In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and survey friends, call up experts, and draw on our own personal experience to answer them. If you have an online-shopping question of you own, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Ask the Strategist. We’re here to help.
I recently broke my lover’s alarm clock from middle school. They had no sentimental attachment to it other than it lasted nearly three decades. We both need something with a large type since we wear glasses and want to read the time while waking up. Any suggestions that don’t completely embody the 1990s sharper image aesthetic?
As a glasses wearer, I feel you on the frustration of trying to read the time when waking up. But as someone born in the ’90s, it took me a minute to figure out what you meant by Sharper Image aesthetic. After some Googling, I see that you don’t want a clock that looks like Star Trek’s idea of the future. After some more searching after that, I also have good news: There are a lot of great options to choose from. Some are modern, and some are more classic. There are even some analog options. None look like they came from Sharper Image.
This elegant and inexpensive wooden clock has big, bright numbers that, if you’re sensitive to light while you sleep, can be dimmed or even turned off entirely. (When you want to see the time, just make a noise or tap the clock.) It also lets you program up to three alarms.
The second version of this cube clock is basically a rubberized version of the first. Both clocks have automatic dimmers and alarms. To show the time, date, and temperature when the display is off, just snap your fingers (or, with the Alume, you can also tap the top).
This stylish clock comes recommended by Jeannette Purdy at the aesthetics-focused retailer Ameico. Designed by Arne Jacobsen, a mid-century Danish designer, it has large, easy-to-read numbers and uses a less-intense digital version of a classic alarm bell to wake you up.
I’m also a big fan of this Sony Alarm Clock that projects the time onto the wall. It has a 180 degree rotation so you can point the projection anywhere within your room. You can also adjust the focus, set up two different wake times, and enjoy a variety of five different morning nature sounds. Even without glasses, a large projection of the time on your ceiling is hard to miss.
In case this inexpensive alarm’s jumbo-sized display isn’t big enough, it also has a projector — along with FM radio, a USB charging port and dual alarm settings.
If you prefer something with a pop of color, the iHome alarm clock has six wake-up color modes, a bright LED number display and dual alarms.
For a different aesthetic, this wooden alarm clock has a simple but bold number typeface that is easily visible, with a large hour and minute hand.
Since our bodies naturally rise with the sun, an alarm clock that imitates that effect can make waking up less of a struggle. This modern-looking option has a bold LED display with three brightness settings and eight different color modes. If waking up to light is not for you, there’s also more traditional nature sounds and an FM radio.
It’s pricier than the hOmeLabs clock above, but you get a better build and intuitive touch controls, along with five different alarm sounds, seven natural sounds, 25 brightness settings and a simple tap to snooze feature.
The analog Wideboy has an appealing retro look inspired by British clocks from the 19th and 20th centuries. It measures 8 inches across and it has a large clock face with dark bold numbered hour markers that are almost impossible to miss. It also has a silent second hand, which is unique — and key if you don’t want to hear that obnoxious ticking sound while you’re trying to fall asleep.
The LED lights are bright and easy to see from afar, and the big buttons on the top are simple to use. I also like the continuously visible alarm time, so you know you set the right time and you won’t mess up your morning routine.
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