Sometime in the second millennium, Realistic manufactured a Chronomatic radio alarm clock, which my parents bought for me. Over 2 decades of use later, my reliable alarm clock had only started dying. It had lost its radio capability, but it could still be set to beep loud enough to wake up an entire room, no matter its size. Unfortunately, if the volume control could possibly set the alarm's sound in the past, that feature had broken long ago, so when I realized the prospect of being awakened by such a heart-threatening sound had perhaps become scary enough to make me lose sleep, I decided my oldest electrical device had earned the right to its ultimate sleep, while I had earned the right to buy a new, smooth alarm clock.
After a careful on-line search, I decided the Chronomatic's successor would be a Timex T128BC3, sold by Walmart for 25 CAD, part of Timex's T128 series. After a few weeks of usage, I can say this purchase will have been worth it if the clock is still working as well in 20 years. The alarm can be set to be gradual, very smooth. The display is OK.
The only weaknesses I found are:
- The DST control is a good idea, but it would save a lot more time to add a button for each digit to set times quickly, rather than simply time-consuming plus/minus buttons.
- Enabling and disabling the alarm cause a confirmation sound which is not incredibly loud, but still easily loud enough to wake up anyone else sleeping in the same room.
- The "24 Hour Set & Forget Alarm with auto repeat and auto shutoff" feature Timex brags about is worthless in practice. Unless you wake up at the same time every day (including weekend days), you'll still have to manually disable and re-enable alarms. If you wake up before the alarm time, there's no way to prevent just the next alarm. You have to disable the alarm completely (then re-enable it at night). Which makes weakness #2 considerably worst.