Sony ICF-C180 Clock Radio Reviews

Sony ICF-C180 Clock Radio

6 ratings (5 Epinions reviews)
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$179.99
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its fault and mine

Jul 18, 2008 (Updated Jul 18, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Durability:
  • Sound:

Pros:Excellent time-keeping & alarm functionality; sturdy construction; aesthetically pleasing (bright LCD!); ease of use

Cons:Poor viewing angles from LCD; speakers susceptible to RF feedback; fickle tuner

The Bottom Line: A well-built clock radio with features, functionality, and performance equitable to or surpassing its competition. Poor implementation of LCD display, in and of itself a critical show-stopper.


Early 2007, my 16-year-old Sony Dream Machine began having pronounced problems with the volume knob. Being very satisfied with its performance and track record over 16 years, seven moves, and five states, I felt confident looking to Sony for a replacement. The Sony Dream Machine ICFC180 clock radio unfortunately isn't it. A Christmas 2007 gift from my awesome mother-in-law, design flaws and my own misunderstanding have ultimately relegated this clock to my laundry room and brought my 2nd-grade Easter present back into the bedroom.

Simple stuff: the sound quality is clock radio standard, the construction is solid, thick, and durable, and the design is aesthetically pleasing—rounded whiteness evoking a cubic-Apple Computer feeling.

The features of the *180 are as advertised, multiple alarm functions, weekday/weekend functionality, DST adjustment, etc.; all of these functions performed as expected. However, it was my misinterpretation of certain functions/features that left me initially disappointed.

- "Automatic Time Set" does not mean this is a radio-controlled clock as I mistakenly assumed (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/radio_clock). The time is set upon manufacture, adjustable to your specific time zone and changeable in the event of mis-calibration.
- "Daylight Saving Time Adjustment" is not automatic, there is a button to toggle DST settings.
- "Weekend Alarm Mode" does not mean that the alarm is aware of the weekdays vs. weekends; again, this is a toggle button.

I'll accept that these are mistakes on my part: assuming specific functionality w/o equally specific documentation or reviews. However, not being able to see one in person, I don't find those assumptions unreasonable.

I was further surprised when parking my iPhone next to the *180 to charge and receiving radio interference feedback from the clock. Now, I don't know why the newer radio would be susceptible to this interference when the same model circa 1991 isn't, but it's definitely a downer.

This unit, despite having a supposedly stronger antennae, is also much more fickle about finding my radio stations than its older sibling: too much in the way of fine-tuning for my satisfaction.

The LCD is unexpectedly bright and unfortunately my wife has very low light-tolerance while sleeping, so this was unfortunate but certainly not the fault of the product—more a benefit to most.

More importantly however, this unit has extremely poor viewing angles. I put my clock on the antique sheet music cabinet that performs double duty as my bedside table, and found it unreadable while lying in bed. Just a green glow with a smear across it until I lean forward in bed and crane my head sideways to find that optimal viewing angle. It's this illegibility that makes this an alarmed, radio-playing night-light. Wholly unacceptable, unexpected, and unusable. If you have a spot directly in front of you where you expect your clock radio to sit, then you're in luck.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 24.95

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