Sony Dual Alarm Clock Radio

This wonderful dual alarm clock is the best one we have found in 40 years. The display and control layout make it very easy to use and difficult to make a mistake. On the front display you see clearly, unambiguously, the status of everything: both alarms and the current time. The layout of the buttons really reduces the likelihood of hitting the wrong button. We frequently adjust our wakeup times and with other dual alarm clocks we made mistakes. With this clock, the controls for Alarm A and Alarm B are on opposite sides, so it’s very clear and obvious to set. Also, because the LCD display allows you to see the current time and both Alarm A and B all at the same time, you don’t have to press any buttons to see when you’re wake up is set for.

In the old days we experienced things like pressing the wrong buttons in the dark, adjusting the radio off-station when we meant to adjust the volume, setting the time of day instead of the time of alarm, setting a time to PM when we meant AM, setting the alarm time but failing to turn the alarm on, one of us would get up ahead of our alarm time and turn off the wrong person’s alarm, a power failure erasing all settings and we had to remember how to deal with a complex device, a power failure while sleeping and we failed to rise on time as no alarm sounded, etc.

With this clock, you don’t have to decode — or learn to decode — what or how the clock is set. With a lot of clocks you simply get a bunch of different LEDs, such as green for AM and off for PM, green ‘on’ for radio (‘off’ for no radio). With this clock, the buttons are located and sized to eliminate, or at least reduce, confusion. The current time is displayed large enough to see it from across the room (we place the clock across the room to force a certain level of wakefulness). There’s a lithium stand-by battery that preserves time of day and alarm settings just in case of a power outage. It also has sleep, snooze and nap functions, as well as two alarm setup modes: workweek and weekend.

The clock isn’t as high end as some models by Boston Acoustics, and there are aspects that could be improved, like the buzzer/beeper. Since we keep ours across the room, we felt the buzzer/beeper was not loud enough. Still the volume of the radio and preset tunes is fine, so we use those. Also, the Time Zone, Daylight Savings mode and Time of Day buttons are located along the back edge on the top of the clock in a recessed well, so they do not protrude. Two of the functions are doubly protected, as you have to press one button then another to adjust time or time zone. However, Daylight savings mode just takes a single hit and that moves time by one hour forward or back. Nevertheless, there is a little Daylight icon on the front display to help you notice if there’s a mistaken change.

Overall, if you’re looking for a simple clock radio, it’s really great. I was shopping for a teenager coming of age. At ~$30 this alarm clock was more expensive than I planned (and I don’t often deviate from plan), but it has one feature that I found exciting: the display that lets you see everything. When I got home my wife was critical of the amount spent. Two weeks later, she sent me out for another one for our room. A week or two after that, I noticed the same device at Costco for $19.99. Upon telling my spouse, she put it on our list for purchase “just in case ours breaks someday and this is no longer available.” So we now have a new alarm clock in a box in our basement. It is THAT good.

-- Jim of MN  

Sony Dual Alarm Clock Radio
$27
Manufactured by Sony

Available from Amazon