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Waking up to the grating sounds of an alarm clock is never fun. But thankfully wake-up lights can make the unwelcome experience of early morning rising more pleasant. And there's no better example of this than the Philips HF3520 — a wake-up light that's developed a big fan base in recent years. In this Philips HF3520 review, we'll point out the areas where this product shines and cite a few examples of where it falls short.
Ease of Use
Summary: Few wake-up lights boast the capabilities and polish offered by the Philips HF3520. Thanks to its impeccable construction, performance and wide array of customization options, it's easily one of the most popular models selling today.
The HF3520 incorporates a slew of technologies pioneered by Philips over the years, creating a more relaxing wake-up experience. Moreover, it also helps you to comfortably drift off to sleep with its dimming sunset feature and five different soothing sounds.
Scientists have known for a long time that the way we wake up in the morning can have a dramatic impact on our overall health and daily productivity (source). Like many animals, human beings are hardwired to align our sleep cycles with the rising and setting of the sun. But most of us in the modern world no longer continue to live this way. Instead, we tend to wake up to the jarring sounds of an alarm clock in the early morning hours to force us out of bed.
In recent years, wake-up lights have entered the market, offering consumers a much more natural and gentle way to awaken us from our slumber. One of the most popular wake-up lights selling today is the Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light, which we describe in detail below...
- Easy-to-read LED display
- 20 brightness settings
- Variable red, yellow and orange LED hues
- 300 lux brightness for maximum illumination
- Auto-dimming clock display
- Tap-to-snooze functionality
- 5 unique natural wake-up audio loops
- Integrated FM radio
- Non-slip rubber feet
Like most wake-up lights, the Philips HF3520 is designed to simulate a natural sunrise by increasing its brightness incrementally over the course of a half hour or so to avoid being jolted out of sleep in the wee hours of the morning.
The light hues of the simulated sunrise shift from red to pale yellow while a selection of ambient sounds like chirping birds, ocean waves hitting a beach, and piano notes play in the background.
The HF3520 is among the most popular models on the market today for several reasons:
- Well-constructed, reliable and glitch-free
- Powerful LED light guaranteed to last the life of the unit without fail or performance degradation
- Many customization options, including a gradual increase in alarm volume and intensity of light in a matter of seconds
- Among the most attractive designs at any price
Detailed Philips HF3520 Review
Quality – 4.5/5
If Steve Jobs and Jony Ive from Apple had collaborated on a wake-up light, it would have come close to the Philips HF3520. First, its streamlined and clutter-free appearance is as visually appealing as any Apple product. Second, its materials are top-grade and resilient enough to even withstand the occasional spill.
Most importantly, the HF3520 is designed to work for years without fail, making it among the most reliable wake-up lights you'll ever encounter. And if you're not entirely satisfied with the device, you can always request a refund within 90 days of the purchase date.
Ease of Use – 4/5
The HF3520 boasts a simple interface and relatively easy programming routine. With just a few taps of the touchscreen buttons, you can carefully fine-tune your own unique wake-up regimen. This saves you a lot of time at the outset and throughout the life of the unit.
That said, the HF3520 isn't quite as user-friendly as some other models with fewer features. For example, the controls positioned around the device are rather tiny, which might be difficult for some people to navigate.
Features – 4.5/5
More than the sum of its parts, the HF3520's many handy features can replace several key items in your bedroom, including alarm clock radios, reading lamps, light therapy devices and white noise machines, without taking up much space on your nightstand. And that's just the big stuff...
As far as the little things, the HF3520 includes many of the features you'd come to expect from these items, such as a tap-to-snooze option to allow you to catch a few extra winks and five realistic sounding audio loops to help lull you in and out of sleep.
The only important feature missing from the HF3520 is the same feature omitted from all Philips' wake-up lights: the lack of a battery backup. But so long as you have a free outlet nearby, this shouldn't pose much of a problem.
Price – 4/5
The HF3520 isn't the cheapest wake-up light, not by a long stretch. But based on its quality, design, durability and impressive list of features, the price is actually fairly reasonable, especially when considering the important role it's bound to play in your life. Then again, if you don't fully buy into the benefits of light therapy, the extra cost may not be worth it. In that case, opting for a less expensive light may make more fiscal sense (see below for details).
How Does It Compare?
Philips HF3470 Wake-Up Light
The HF3470 is cylindrically-shaped wake-light with a truly remarkable sunrise simulation. That said, it's also one of the most expensive wake-up lights on the market today and with fewer features than the HF3520 (e.g., no diminished light feature, etc.)
Philips HF3500 Wake-Up Light
Essentially, the HF3500 is a less expensive, bare bones version of the HF3520. But despite the lack of extra features (e.g., no background sounds or FM radio), its flat disc shape makes it more portable than other Philips models.
Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-Up Light
While the Lumie 250 won't win any awards for its bulky, unattractive design, it works just as well as the others on our list. Plus, it includes a battery backup, which none of the Philips models offer. This device only features military time, not standard time.
INLIFE Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
As the least expensive wake-up light on this list, the INLIFE doesn't offer the same kind of quality as the other models. Still, it replicates the basic functionality to an admirable degree and even includes a battery backup to boot.
How to Choose the Right Wake-Up Light
Before you jump at any given model, think about the features you want most in a wake-up light. For example, should it have a natural soundtrack to help you arise peacefully? If so, the Philips HF3520 or the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 would probably suit you best.
What about a battery backup? In that case, the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 or INLIFE wake-up lights are the ones to focus on.
But for the best overall wake-up light that won't break the bank, we'd recommend the Philips HF3520 over the others because of its great quality, peerless performance, and impeccable style.
Here's to more pleasant mornings!
Now Over to You!
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