Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock Hf3520/01

A Review in Technology - 31/01/2015

Philips Wake-up Light Alarm Clock Hf3520/01 Coloured Sunrise Simulation
£130 (Prices may vary)
High street and online

As Icarus flew too close to the sun leading to his demise, I too skirt around the fiery face of a burning star every morning…albeit an electronic sun in the form of a Philips Wake-up Light. Plus if I constructed wings, they wouldn’t be made of wax because I’m not ridiculous.


Getting up in the morning can be an absolute pain in the soul as we all know, and if you’re one of these people who jump out of bed clicking your heels together and singing songs of what a damn fine day it’s gonna be, then I don’t trust you as a human. Maybe it’s due to my own solipsism, but I don’t think these people truly exist apart from cartoons and overly optimistic movies from the distant past. I once went singing in the rain…I was sick for days on end after.

Before the Philips Wake-up Light Alarm Clock Hf3520/01 entered my life like a holy orb descending from the heavens, I’d jolt out of bed to a piercing, digital noise from my cell phone. After the mini heart attack it would give me, I’d rapidly be pulled back down to the zombie slumber pit of when you’re ‘awake’ but not. I’d process myself through the day and never truly begin to wake up until I’m back in bed, trying to get to sleep again. Repeat this over and over, like a glum typewriter on the edge of running out of ink. Well, not anymore.

Enter the sun-bot.

This little robot is your average alarm clock but with a programmable sun trapped within its plastic confines. Setting it up straight from the box is rather fiddly as the menu is a little tricky by today's standards, and feeling for the various buttons around the perimeter of the electronic star is also a nighttime problem as they have no discernible features to signify what each of the bastards does. Accidentally hit the wrong button whilst trying to set your alarm? Tough shit, now you’ve baked your face off with pure digital sunlight right before bed.

From sunrise to sunset; which could be as close together as you choose. You have the power.

The whole point of this machine is to stick it to Mother Nature and control when your new sun rises and sets to fit comfortably into your hectic lifestyle of doing the same thing each and every day.
30 minutes before your alarm, the digi-sun begins its warm-up process. Going from a warm red glow to a hazy yellow; by the time it’s 7am the Wake-up Light is on maximum power ready to burn your eyes out when you look over to see the time causing you to not be able drift off back to sleep as eyelids aren’t made of curtains. Waking up with this is pretty much exactly like the final moments of the 2007 sci-fi movie, Sunshine.

”Now I’m truly awake, I can fully realise the monotonous blending of days I live”

The ‘Hf3520 /01’ also has 5 soothing sounds to ease you into consciousness, albeit being pumped out of a speaker from 1736 a.d. The nature sounds (bird calls, the ocean) and the relaxing music goes well with the sunrise simulation, fading in with volume at your desired call time, but as it stands, the sound quality is sub-par compared to the rest of the robot’s build – which is a shame. I slowly wake up thinking I’m on a tropical island shore in south-east Asia and as I listen a tiny bit harder it’s painfully obvious, even when half asleep, that the sound is being played through a speaker made from potato chips and that my life is nothing but a punchline for a massive joke.

Honest to god, this is a proper review…

The snooze function is laid out in a way where you merely touch the surface of the electro-sun to stop the music alarm (not the light) and give yourself what seems to be a whole 9 seconds of peace before it starts up again. During my tests the first few mornings I was prodding the face of the Wake-up Light to the point of almost punching it through the wall to get it to understand that I longed for those extra 9 seconds of sleep. I’ve found that the general ballpark of force in which the light alarm bot registers a ‘snooze touch’ is between a simple two-finger tap, to a record distance drop-kick. However, there was one time when I tapped a wardrobe which it’s nestled by and it affirmed that as a snooze request, so it seemed as fickle as me in the mornings.

The Wake-up light also has a reverse-sunrise setting, call it sunset, which is basically the same idea as having the ball of light slowly wake you up, but backward for when you go to sleep. With 20 different levels of light for your bedtime book club, you merely press the button furthest to the right and set how long you want your sunset to last. I must admit, it’s perfect to ease you to sleep after a tough day of wondering what you’ve been put on the planet for. Pure bliss.

“Tell me it’ll be this way forever…”

It’s the perfect little musical shine bot to help you wake up properly on these awful, shitty, winter days. I would certainly recommend it, which is a strange thing for me to do.

The Pros

Great way to wake up and/or get to sleep
Acts as a lamp with 20 light levels
Has a radio if you like that kind of shit
Sturdy build

The Cons

Tricky face menu
Rim buttons are too close together and not individual enough for midnight press
Awful speaker
Price is steep for what it is

The second best way to be woken up in the morning