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Thursday December 29, 2005 12:50 am

Neverlate 7-Day Alarm Clock Review


DescriptionI recently purchased the $34.99 Neverlate 7-day Alarm Clock by American Innovative. After a good month or so spent with the alarm clock, I thought I’d detail my experiences and let you know my results. My review, after the jump.


American Innovative brings us an alarm clock that, per its name, has a different alarm time for each of the seven days of the week. Some of its other features make it a “fun” alarm clock, if ever there were such a thing, but my experience hasn’t been entirely without, well, being late. More on that later, as we take a look at the setup process.

Setting Up The Clock
The unit is relatively easy to set up, out of the box. Plug it in. Put in two AA backup batteries, if desired, and press and hold the upper left Setup button until it beeps at you.

The time will start flashing, and is easily set by spinning the outer control dial on the top of the unit. The dial is a bit rough-and-tumble, so to speak—it spins roughly and requires several long cranks to get to the proper time of day. Fortunately, it increments the time faster and faster the longer you dial and scales down for accuracy as you make smaller changes.

Pressing Setup again queries you for the day of the week, again set by the outer dial. A set of labels on the LCD indicate which day you’re pointing to, and you’re off. Next up is the user-configurable snooze time. American Innovative suggests something you’d be used to—around 10 minutes. The next and final Setup click asks if you prefer to be “buzzered” awake, or to have it use the units in-built radio. The radio bothers me and does little to wake me short of blaring, so I prefer the buzzer.

Now, setting the individual alarm times for each day is pretty simple. The unit features a unique, dual-wheel selector on the top. The inner wheel has eight options: Run, All Off, and one for each day of the week. Turn it to a day, turn the outer dial until you find the time you want to wake up and press the On/Off button to turn the alarm on for that day of the week. Move to the next day and continue.

Waking Up, Most the Time
After I set the alarm for each day of the week, I returned the inner dial to Run and set off to sleep. Most days, the unit wakes me up just fine, but I’ve discovered that if I went to bed too late, I will not only sleep through some portion of the alarm, but actually turn the alarm completely off. This is because the giant snooze button is nearly adjacent to the On/Off button, which ends the snooze cycle. Many a day now, have I awoken two hours after my alarm was set to a near panic as I tried to understand what went wrong. Being a deep sleeper, I fail to even remember having heard the alarm at all, but I’ve sufficiently proven to myself it’s not actually failing—pushing the alarm out of arm’s reach mitigated the problem and had me waking up more regularly.

The Buzzer & Radio
The buzzer isn’t really a buzzer on the Neverlate. Rather, it’s a quick series of three or four slightly high pitched beeps that aren’t exactly ear-bleeding in volume. They suffice, but if you’re an incredibly deep sleeper, they won’t wake you up more than is necessary to turn the alarm off, as I mentioned above. Given a few minutes, they’ll get me up and out, but they don’t jar me enough to ruin my sleep-mood. The radio is functional, but analog. This is incredibly frustrating, because finding just the frequency you want is, frankly, never a joy on any dial radio. The next version, called the Neverlate Executive is set to have a digital radio, so this problem should happily fall by the wayside.

Napping and the Sleep Timer
For those of you who like to listen to Loveline before drifting off to a slumber assuredly filled with… interesting dreams, the Neverlate offers the option of a sleep timer. While in Run mode, you press sleep and use the outer wheel to dial from the default 60 minutes as the unit counts down before turning off the radio. The nap button is one of my favorite features—there’s no need to screw up your seven day schedule if you want a quick catnap. Press the Nap button and choose the time using the outer dial and it’ll buzz (or radio) you awake in said time.

Conclusion
One of the features I’d love to see added to the clock is a line-in for MP3 players and, lo and behold, it looks as if they’ll be rolling this out with the Executive line of clocks in Q2 of 2006.

All in all, the clock does exactly what’s advertised: gives you seven different alarms, and makes it simple. The outer wheel is a pain to spin, but making minor adjustments isn’t a problem at all, and there’s a quick review button that lets you see when the next alarm is scheduled, so you can have that piece of mind before falling asleep. The nap functionality is fantastic, and the buzzer is sufficient, so long as I can’t easily reach the On/Off button when I wake up. All the things I’d like to see in the clock (digital radio, line in, etc) appear to be slated for release in the next version, but for a college student or anyone with a varied wake-up schedule, it’s a great clock for all of $35 and stylish, too. (I’ll have some pictures up shortly as well, but there’s not too much to look at. It’s a clock.)

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