WIRED: Yanking it out of the box, the build quality of this thing smacked me right upside the head. A solid metal stand and touch-sensitive buttons for $20!? Hell yes. It’s simple to use, and the light on the sunset setting was warm and relaxing. The artificial sunrise was enough to rouse me out of bed, but it wasn’t too bright. There are nature sounds to help you wake up too, like birds and ocean waves.
You can dim or turn off the display completely. For people like me, who have always hated seeing glowing numbers in an otherwise dark room, the latter is a great option. I’ll never understand why more alarms don’t offer it. It’s a steal at $20, especially with the extras like multicolor mood lighting, access to an FM radio, and a center snooze button that’s easy to hit.
TIRED: It did a good job of casting enough light when it was the only lamp in my otherwise dark bedroom, but it’s a bit on the small side and, because of its headlamp-like shape, it shines most in a particular direction. The light is also not as diffused as the higher-end alarms on this list—certainly enough to read by before bed, but not quite as able to bathe the whole room in light. It’s still plenty bright to help wake you up, though.