A buyer's guide to radio alarm clocks

July 09 [Wed], 2014, 11:40
A buyer's guide to radio alarm clocks

For many years, alarm clocks didn't change much and there were very few options to choose from. Nearly every alarm clock was a wind-up analogue clock, with a bell that made a loud ringing noise to wake you up at one specified time.

With the digital age, along came digital alarm clocks. These generally featured an LED screen with a digital clock, and sometimes allowed more than one alarm to be set. Nearly all digital alarm clocks also featured a 'snooze' button, which allowed you an extra few minutes of sleep before you woke up. Over the years, this 'snooze' button has been standardised at 9 minutes.

It was after the introduction of digital alarm clocks that radio alarm clocks first appeared. They generally took a similar digital format, but rather than waking up to a beeping sound, one could be woken up by an AM/FM radio.

As well as maintaining the 'snooze' function, radio alarm clocks also introduced a 'sleep' function. This is ideal for people who like to listen to the radio to help them sleep. The sleep function normally has a default of one hour, but this can normally be reduced, if the user knows they will not be awake for too long.

While this was a huge improvement on the traditional alarm clock, radio alarm clocks were not always ideal. It was (and still is) not uncommon for people to wake up to the fuzzy sound of an un-tuned radio, because the tuner has been knocked, or the radio has just lost signal. This problem was solved, however, with the introduction of DAB digital radio alarm clocks. These allow the owner to choose the station of their choice, and they will then know they will always wake up to the sound they are expecting.

There have been even more innovations since the introduction of the DAB digital radio alarm clock, with alarm clocks that can be connected to an MP3 player such as an iPod these are often known as 'next generation alarm clocks' or sometimes as 'progressive alarm clocks' - and various other novelty alarm clocks in all shapes and sizes.

Radio alarm clock features have increased too - these include...
* decreasing snooze - so the owner gets less and less time each time they hit 'snooze'
* customisable snooze - so the user you can have, say, 5 minutes or 35 minutes of snooze time
* light sensitive time - so the time on the clock is always visible, but without it lighting the whole bedroom
* self-adjusting time - so the time on the alarm clock is always correct
* multiple alarms - so a different alarm plays each day
* multiple pre-set radio stations - so the owner does not have to keep searching for their favourites..
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