Boring alarm clocks are so yesterday. Thankfully, we’ve seen an increasing number of inventive new takes on the genre. Take the new JBL Horizon, for example, which adds ambient light to the standard music or alarm tone wake-up experience.
The $100 radio can be customized to provide individual alarms for both you and your partner that consist of music played back music from the radio, a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, or just a simple alarm tone/buzz. Maybe you want to wake up to some upbeat Jay-Z tunes, while your spouse prefers some low-key Pavarotti. But if the blaring noise or soothing tunes aren’t enough to arouse you from slumber, the clock radio lets you you see the light, quite literally, with the ambient glow of LED lights to help ease you out of bed.
The Horizon’s LCD has a built-in light sensor that displays the time (obviously) and automatically adjusts the brightness based on how light it is in the room. On those lazy Saturdays, use the snooze button to shut off both the audio and the light.
Another great feature – the Horizon can charge your mobile devices while you sleep via a pair of USB ports. That can include everything from your smartphone, to your tablet, or even your smartwatch or activity tracker.
Audibly, the radio delivers stereo sound, has five programmable FM radio preset buttons, and, as noted, sports the capability to stream music wirelessly from a smartphone or other device.
While it’s great on the nightstand for bedtime, the unit is pretty compact, and employs a soft, rubberized finish in black or white, so it would be equally fitting in the kitchen, office, or den as well. (It’s not a bad idea to have the nice, ambient light after you have a coffee in hand anyway.) The Horizon can be a handy backup radio as well, with a built-in battery system that will ensure the alarm goes off, and the radio remains operational, even in a power outage.
At the end of the day (er, beginning, rather) the Horizon looks like a neat, less-annoying way to coax a late-riser out of bed without having to pull the drapes open and let the sunshine in. We’ll have on in soon for a hands-on review.