Wake Up to the New World of Connected Alarm Clocks

Bedside alarm clocks have been a normal feature of bedrooms for decades. They let you know the time when you are anywhere from the bedroom. They wake you up on time. And the well-designed ones can be a nice addition to the look of your bedroom. They also let you listen to music or news as you’re getting dressed in the morning.

As with so many different things, using alarm clocks is on the wane, since they are being replaced by the ubiquitous, all-purpose cell phone. However, it does not have to be so. And it shouldn’t be. Fantastic alarm clocks can do things that your phone can not.

For starters, both the speakers and displays tend to be larger, so telling the time and listening to news and music can be done from anywhere in the bedroom. And the sound quality is a lot better. That is especially true of this newest generation of clocks. Some of the sound system miniaturization that’s been created for notebooks, tablets and other mobile technologies has made its way into alarm clocks. The decent ones seem way better than alarms used to — and way better than your phone.

While conventional alarm clocks capture sound from conservative radio, the newest Bluetooth versions get it out of a vastly superior origin — the world wide web, by means of your phone.

Tick Tock Dock – $79.99

The inexpensive and minimal Tick Tock Dock out of Edifier does some fascinating gymnastics around shape and function. The form is familiar, however, the function isn’t what you might expect.

The Tick Tock Dock comes with a iconic alarm clock look, characterized by a round face for the clock and two bells on the top for your alert. Nonetheless, it uses the curved face for a woofer speaker. Both “bells” on the top are actually omnidirectional tweeters.

Another advantage to this Tick Tock Dock is simplicity. It’s an FM radio alarm clock clock which flows news and music from your own phone, either wirelessly via Bluetooth or by an international sound interface. It does little else, even though an iPhone-specific version has a swivel-out dock for recharging your phone and playing audio from it.

The Tick Tock Dock comes in black, white and beige.

Philips Original Radio Mini ORT2300 – $110

The Philips Original Radio Mini ORT2300 combines elegant, retro styling using Bluetooth loading technologies. It has a built-in timer, so you could use it from the kitchen, also.

You can set up to 20 radio presets, such as for the two regular FM radio and DAB, the newish standard for high-quality digital radio. That is fine, but you’d be better off loading podcasts and music by your cellphone via Bluetooth — the built-in sound system can give you more volume than your own phone, but not much in the way of sound quality.

iHome iBT97 Bluetooth Alarm Clock – $99.99

One of my favorite new clocks would be the iBT97 Bluetooth Alarm Clock from iHome. It costs your gadgets. You can charge iOS devices in the vent at the top — either iPhone or even iPad; USB devices can be plugged into the trunk.

Reviewers say it’s a rich sound with deep foundation. The company utilizes some interesting technology to make audio separation, even though the stereo speakers are near one another. It is possible to use an equalizer attribute to adjust the sound, such as a setting called “3D space.”

However, the most unusual feature is that it doubles as a competent speakerphone, which even has voice echo cancellation such as the high-end corporate speakerphones.

The iBT97 is anticipated to ship in summertime 2013.

iHome iA100 Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio – $199.99

Another example of the influence of smart phones on alarm clocks is iHome’s iA100 Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio, that comes with several optional apps.

The apps, that are downloaded separately, allow you to receive updates to the alarm clock out of Facebook and Twitter, get stats on your sleep, download custom alerts, play sleep-inducing and meditation sounds, and also connect to a Apple AirPlay system.

The iA100 has some notable sound technology, including real-time digital signal processing, 20-watt power push drivers and Reson8 speaker chambers. Additionally, it doubles as a speakerphone for your smart phone calls.

Rather than dismissing the alarm clock as another victim of smart-phone convergence, look at it this way: The clock and the phone make each other much better.

It’s time to wake up to the new world of smart-phone-connected bedside alarm clocks.

See related