The iLuv alarm that we purchased is a dual alarm clock. This is important for our needs. It also allows you to set the type of alarm independently. For instance, alarm 1 could be set to use the buzzer, while alarm 2 uses the radio and bed shaker. It’s a nice concept.
The buzzer has been a mainstay of digital alarm clocks for quite some time, so there’s really nothing ground-breaking here. I like, though, that the buzzer ‘fades’ in when it comes on: it starts off softly and gets up to its final volume over the course of five to ten seconds. It seems to be a little less jarring for me to wake up to that. The buzzer sound itself is also irritating enough that you can’t just lay there and admire the rhythm instead of getting up (I did that a few times with one clock I owned).
Let’s talk about snoozing. Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to crash back into bed for a few moments more while having confidence that your trusty alarm will dutifully wake you again soon. The iLuv alarm features a seven minute snooze time. The button itself is also quite prominently placed, so finding it in a drowsy stupor should not be a problem.
Silencing the alarm is also very straight-forward. The button at the center of the left-hand controls is used to turn off the alarm, when you have finally committed to entering the waking world. As a nice touch, the center of this button glows blue when the alarm begins to sound. This is especially helpful as I keep our bedroom pitch black. I never have to begin randomly smashing buttons in an attempt to get the clock to leave me alone. With a previous alarm clock, I was often turning on CD players, setting a sleep timer, and effecting all manner of changes in an attempt to make the buzzer stop. I’ve had no such issues with this alarm.
Now, let’s talk a bit about this whole bed-shaker notion. Enabling it is as simple as plugging the device into the port on the back of the clock and selecting “on” for the bed shaker feature while setting your alarm. Easy! The shaker plugs in via the same type of connection that a pair of headphones uses and includes a length of cord that should reach your bed from the nearest dresser. For me, I place my alarms far enough away that I have to leave the bed to turn them off, so I’m not going to be able to use the shaker unless I acquire/make an extension. (A normal 1/8″ headphone extension should work, but I have not attempted to try.) There is no adjustment to the intensity of the vibration, which is a bit of a disappointment to me. I may attempt to manufacture an extension cable with a potentiometer inline to try and dampen this shaker a bit. If I do have success, I’ll post the info here and perhaps as an Instructable.
But, how does it work as it is? The truth is, that the shaker worked quite effectively at rousing me from my slumber. If you find it difficult to wake up with normal alarms, then perhaps this kind of sheer terror is the alarm you need. But, don’t imagine that I drifted gracefully back to the waking world while envisioning butterflies and happy clouds… I can state without hesitation that nothing I’ve experienced in my whole life has been nearly as bone chilling nor as fear-inspiring as waking up to the bed shaker feature of this alarm clock. Period. Have you ever seen a cartoon where an alarm goes off and the previously sleeping character sprang up into the air as they leaped out of the bed? I did that. Really. I suppose some sort of self-preservation system kicked in to help me escape whatever danger was posed by my then vibrating bed. I recall perhaps trying to beat the alarm clock to death, as if it were some sort of sentient, bed-shaking monster. That’s how i remember it, anyway… So, it worked, but it wasn’t particularly fun, and I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone with an aneurysm, potential for heart attack, or any other potentially life threatening illness that could be affected by too much terror turns this feature on. You have been warned…
In conclusion, I love the iLuv as an alarm. It works great, I have no trouble finding it in the dark, and I don’t have to fiddle around trying to cover up the display with a book or something else so I can sleep in darkness. In the next part of this review, we’ll take a look at something we can use while we’re awake: the radio and line-in features.