Product Review: Verilux Rise & Shine Natural Alarm Clock Deluxe Bedside Lamp

UPDATE: 5-DEC-06
Finally got a refund.

UPDATE: 29-NOV-06
I sent this lamp back nearly a month ago. Verilux still has not refunded me for the lamp.

UPDATE: 12-NOV-06
I forwarded my blog entry to Verilux. They called the lamp’s failure after one day totally unacceptable and offered to send me a new bulb and/or a replacement lamp. They also told me that, except for the radio reception, they had received all the feedback I had given, and were working to integrate those concepts into the next version of the lamp.

I sent the lamp back over a week ago, and have yet to receive my money back.

ORIGINAL BLOG POST: 29-OCT-06
This blog entry may bore my regular readers. I’ve recently started getting a fair number of Google search hits–about half the traffic on my blog–so I thought I would add a review of this extremely expensive product on the off chance someone finds it in a Google search.

Verilux I recently bought the Verilux Rise & Shine lamp because it is already so dark up here in Seattle that the sun is a good hour away from rising when I wake up to go to work. The idea behind the lamp (with a full-spectrum bulb that imitates light from the sun) is that it turns on gradually over an extended period of time, helping you wake up.

I’ve been so groggy over the past three weeks that I was willing to cough up $150 for a lamp & alarm clock. What a mistake.

  • The lamp itself stopped working after one day.
  • The alarm lets you choose whether you want sound, light or both to wake you up. I thought this product would be fantastic if the light started to turn on gradually about 15 minutes before the radio turned on. It doesn’t work that way. The radio turns on the same time the light turns on, and this problem is exacerbated by the next complaint.
  • There are only four volume settings for the radio. The lowest setting is perfectly clear and louder than I need to wake up. Of course, since the product is supposed to gradually increase the volume of sound, it ramps all the way up to the loudest setting. To add insult to injury, you can’t turn down the volume when it’s in the alarm cycle.
  • The light itself turns on rather abruptly. Mind you, I only got to experience this on one morning before the bulb or lamp was broken, but the light went from zero to about 20% in a fraction of a second, which is more than enough (and sudden enough) to wake me up.
  • The radio has unbelievably horrible reception. The local NPR station, KUOW, comes in crystal-clear on my stereo and cheap shower radio. No matter how long I spent tuning the lamp radio, I got a lot of static. No matter where in the apartment I put the lamp, I got a substantial amount of static.
  • The radio tuner is contextless. That is, the dial has no numbers whatsoever, so you can’t tell whether you’re in the 101s or the 92s. Finding your favorite channel takes about 10 minutes of listening to every channel that sort of sounds like what you’re looking for.
  • I like the soothing sounds, and I can imagine it would help me get back to sleep on those occasions when I wake up in the middle of the night. I found the "extra" sounds a bit distracting, though. For example, the "surf" sound includes whale calls, while the "forest" sound–rhythmic insect chirping–has an an owl cooing in your year.

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