Pros / The individualized dual alarms and built-in audio cable are convenient.
Cons / The backlight is bright, and if you turn it off, you can't see the time without pressing a button.
Verdict / The Sony Nature Sounds Clock Radio has a great balance of features to function as an efficient alarm clock and radio.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
For years, Sony has been a leading brand name in electronics. The company's Sony Nature Sounds Clock Radio is a great alarm clock offering from their product line. It also has a convenient built-in audio cable and each dual alarm has individualized volume, sound and day controls.
The clock comes with the time preset at the factory to EST. To set the clock to your time, you can manually cycle through the numbers or select one of the seven U.S. time zones. You can also enable or disable the automatic daylight saving time option. The time can only be set to the 12-hour format.
The snooze button is in an easy-to-find location right on the top of the alarm clock. It's the same length as the display screen, so if you're aiming in the dark, the button won't be too difficult to find. The snooze option itself isn't limited to one set time increment; you can set it to last from 10 to 60 minutes.
In addition to the AC power cord at the back of a clock, the Sony alarm clock has an FM wire antenna. At the end of the wire is a temperature sensor. In the corner of the display, the clock shows the room temperature in either Fahrenheit or Centigrade.
If you don't like a lot of light when you sleep, you can adjust the brightness on the blue backlit display. The clock gives you the option of high, low, or off, and you can quickly cycle through all the options with the snooze button.
If you're looking for a great radio in addition to a functional alarm clock, then this unit's AM/FM radio receives great reception. The Sony Nature Sounds gives you 10 station presets, five for AM and five for PM, so you don't have to continuously search for your favorite stations. In addition to the FM wire antenna, a slot on the back lets you connect an external AM antenna if you want to get clearer AM reception.
For those who like to listen to sound as they fall asleep, you have the option of a sleep timer. You can listen to your own music or sounds from an external device, one of the nature sounds or the radio. The timer can be set to last from 15 to 90 minutes.
Instead of a basic auxiliary input option like many other alarm clock radios, Sony Nature Sounds has a built-in audio cable. You can plug in an MP3 player or other device to play music or sounds over the clock radio's speakers. The short cable has its own slot to keep it out of the way when you're not using it. While this is convenient, it also means you won't be able to switch out the cord if it stops working. The addition of the audio cable, FM wire antenna and optional AM antenna to the power cord might get in the way or clutter your night table.
This alarm clock runs mainly on AC power. However, it has a battery backup in case of a power outage. Running on the battery has certain limitations. For example, you won't be able to use the backlight, and nature sound alarms will switch to the buzzer option. However, you won't have to worry about the alarm failing.
The Sony Nature Sounds gives you three options for alarms: a standard buzzer, the radio or one of five nature sounds (sea waves, birds, rain, brook or under the sea). Each option has its own button, so switching between sounds is fast and easy. The buzzer option is the only sound with the gradual alarm increase feature that speeds up the buzzer the longer the alarm goes. However, you can set the sound and volume for each of the clock's dual alarms.
You also get flexibility for what days you set the alarm, so you don't have to keep remembering when to turn it on and off. In addition to setting the alarm for one day at a time, you can choose from a 2-5-7 day feature, meaning you can set an alarm for just the weekdays, just the weekend, or every day.
Like many other alarm clocks in our lineup, the Sony Nature Sounds comes with a 12-month limited warranty. For the warranty and other support, Sony you have the option of using the phone, email or a live chat on the website. If you misplace the instruction manual, Sony lists it on its support website for easy viewing.
The Sony Nature Sounds Clock Radio is both an effective alarm clock and good radio. It gives you the convenience of a built-in audio cable and temperature readout. The alarm options give you a fair variety of choices without being overwhelming, and the individual volume settings for the dual alarms make it efficient if you're using it with a partner.