I Can See My Clock At Night!

When they say large display, they mean large display!

When they say large display, they mean large display! I can read this easily at night without my glasses.

My old alarm clock fell off the nightstand and bounced off the windowsill a few too many times. The outer case had cracked open, and the buttons to set the time and alarm were sticking and inoperable.

My favorite thing about my old alarm clock was that it had really big numbers. I have terrible eyesight, and without my glasses or contacts, I simply cannot read any normal clock. So a large display was my main requirement for a new alarm clock.

My second requirement was a battery backup to keep time even when the power is out. Here in south Florida, we get spectacular electrical storms every day all summer long. That means we lose power frequently. It's usually only a brief outage, but my old alarm clock always went to flashing "12:00" after even a very short "blink" in the power. (I bought the old one many years ago before they came up with the brilliant idea of including a backup battery in alarm clocks.) I lived with that for a long time, until the time-set buttons became so unusable. But for my new clock, a backup battery was a must-have.

I have to say, while I was browsing online for a new alarm clock, I was amused at the many claims of "large 3/4-inch display" or "super-huge 1-inch display" and the like. A 1-inch display is .... well, it's not large. It's not even medium. It's more like the fine print on ibuprofen bottles: that is to say, it's unreadable.

Then I found the AcuRite Thor Large Display Alarm Clock from Chaney Instruments, with a 2-inch display. Now this is a large display! Here she is with a Coke can next to her, to give you an idea of how big this display really is:

The Coke can should give you an idea of how big the display on this clock really is.

The Coke can should give you an idea of how big the display on this clock really is.

The clock has a backup battery, too, so it met my other requirement.

That slider switch on the bottom is the time zone selector.

That slider switch on the bottom is the time zone selector. There are also buttons for setting the alarm and choosing whether you want the clock to adjust for Daylight Saving Time automatically.

But it gets even better. This clock has a built-in timekeeper so that when you plug it in, it automatically sets itself to the correct time based on the time zone you select. The time zone is selectable by a simple slider switch on the back; no secret, hard-to-remember sequences of key presses are needed. Just slide the switch to your time zone. And it automatically resets itself for daylight and standard time, too.

That's it! Since the clock keeps time and resets itself automatically, there's no need for manual time set buttons. (But there's way to do that, in case you should need to.)

There is a giant "Snooze" button across the top of the clock. No fumbling around for that, and no accidentally turning the alarm off when you only meant to snooze it. The "alarm off" button is a slider switch on the back of the clock, so you won't trigger that accidentally while fumbling for the Snooze button.

The giant snooze button is what all snooze buttons should be.

The giant snooze button is what all snooze buttons should be. No fumbling around, just slap the top of the clock.

Any downsides to this clock? Nothing's perfect, so what's wrong with it? Well, it's just a clock. If you want a radio, CD player, iPod docking station or any fancy stuff, you'll want something else. This is just a plain old alarm clock.

You also have to be sure to change the backup battery only with the clock plugged in. The time is pre-set at the factory, and if you remove the backup battery without having the clock plugged in, that'll mess up the factory-set time. The instructions say that the battery should be good for 3 years, but they recommend changing it after 2 years. I stuck a reminder on my computer calendar to pop up 2 years from now and remind me to change that battery. (The instructions do provide a way to manually set the time, in case the factory pre-set time gets messed up.)

Oh, and when there's a power outage, the backup battery doesn't display the time while the power is out. It's only meant to maintain the time internally until the power comes back on. I believe that most battery backup alarm clocks work that way.

This alarm clock is designed to be nothing but a simple alarm clock, and it does that extremely well. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

The AcuRite Thor Large Display Alarm Clock is available from Amazon, and you can also find alarm clocks on eBay.

 

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