Very close to being a real top quality sunrise alarm clock, but a couple of issues lose the Philips HF3505 some marks. Nonetheless a very good product.
MY RATING: 84%
Wake up to one of two nature sounds or FM radio
90 second demonstration mode of the light intensity and sound levels to help you select your preferences
Snooze button that snoozes audio alarm for nine minutes
Can be used as a bedside light
Ten light intensity settings – personalise the strength of the light you wake up to
Choose either 12 hour or 24 hour time format
Adjustable time display with four brightness levels
Display brightness control – 4 settings
Fall Asleep function – No
Number of alarm times – 1
Box Dimensions (WxHxD) – H200 x W200 x D130mm
Snooze Duration – 9 minute(s)
Product Dimensions – H 180mm x W 180mm x D 115mm
Number of Wake-up Sounds – 2
Product Weight – 290 grams
FM Radio – Yes
Replaceable Lamp – No
Brightness settings – 10
Type of Lamp – Liteon SMD Lamp LED
Light intensity – 200 Lux
Voltage – 100/240 V
Sunrise simulating process – 30 minutes
Cord Length EU/US – 150/180 CM
Colours in sunrise simulation – Bright Yellow
In The Box
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3505/01
Two x AC/DC adaptor
Two year guarantee
So How Does the Philips HF3505 Wake Up Light Work?
You choose an alarm time, the type of sound you want to wake up to, a volume level (a scale of 1 to 10) and the light intensity (on a scale of 1 to 10) you want the light to reach. You know the alarm is activated when you see the alarm symbol on the Philips HF3505 display.
When it comes to waking up, the light intensity will slowly increase to the selected level in the 30 minutes before your alarm time. So if you set the alarm for 7.30am, the light will start to come on at 7am and gradually increase in brightness over the next 30 minutes.
Then, if you aren’t already awake, your selected sound will come on and gradually increase in volume to your preset volume setting over the next 90 seconds. Tap the top of the light to snooze the alarm for nine minutes.
The two nature sounds you can choose to wake up to are birds chirping and birds in what sounds like a rainforest (well there a frogs in the background ribbeting) or you can wake up to the FM Radio.
Don’t want any sound to play after the light reaches full intensity? Then set the volume at the lowest level which is practically inaudible unless you have supersonic hearing and you will wake up with the light alone.
You can also adjust the time display to one of four settings – high, medium, low or very low. The unit has a number of touchscreen buttons that are used for variety of functions. These automatically dim when not in use and then brighten with hand motion.
One thing about the Philips Wake-Up Lights is that pretty much all of them do a great job of simulating the sunrise and the HF3505 is no different.
It goes from a mild yellow to a bright yellow over the 30 minute period and it is a pleasant, soothing and refreshing light that rouses you from your sleep.
Thanks to the ten adjustable brightness settings it doubles up as a very neat bedside lamp as well, adding a cool touch of ambiance or, on low setting, a nice night light. So you can use it to read, etc before going to sleep.
It has a number of customisable features that you can adjust to get the perfect wake up experience.
You can alter the sound volume, brightness wake up and brightness of the clock display and choose from FM radio or nature sounds to wake up to.
The nature sounds in particular are great – the birds chirping and rainforest (I think that is how I would describe it) sounds are realistic and relaxing and add to the effectiveness of the unit.
It is easy to setup. Just plug it in, set the time and the alarm time, pick your wake up tone and light intensity and you are ready to go.
It is quite intuitive, although the first couple of times you use it you might want to have the instructions around, but it won’t take you long to master setting it up. The instructions for what it is worth are simple and complete.
The touchscreen functionality is a quite nifty and it really enhances the design and the way the buttons light up as you move your fingers towards them the dark is pretty cool.
Finally the light is pretty small and compact, will fit nicely on most nightstands/bedside tables and can be moved around pretty easily.
There are a few design issues with the Philips HF3505.
The first one you will probably notice is that when you are nicely roused from your sleep by the gently illuminating light, that the only way to turn it off is by touching a very small, hard to identify, sensor on the display unit that is literally just below the ring of light.
So invariably you find yourself staring into a dazzling light whilst probing for the tiny spot to turn it off – it is tricky and annoying and hurts your eyes.
Additionally there are nine touchscreen buttons on the front of the unit around the digital clock. They are quite small, fiddly to press and close together.
As mentioned above they are activated by motion in the dark, so do light up as your hand approaches, but it is very easy to press two at once or the wrong one altogether when you are in a sleepy state and it can be quite annoying.
The HF3505 has a snooze button slap bang on top of it, which you would think is great.
You can easily snooze it right? Wrong. It isn’t a sensitive button like the touchscreen buttons on the front of this unit and it is not a press and hold thing. Instead you have to kind of sharply tap it. But because the device itself is quite lightweight you can quite easily end up pushing the wake-up light around your bedside table, or even knocking it over completely as you try and snooze it.
Another oversight is the fact that the light controls, when you use it as a lamp at night, are linked to the brightness of the alarm in the morning.
By this I mean if you use it as a bedside reading lamp before you go to bed, and say have it nice and dimly lit at light intensity four, then this is the maximum intensity it will reach when it comes on in the morning. You have to physically remember to ramp up the brightness level before you turn it off so the light reaches your required light intensity in the morning.
The same goes for the sounds as well. This is quite annoying and I think Philips realised this as the HF3520 doesn’t suffer from the same fault.
For the price is disappointing that there is no battery back-up, it runs entirely off the mains power supply so if the power dies in the middle of the night then the time and alarm and lost and you won’t wake up on time.
What might be a deal breaker for some is the fact that you cannot turn off the time display completely. You can adjust it right down so it is very dim, but for many even the the lowest setting will be too bright.
For people with sleeping issues any kind of light can cause a problem and it would have been easy to have time display that goes off completely.
I mean they’ve made the little buttons around the time motion sensitive so surely they could have done the same with the time display?!
Other quibbles are minor – there are no presets for the radio and there is only one alarm. Dual alarms, one you could set for weekdays and one for the weekend would be nice. The Philips HF3520 is a much better wake up light if you are looking for an alternative – although it is more pricey.
The Philips HF3505 follows the trend of most of the Philips Wake Up Light range. It is sleek, stylish and slightly futuristic looking. It is compact, so doesn’t take up much space and has a more pleasing appearance than a regular alarm clock.
Indeed it does. The overall verdict amongst those who had bought it was that it makes getting out of bed on dark mornings much easier and leaves you feeling less groggy and more refreshed and alert and ready to face the day.
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:
Very customisable to get a bespoke wake up experience
Nature sounds are great
Easy to use
Nifty touchscreen functionality
Compact – doesn’t take up much space
Placement of buttons – can only turn off the light by staring directly into it!
Touchscreen buttons are small and fiddly
Snooze button can be annoyingly difficult to activate
Light settings have to be reset each time if you also use it as a bedside lamp
No battery back up
Cannot turn off time display completely
My Rating - 84%
Very good, but not quite great
With a few little tweaks this could have been a real contender for the best sunrise alarm clock out there, but as it is it falls a little short.
The sunrise simulation is great, and the wake up sounds work really well to add to the wake up experience. It is easy to use and doubles up as nice lamp to read by at night.
Unfortunately the design issues, notably the fact you have to stare into the light to turn it off, and the slightly annoying and fiddly touchscreen buttons, not to mention the lack of a battery back up and the inability to be able to dim the time display completely lose it some marks.
But the bottom line is with the beautiful sunrise simulation and pleasant nature sounds it does the job it is meant to do very well.