The CubieTime may be familiar if you travel and sleep in hotels often – it is primarily marketed to hotels as a durable charging station and alarm clock with simple controls. It has two USB ports and two AC outlets on the top panel, so you can charge as many as four devices at once. Unlike the best sunrise alarm clocks (opens in new tab), it doesn't have any cheery sunrise wake-up function, but it's still effective.
Because of its comprehensive charging options, this alarm clock has an extremely thick power cord that is permanently attached to the back panel. The thick power cable isn’t a problem if you can stow it behind your nightstand, but if you plan to travel with your alarm clock, the CubieTime could take up valuable space in your luggage.
We tested each alarm clock’s durability by pushing it off a nightstand onto a variety of flooring surfaces in our lab. The CubieTime showed no signs of functional or cosmetic damage after falling multiple times on carpet, hardwood and tile floors.
The snooze button sits at the front of the top panel, and it is one of only two buttons on the alarm clock. We pressed it more than 100 times with varying amounts of force and it continued to work perfectly. The snooze button also functions as a dimmer switch for the display. You can use it to turn the display completely off if you want – you won’t be able to check the time in the middle of the night, but if you need complete darkness to sleep, this is handy feature.
Of the models we compared, the CubieTime makes it the easiest to set the alarm time. You press a knob on the top panel to turn the alarm on and off. When you hold it down for two seconds, the alarm time flashes, and you can change it by twisting the knob.
The CubieTime doesn’t have a dual alarm or weekend alarm features, which would allow you to set separate alarm times for weekends and weekdays for two people. It also doesn’t automatically sync with an atomic clock or adjust for daylight saving time – if you live in a state that participates in daylight saving, you have to remember to manually adjust the clock. You change the clock settings by holding the snooze button for five seconds and turning a knob.
You can also put two AA batteries in the bottom panel to save the time settings if the power goes out. However, when the clock is running on the backup batteries, the alarm doesn’t sound.
The CubieTime is as simple as it gets. It doesn’t have confusing menus to navigate, but that means it doesn’t have many convenience features or customizable alarm settings. Still, it is a good fit if you just want a simple alarm clock and charge a lot of devices at night.