleep timer Date display/auto calendar Brightness control Built-in power back up system Size (W)12, (H)12, (D)13cm Cost ==== £39.99 Purchased from ============ Argos Catalogue Number ============== 510/7142 When I got it home and unpacked the box, it came with fully comprehensive instructions, that were very easy to follow. Features ======= Date button to display the year, month and date -------------------------------------------------------- First of all you will need to set the clock, and also the date and month, which the instructions explain how to do this. D.S.T. (Daylight Saving Time) - Summer time calculation (one-hour skip function) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------- To change the time to British Summer time, then this is easily done, as you press a single button to do this. If you want to change it back then all you need to do to cancel it is press the button again. Radio and buzzer alarms with the snooze function ----------------------------------------------------------- The dual alarm has LED indicators and can be set for either the buzzer or radio to wake you up. Which I have to admit, that I haven’t used the alarm yet, only because I haven’t had cause to use it yet - as I have a daughter that seems to survive on very little sleep!! The sleep timer can be set so the radio will go off after 90, 60, 30 or 15 minutes. The radio will play for the time that you have set and then shut off. FM/MW/LW PLL (phrase locked loop) digital tuner -------------------------------------------------------------- The radio can be manually tuned to FM, MW or LW radio. Five stations can be preset for easy one-touch tuning. LCD with backlight which has a brightness switch ----------------------------------------------------------- The brightness can be set higher or lower to make the display more visible. Backlight button to change the colour of the backlight to either green or amber ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------- You don’t have to stuck with the same colour backlight, as you can choose between amber or green, whichever you find more calming at night. Self power back-up ----------------------- If the power supply is interrupted, the time setting and the memory will be backed up for half an hour without batteries. Although this is pure extravagance, as there are many clocks that are alot cheaper. It will last many, many years, as it is a stylish, compact clock that will never date. I am really glad that I bought this clock, not only because I have more room on my bedside table, but also because it was exactly what I was looking for.
I bought the dream machine after searching long and hard for a clock radio that would wake me up for 5: 30. The only one that I found that had a volume control and also had the ability to wake me up so easily. For a rather expensive £39.95, you get a loud, grey, box that not only looks stylish but plays stylish music and preset 15 stations as well. Other features of the dream machine include the handy daylight saving button, and the dual alarm function. The dual alarm function means if the first alarm does not wake you up the second will go off every five minutes until you deactivate it. This wakes me up, and I sleep through anything. Another feature is the fact that the clock on it has a light that is very clear and a memory of 15 radio stations. The signal is great nearly anywhere, and even if there is a power cut, when the clock is switched on again all your settings and time is intact. For instance if you switched it off at 5:00am for 5 minutes when you turn it back on the display will say “5:05am” You may think that paying 35.95 for a radio is a bit stupid. I know I did but I am glad I did buy this product. This is because now I am never late for work, and wake up to music as well as a bleeping noise, which journeys through my dreams and brings me round to reality gently. I thought this was a great buy although I am somewhat skeptical of Sony products. 9/10 for the dream machine.