The Philips Wake-up Light Sunrise Clock HF3500/60 is made specifically for people who don’t like to be startled by loud noises first thing in the morning. Like the best sunrise alarm clocks, it wakes you up with a faux sunrise. It’s also the only alarm clock we reviewed that doesn’t have a battery backup.
The clock’s lack of convenience features makes it impossible to customize, but it is the most affordable model we could find with sunrise simulation.
This alarm clock did not fare well in our durability tests. Its semi-opaque front cover does a good job of diffusing the wake-up light but was heavily scratched when it fell from a nightstand onto hardwood and tile flooring in our lab. It’s not the smallest clock we reviewed, but it is very lightweight, which makes it susceptible to being pushed off a nightstand if you accidentally bump it. Its top-heavy design also makes it easy to tip over.
The Wake-up Light Sunrise’s biggest shortcoming is that it doesn’t have a traditional snooze button. To snooze the alarm, you tap on the top of the front panel. While this seems fine on paper, it was unresponsive in our tests. We found that it took several taps in the same location for the clock to snooze.
It also fell over multiple times as we tried to snooze it, and we were standing in front of the clock fully awake, not fumbling around in the dark half asleep. This troublesome feature will be a major annoyance if you snooze your alarm while laying down. Since snooze gets pressed more than any other button on an alarm clock, we suggest getting one that uses a traditional button instead of an unreliable tap function if you use it often.
The buzzer alarm gets progressively louder after the sunrise simulation runs its course. When we measured its maximum volume with a decibel meter placed two feet from the speaker, it reached 67.5dB, which is average for our test group.
Philips makes several alarm clocks with sunrise simulation – we chose to test the HF3500/60 because it costs less than $60, which is a good starting point if you want to replace the alarm app on your phone. If you want to wake up to a sunrise instead of a startling buzzer, we suggest spending a little more on a different model because of the HF3500/60’s lack of features and durability problems.