Thursday, 20 October 2011

Talking clock-Product review

A recent visit to one of my favourite shops, Give the dog a bone, resulted in a rather spontaneous purchase on my part.  A talking clock. How exciting. And in the shape of an apple too!

"What does it say?" I asked the befuddled looking shop assistant, who thankfully is also one of my closest friends, and therefore used to my crazy ramblings, "Does it dish out infinite words of wisdom and inspiration in your darkest hours? Or can you record your own utterances and have them played back to you?"

Actually, the clock tells you the time and the temperature when you press the little stalky button on top. As it happened, I had just relegated my old clock to the drawer, battery-less, for being too noisy, and so I took this as a sign that it was meant to be and purchased the clock.

In theory a talking clock is a grand old idea, one that Wallace and Gromit would have been proud to come up with. In fact they're probably kicking themselves right now that they didn't. Calm down lads, and have another piece of Wensleydale, I see some flaws in this product.

As well as the talking setting, where you press the apple stalk to hear the time, the clock also has a silent setting. If you press the stalk, the screen lights up, showing you the time and temperature. It's one of those colour changing screens, that stays alight for 20-30 seconds going through several colours of light before turning itself off. Either setting is great for people who can't sleep easily with the light of a clock glaring down at them.

The more sharp minded reader will have already noticed the problem with this. In order to see/hear the time in the middle of night, you have to drag your arm out of it's lovely warm position under your duvet, s-t-r-e-t-c-h across to the other side of the bed, possibly across anyone else who happens to be in your bed and press the button. Plus, if it's on the speaker setting, it is liable to wake other people up, resulting in angry housemates. The possibilities are endless.

Some of the instructions are written in questionable English. This isn't an English language student and aspiring writer being pernickity over the odd misplaced apostrophe. Oh no. I quote one paragraph from the instructions

           "when the alarm unseal, it will play the music ring 
when the alarm time arrive the setting time, music will 
continue one minute, it will talk time one time 
when the music talking at last second."

Resultingly, the alarm hasn't successfully worked yet, so no comment on what sound it may or may not make. Not a problem if you're a student who rarely has anyway to be before 11am. Slightly problematic if you're a businessman who must be up at 6:32:23 each morning to catch an overpacked train to a bustling city in order to do a highly-important-yet-top-secret job.

Another annoyance is the voice. It's an American woman, and a highly annoying one at that. There is nothing wrong with American women, or indeed their voices, except that this particular one happens to be annoying. On reflection, maybe that'll make an effective alarm. Maybe we'll never know.

If you're in the market (or indeed, in Give the dog a bone) for a serious clock, then this fruit themed wonder is probably not for you. If, however you're looking for something a little bit quirky, then this clock is unusual and definitely has it's benefits. The annoying American woman is not one of them.

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