“ Brand: Precision / Type: Alarm Clock „
I am not a fan of getting up early and so I need a reliable alarm clock. For many years I had a radio-alarm clock but I hated the noise it made and always found switching it off a bit fiddly. I much preferred the old analogue clock I had whilst a student so I decided to go back to a more traditional clock to find something that I liked better. Trying to buy a simple, practical clock actually ended up being more difficult than I expected with most clocks either providing a digital display or too many features for me to be bothered with. Whilst browsing through the Argos catalogue I spotted this Precision Alarm Clock (AP001). I think it cost me about £15 when I bought it but it now seems to be available at about £10 from various outlets. I liked its classically simple appearance so decided this was definitely the clock for me. I didn't really read the description very carefully and when I got it home I was a little startled to read the term "Radio-controlled" on the box. My simple alarm clock suddenly seemed a lot more complicated than I had anticipated. I don't think that the clock came with battery but it was a long time ago so I can't be sure. However I only put a new battery in a couple of months ago and that is the first time since I purchased the clock about 4 years ago. ===Appearance=== The clock is very basic to look at. It has a square front (11.5cm) with a silver coloured plastic case. The dial itself is inset and is large and white with black hands and clearly printed black numbers. There are also smaller markings showing the minutes. The alarm hand is pale grey which I like because it is unobtrusive and doesn't interfere with reading the time. The dial does not glow in the dark but there is a small light which can be activated by pressing the top of the clock or by the ringing of the alarm. The large flat top button also acts as the Snooze feature. On the side of the clock there is a small, sliding black switch which is the alarm control button. This is a very plain looking clock and since I am not a person who likes fancy decoration it suits my house fine. ===Getting Started=== I found getting the back off the clock a bit tricky. It basically slides down a very small amount and then you have to force it off. The first time I tried it I thought I would actually break it but it has proved to be more substantial than I expected. As soon as the single AA battery is pushed into the compartment the clock beeps and then the hands start winding their way around the clock face. I found this a little disconcerting at first but then was amazed when they stopped at the correct time. It seems the radio-controlled feature allows it to pick up transmitted time-signals to adapt to the right time. ===In Use=== Setting the alarm is simplicity itself, you simply rotate the small dial on the back to move the alarm hand to the desired time and then slide the black switch on the side to the up position. There is a small indicator near the dial that turns red when the alarm is set but it is very small and certainly does not draw the eye; it is easier just to check whether the switch is up or down. This clock runs silently. I have always liked hearing the ticking of a clock at night-time but I know lots of people find it irritating so this clock would be ideal. I do occasionally seem to be able to hear a slight ticking noise but it is not continuous and I wonder if it has something to do with it checking the time and seems to happen more frequently when it is near to the alarm set times. I must point out that I have very acute hearing and can even get irritated by the sound of power running through cables which no-one else seems to hear. The only problem is when the clocks change, the signal it obviously sent out and then the clock changes and it makes a whirring noise as the hands move. This is loud enough to wake me up but my husband never stirs, I think I am just a light sleeper. Since this only happens twice a year I can put up with it. What is annoying though is that when the hour goes forward it still seems to have to change through 13 hours before it stops rather than just a single hour! The alarm starts with the light flashing on once and then a loud pip every 2 seconds. After about 15 seconds this becomes a double bleep and then 15 seconds later it becomes 4 beeps followed by continuous bleeping. I am not sure how long the bleeping would go on for as I have always turned it off within a minute. I usually hit the Snooze button first. This is a long flat strip across the top of the clock so it is really easy to use in my semi-conscious state and it silences the alarm for 5 minutes. I don't know if there is a limit to how many times you can use the snooze button, I think my maximum has been about four times by which time I know I have to give in and face the world. I think it is good that you can't accidentally turn the alarm off; the sliding switch on the side requires a deliberate action to cancel the alarm. Inside the back there are two buttons which must have something to do with resetting the clock if you ever have a problem. Since I have never had to use them and I have lost the instructions I have no idea what they do but they are obviously not essential to the normal use of the clock. ===Final Thoughts=== I have been really pleased with this clock. I am a great believer that simple things are often best as there is less to go wrong. This clock has been reliably waking me up for the last four years with just one change of battery. It requires no setting and it is certainly loud enough to wake both myself and my husband. The great design means that it is easy to catch that extra couple of minutes sleep without the fear of oversleeping too and I would certainly recommend it to anyone.