Wakey wakey!
October 23, 2007 10:30 AM   Subscribe

LoTechFilter: I need a clock radio. Recommendations?

I detest my current clock radio, and want a new one. I don't want anything fancy - I don't want ipod dockability, I don't want a CD player, I just want a good, easy-to-use clock radio (I'm an NPR in the morning guy, that's really all I need). Here's my list of must-haves:

- two alarms
- digital-tuning radio
- not too much brightness (adjustable would be nice but if brightness isn't adjustable the lower the better)
- smallish form factor

Anybody have an alarm clock that they love and want to recommend?
posted by pdb to Shopping (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Goodwill? Salvation Army? You're more likely to get what you describe used at a thrift store; nobody's building simple clock radios nowadays.
posted by gum at 10:32 AM on October 23, 2007

Here are some related (but not identical) questions.
posted by box at 10:33 AM on October 23, 2007

Also, maybe it would help if you told us what was unsatisfying about your current alarm clock.
posted by box at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2007

Response by poster: The most unsatisfying thing about my current one is that the display is too bright (and unadjustable) and the radio is poor - it won't hold a signal if the weather changes.

I'm not really opposed to getting a CD player/ipod connectable radio, if push comes to shove, I just didn't want a whole bunch of recommendations for a Bose Wave Radio-type thing when all I really want is a simple clock radio to sit by my bedside and wake me up and not cost a bloody fortune.
posted by pdb at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2007

I like my Roku Soundbridge Radio. You solve the reception problem by tuning in over the Internet stream instead, plus it has infinite settings for display (brightness levels for dark vs. light, font sizes, clock format, etc.). You can telnet into it. It's $300 and well worth it, aside from a few things I'd change like having at least one Aux input.
posted by kcm at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2007

I have this BA Receptor clock radio and like it a lot. I particularly love that setting the time (real time or alarm time) is done by enabling the mode by pushing a button ONCE, and then twirling a knob to get to the desired time. I hate all the button-clicking most time-setting routines make you go through. It also has a pleasing sound, two brightness levels, and fairly clear indication of which (if any) alarms are active.
posted by cairnish at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You can telnet into it. It's $300 and well worth it

Soooo, the part about not costing a bloody fortune? I'm really looking to spend about $50 or less, here.
posted by pdb at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2007

I'd recommend finding a local store that has them turned plugged in. My local Target does. You can then set the alarms and try turning on the radios. Some radios from the same manufacturer have varying abilities to wake you up and play the radio.

I always like Sony Dream Machines, but most of them are either manual tuner or CD with digital tuner. The digital tuner is going to be tough to find on a cheap radio. Why do you need one? Would a good radio with manual tuning work?
posted by ALongDecember at 10:53 AM on October 23, 2007

Response by poster: Why do you need one? Would a good radio with manual tuning work?

I guess "need" is a strong word - as long as the manual tuning can pull in and hold a station, even in bad weather, that would probably be fine. I'm just sick of my current manual-tune radio that, whenever there's two clouds in the sky, decides to play nothing but static.
posted by pdb at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2007

Another recommendation for the Boston Acoustics' Receptor. I got mine online for around $100 from <>Eagle Computing, which seemed like a decent price. The sound is great, the alarms are easy to use, and the reception is pretty damn good. The display is not too bright for me, but I can't remember if it is adjustable.

YMMV, but for me, this was a great purchase. Lots of cheap, crappy clock radios out there, and a few in that high-end niche that seem to offer more stereo-like features than I needed. This one was ideal.
posted by mosk at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2007

we, that link should have been Eagle Computing.
posted by mosk at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2007

Pricey, but exactly what you describe. It has a stereo companion box if you want full stereo.

I have one and I'm satisfied. I normally wouldn't spend that kind of money on a clock radio but I've gone through some utterly crappy $30 ones and realized I really wasn't saving any money that way.
posted by chairface at 11:13 AM on October 23, 2007

Kevin Kelly featured this one favorably on his CoolTools blog--it sounds like exactly what you want. (it is exactly what I want, with the same ideas, but I haven't gotten around to buying it yet)
posted by zachxman at 11:18 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can connect to the Roku Soundbridge with a webserver too! I love my soundbridge but it isn't what I'd consider a clock radio. I keep mine in the bathroom to listen to when I'm getting ready. It listens to the uPnP server on my NAS to access my MP3s.
posted by jockc at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2007

Not within your specs, but for anyone who has a tough time waking up, you must try Clocky.

After you snooze Clocky the first time, it rolls off your table and rolls around until you find it and turn it off. Not fun for people like me, but it gets me up.
posted by scottso17 at 1:12 PM on October 23, 2007

I agree with mosk, I really like the Boston Acoustics Receptor. It's expensive, but, for me at least, everything seems to work the way you'd expect it to. I never have to refer to the manual. It does have adjustable brightness.

Also, one of my quirks, is that I really like the snooze bar to extend the alarm for 10 minutes - not 6, not 5, but 10. The receptor has adjustable snooze time, so I set it to 10 minutes, and voila.
posted by margoba at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2007

I have this RCA RP5430 SmartSnooze Dual Wake AM/FM Clock Radio, about $25, best alarm clock ever.. (full disclaimer, I also wrote a review for it on Amazon, but I am just a happy customer - no relationship with RCA). Small form factor, the alarm starts off softly and gradually gets louder, and the snooze time is adjustable.

Like I said, I love it. If something happens to it, I will replace mine with the same model.

Read the reviews on Amazon.com.
posted by jerryg99 at 2:15 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Sony Dual Alarm Clock Radio mentioned above is pretty bright -- too bright for me. I moved it to my husband's side of the bed and it doesn't bother him, though.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:18 PM on October 23, 2007

Here's my Sony dual alarm clock. It has adjustable alarm (highest setting is almost a fire alarm) and brightness along with huge numerals. Manual tuning, but I've found the radio to be decent. Unfortunately it's not in production anymore, you might be able to find used ones.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:23 PM on October 23, 2007

Oops -- ignore my comment up there. I just remembered my problem with that clock: I can't read it at night without my glasses on. The brightness wasn't an issue.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:35 AM on October 24, 2007

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