Rude awakenings will no longer be a part of your morning routine with the Sony Nature Sounds clock radio. Along with its unusual nature sounds, this alarm clock has set a standard in design: It is small enough to occupy just a tiny space on the nightstand but offers fantastic sound when you need to wake up in the morning. Useful features, coupled with easy to use buttons, help this clock earn our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for best alarm clocks.
As with most alarm clocks, finding one that will wake you up on time is always a number one priority. This Sony alarm clock's intelligent features offer wake up calls customized to fit your morning schedule. The alarm clock comes with dual alarms so you can have a backup call to wake you up in case you are deep sleeper, or you can set one for you and one for your spouse. Each alarm can be set to an AM/FM radio, an ordinary standard alarm or one of five soothing nature sounds. These sounds include: ocean, birds, rainfall, babbling brook and Under the Sea.
One negative aspect of these sounds, though, is the shortness of the track. This causes quicker loops. This is only noticeable if you have a well-trained ear and should not be a problem if you are just using the alarm clock to wake up. The tracks are long enough to lull you out of your sleep but any long listening and the tracks will repeat themselves.
The times for the snooze button can be set anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes. There is no nap setting on this alarm clock, but you can find a way around this. All you have to do is set the alarm to go off, and then set the snooze for an hour later if you want to fit an afternoon nap into your day. You can also fall asleep to the nature sounds, radio or your own audio device (using the audio-in jack) by setting the built-in sleep timer that turns of automatically after a preset duration.
There is no real difficulty in using the Sony Nature Sounds alarm clock radio. The layout of the buttons is uncomplicated and each function is well defined. The time is preset at the factory to Eastern Standard time, so when you open the box, all you have to do is adjust for your time zone.
To use the sleep feature, just hold down the SLEEP button, and when "Sleep" appears and flashes on the display, press the button to toggle through the available sleep time setting: 15, 30, 60 and 90 minutes. You are able to use this feature with the nature sounds, which you can choose by selecting the picture icons corresponding with each sound. The sleep timer also functions with the radio and your own MP3 player (which you can plug into the audio-in jack on the clock).
You can change and setting the brightness of the display by selecting the SNOOZE/BRIGHTNESS button. The only settings it offers are high, low or off, but even at its highest setting, the brightness is not going to overwhelm a dark room. Even on the lowest settings, the display still reads clearly, even when daylight is coming through your window. Manual tuning of the radio alarm clock works as it would with any other alarm clock. By simply pressing RADIO-BAND, you can select AM or FM and tune to the station you want. To preset the stations, hold down the PRESET button until you hear two beeps. Then just select which preset button you want to assign that station to, and it's ready to go. The entirety of the Sony Nature Sounds' design makes it easy to use. However, if you run into any problems, the manual has very detailed instructions on using the clock radio.
In addition to the very useable physical features of the Nature Sounds radio alarm clock, Sony integrates a fantastic feature into its clock: time projection. What we love about this feature is the convenience of the projector itself. During the day, it is not very easy to read, but the numbers during the night almost seem to be in high definition. The projection is easy to read from up to 6 feet away, and focusing the projection takes only a push of a button. Also, you simply push the projection rotate button repeatedly to change the angle of rotation at which the clock and alarm will appear on the wall. The angle can be adjusted up to 180 degrees. The Sony clock also gives you a reading of the temperature, but unfortunately, it is only indoors. The temperate sensor is wired to the alarm clock, and this is what will give you an accurate indoor temperature reading in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
As always, Sony offers top-of-the-line international support. This alarm clock comes with a one-year warranty that applies to any repair or replacement. Be aware that if you call in for help, you will have to experience some elevator music as you wait for a representative. Sony does make it easy to ask questions through email, and they give you options to find a Sony store or retailer to help, shortening your time in fixing the product. Also, check their FAQs section as it offers an extensive amount of questions that might be similar to the one you have.
What we really enjoy about this product is the structure. The Nature Sounds clock is designed with the future in mind. The size is small enough that you can take it with you when you travel or use it as an everyday alarm clock for at home. The speaker is very small (barely over 1.5 inches) but as always, Sony has put its best work into making sure the speakers can resonate through your bedroom and beyond.
The buttons are smaller than the average clock, and this makes it hard to turn the alarm off. It's easy to hit two buttons at the same time by mistake. Overall, this is not a big issue as the snooze button is easily the biggest button on there. Just hit the snooze and easily then leisurely locate the alarm off button.
The thing that makes the Sony Nature Sounds alarm clock fit in perfectly with the way technology is going these days: small and effective. The projection feature on this clock, which is clear and easy to ready, makes the tedious task of checking time in the middle of the night a thing of the past. Whether you are on the road a lot or get to sleep in your own bed, this alarm clock is sure to keep you waking up happy.
This clock offers an extension for MP3 players.
The nature tracks are a little short and cause quicker loops.
This clock is a must have because of its size, its variety of sounds and the efficient snooze option.