Philips HF3500 Wake Up Light Review: Cheap But Is It Good?


In Short

Product Name: Philips HF3500 Wake Up Light
Latest Review Date: 19 July 2019
Price Guideline: $$$

Lacking functionality but the Philips HF3500 is a solid entry level wake-up light at a reasonable price.


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Editor’s Note

Editor's note photo

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  • Simulated sunrise wake up light
  • Light gradually increases over period of 30 minutes prior to alarm
  • Ten brightness settings
  • One wake up sound
  • One alarm setting
  • Snooze function
  • UV-free
  • Adjustable time display brightness – four settings
  • Can be used as a reading light

Product Information

  • Display brightness control – 4 settings
  • Number of alarm times – 1
  • Snooze Duration – 9 minute(s)
  • Number of Wake-up Sounds – 1
  • FM Radio – No
  • Brightness settings – 10
  • Light intensity – 200 Lux
  • Sunrise simulating process – 30 minutes
  • Colours in sunrise simulation – Bright Yellow
  • Fall Asleep function – No
  • Box Dimensions (WxHxD) – H200 x W200 x D130mm
  • Product Dimensions – H 180mm x W 180mm x D 115mm
  • Product Weight – 290 grams
  • Replaceable Lamp – No
  • Type of Lamp – Liteon SMD Lamp LED
  • Voltage – 100/240 V
  • Cord Length EU/US – 150/180 CM

In The Box

  • 1 x Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3500
  • 2 x AC/DC adaptors
  • User manual
  • Two year guarantee

So How Does The HF3500 Wake Up Light Work?

The Philips Wake Up Light HF3500 works in a similar way to most of its predecessors. It gradually lights up over a period of 30 minutes to a preset brightness that you chose.

It has ten brightness settings with the highest setting, number 10, being the equivalent of 200 lux light intensity.

So chose your brightness setting, between 1 and 10, and then the time you want the alarm to wake you up. The light will start to glow 30 minutes prior to the alarm time you set.

So say for instance you set the alarm to 7am it will then start to lightly glow at 6.30am gradually increasing in intensity until it reaches its maximum brightness at 7am.

When the clock gets to the alarm time you set and the light reaches its maximum brightness an audible alarm will start to sound. A beeping that starts softly and slowly gets louder after a minute and a half.

The time display on the front can be adjusted to one of four brightness settings and you can also use the light as a reading lamp although remember you will need to reset the brightness of the lamp to your required wake up brightness before you sleep.

So if for instance you are using it at level 7 to read before bed but want it to reach brightness level 10 when it wakes you up in the morning you will need to manually set it at level 10 before you go to sleep.

The Good

The Philips HF3500, as is common in most similar products these days, uses an LED light. This is cheaper to run, there are no bulbs that need replacing and it won’t give off much heat compared to a halogen light.

The LED bulb is rated for 16,000 hours, which means even if you use it every day you will get 87 years of life out of it, which isn’t bad!

The light itself has a nice warm tint to it, much nicer than a regular bulb and if you haven’t used a wake-up light before you will most definitely notice the difference in the quality and tone of the light.

Later iterations of the Philips Wake-Up Lights can be a bit tricky to use – figuring out how to set the time and the alarm isn’t always intuitive in the more recent models.

However the HF3500 has a set of controls that are classically simple, easy to use and understand and well-designed. Times and alarms can be set with the minimum of fuss and frustration.

Another plus point of this wake-up light is that it is actually very light and easy to move around. It is around 6 to 7 inches wide and less than half an inch thick, it is similar in size to a saucer that you would put a tea cup on. So if you travel a lot and want a sunrise alarm clock you can take with you then this would be perfect.

If, like me, you are particularly sensitive to light, then the adjustable time display feature is really useful. You can adjust its brightness to one of four different levels.

I hate any ambient light and have had alarm clocks in the past where the time display is so bright it has kept me awake. With this device the lowest brightness setting is very, very dim indeed.

You can use this as a standalone reading light as well, which is very handy. Of the ten brightness settings then levels five and above are fine for reading.

Finally and for many most importantly, in comparison to other models this is cheap. It doesn’t have the features some of the higher end models have, but if you are looking for an entry level model into these sort of alarms it might just be perfect for you to try out and see how you get on with it.

Take A Closer Look Button

The Bad

So first things first, the HF3500 doesn’t have a battery back-up. So even a quick power surge makes the alarm reset, then when it does come back on it blinks at its brightest time display setting until you set it which would be enough to disturb a light sleeper.

It means that you might have to have a secondary alarm by your bedside just in case there is a power outage. However please note this is a common feature of Philips Wake Up Lights – even the more expensive models do not have a battery back-up.

There is also just the one alarm. Once you set your alarm you need to then change it if you need to wake up at a different time each morning.

It isn’t that difficult to change the alarm but later models such as the Philips HF3520, do have two alarms that can be set independently of each other.

On the subject of the alarm, if you want lovely nature sounds to gently rouse you from your sleep then this isn’t the model for you. The only alarm you get is the beeping sound.

The beeping isn’t that harsh, but in my opinion the birds and water sounds on models such as the Philips HF3510 are much nicer (that model is much more expensive though!).

It is also important to note that the alarm sound cannot be disabled on this model. So if you want to wake up to only the light and not the sound that is not possible.

In some ways this does defeat the purpose of a wake up light, it is meant to wake you up naturally with its increasing light but you have no option but to hear the beeping alarm!

In fact the alarm volume cannot be altered, so there isn’t even the option to have the alarm sounding at a quieter level.

Generally you will be woken by the light and not have to worry about the alarm, but if you are a particularly heavy sleeper and don’t like the idea of being startled from your sleep by a beeping alarm another model might be more suitable for you.

You need to always remember to set the light brightness before you sleep. By that I mean if you’ve been using the light to read by at say level five, but want it to reach level ten when you wake up in the morning you must remember to reset it to level ten otherwise it will only reach level 5 in the morning and might not wake you up! Not a major thing, but don’t let it cost you one morning when you forget to do it!

Mentioned in the pros of this model is the fact that you can adjust the brightness of the time display to one of four levels. However it is worth noting that you cannot turn the time display off completely.

For most people the lowest setting, which is very dim, will be fine, however if you are a very light sleeper you might find even this setting too bright for you.

Finally the snooze function on the HF3500 could do with some improvement. The instructions tell you to tap the top of the lamp to snooze the alarm. This can be 1) a bit temperamental and 2) a bit difficult to locate what constitutes the ‘top’ of the lamp. Sometimes it snoozes, sometimes it doesn’t.

Also as the clock is quite lightweight trying to tap the top of the lamp can result in you either knocking the light over or pushing it all around your bedside table.

For a better wake up light experience I’d recommend the Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light which is much better, albeit slightly more expensive.

The Beautiful

Is this the coolest looking object in the world? Maybe not, but it does have an element of style and a modern design. It looks somewhat like a futuristic satellite dish – whether that be a good thing or bad thing!

It is at the lower end of the price spectrum as far as the Philips Wake Up Lights go and sometimes you can tell this, but, all in all, it looks quite good and certainly not something you will be embarrassed about people seeing!

How Does It Compare To Other Philips Models?

NameHF3470HF3500HF3505HF3510 HF3520SmartSleep HF3650/60SmartSleep HF3670/60
Sunrise simulation duration30 min30 min30 minAdjustable (20-40min)Adjustable (20-40min)Adjustable (5-40min)Adjustable (5-40min)
Colors in sunrise simulationYellowYellowYellowOrange, YellowRed, Orange, YellowWhite, Orange, Yellow, AmberWhite, Orange, Yellow, Amber
Sunset simulation
Reading lamp
Adjustable display
Maximum light intensity200 lux200 lux200 lux300 lux300 lux310 lux315 lux
FM radio
Number of wake-up sounds2123378
Number of alarms1111234

And Does It Work?

It does. It will coax you out of your sleep and most people will wake up before the (frankly annoying) beeping starts.

You won’t be jarred out of a deep sleep and have that feeling of disorientation and irritation of waking up so abruptly and this smoother transition from being asleep to being awake should mean you feel more energetic and positive first thing in the morning.

Research has proved that wake up lights have a beneficial effect on sleep, waking, mood and energy. There are numerous studies proving this but here are just a few:

✔ Pros


  • LED light so cheaper to run
  • Warm tinted light
  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Light and compact so can be travelled with
  • Adjustable time display
  • Doubles up as a reading light
  • At the cheaper end of the market
  • No battery back up
  • Only one alarm can be set
  • Irritating beeping alarm sound
  • Cannot disable alarm sound
  • Time display cannot be turned off completely
  • Snooze function not perfect


My Verdict

My Rating - 77%


Good entry level light

If you aren’t sure whether a wake-up light is for you or not, then this might be a good place to start. It is fairly cheap and, as such, comes without too many bells and whistles.

The most important thing is that whilst the functionality is limited the wake-up light works pretty well.

It does score a mark against it for not allowing you to turn off the alarm and wake up just to the light though, a simple feature such as this would make a big difference.

A few tweaks to the functionality would give this a higher rating, but then probably a higher price tag as well. A good solid, entry level wake-up light.

User Rating: 3.75 ( 1 votes)

Other Options

If you want a budget Wake-Up Light go for the Philips HF3505, it has more functionalities.

If you can afford to spend a bit more splash out on the Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light – it has a huge array of customisable features and a lovely sunrise simulation. Or if you are going to push the boat out all the way choose the Philips Smart Sleep HF3670/60 – which is way more than just a wake-up light.

If you would like to leave your personal review or experience of this product, or if you have any questions, please do leave them below. I would love to hear your feedback!

Don’t forget you can also check out our SAD Light Reviews Index for all of my SAD Light Reviews on one page or read my SAD Light Buyers’ Guide to pick the best SAD Light for you.


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