Review: It shook my (morning) world

My alarm clock used to be my smartphone on vibrate mode. It was not a smart thing to do. You know why if you are one of the almost everyone else who uses your phone in bed. (Talk about a health hazard!)

I’ve since mostly switched to something smarter – the iLuv SmartShaker, a single-purpose device with only one job to do. Every morning, the thing vibrates from beneath my pillow at a pre-set time. Then I wake up. And curse its existence. And get up. And curse my existence. And that’s it.

In short, it’s an alarm with a built-in vibrator. With the associated smartphone app, you only need to turn on the bluetooth on your phone, open the app, and configure it. It’s easy to set up, the vibration is strong (with three levels to choose from), it’s slim and flat enough to slip under the pillow without discomfort, and it has a snooze button, and the battery goes on for weeks.

A word about the design and material: It looks neat and minimalist (if that’s important to you), and has a plasticky build with a bit of a smooth rubber-ish texture on the top and bottom. How tough is it actually? Will it break down easily? No idea. There’s no clip on it, but I’ve never had it drop to the floor in the four months I’ve used it.

The one clear downside is that it isn’t a clock per se, so it doesn’t show the time at all. When you’re feeling ambitious and have set it to wake you at, say, 7am on a Sunday, and turns out you really need to sleep in 10 minutes more, you better have a clock in your bedroom, else you actually have to walk out to the hall to look at the time.

(Apparently it can also play sounds, but of course I didn’t bother to test this. Anything I can hear with my naked ears might induce heart attacks in people with normal hearing, especially at my usual 5am wake-up time. And if you wonder, how much can I hear? Ok, say, roadwork drilling from a couple meters away but not much of anything else, not even heavy traffic.)

Thanks to Tara for the gift!

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