Pros: Graduwake Ramp-Up Alarm.
Cons: Alarm and radio are cumbersome to use.
What happened to alarm clocks that were easy to use? Im sure they are still out there but dont count the GE 7-4837 among one of them. It may not require an electronics guru to operate but was frustrating enough to my mother-in-law that she gave it to me for free.
The biggest obstacle with the GE 7-4837 is 1) trying to figure out how to turn the alarm off once set and 2) how to cancel the alarm for the weekend.
Before I go into any more detail on the trial and error I went through to finally figure out the alarm portion of the clock radio, here are a few details.
► Green display that is both bright and large making it easy to read. Do note that there is no dimmer switch.
► AM/FM radio although the station tuner is located on the left side of the unit which may make it easy to tune but makes it hard to see the station being tuned to unless you turn the unit or pick it up. The location leads me to believe that possibly this would make a good alarm clock but not a good clock radio.
► The alarm can be configured to ring out either a beep, beep, beep sound or the radio.
► Perhaps the best feature is the Graduwake Ramp-Up Alarm function where the alarm slowly grows in volume when it goes off. For example when it first goes off in the morning it rings very softly for about 5 seconds and then gets louder, and louder, and louder if need be. This is far better than traditional alarms that just go BEEP!, BEEP!, BEEP! from the get go.
► Like most alarms it has a snooze feature. The amount of snooze can be configured by holding down the snooze button and pressing the right or left arrows.
► Unlike most alarms it also has a nap feature that defaults to 20 minutes yet can be configured by pressing the nap button and then pressing the right or left arrows. The nap function will sound the alarm after the pre-determined nap time has been reached.
► Battery backup is also available using a single 9-volt battery. If the power goes out the battery will still allow the alarm to sound although the clock display will be blank.
I havent used the radio portion of the clock radio that much. From what I have heard the FM radio sounds clear, alas not in stereo. This particular model uses a built in antenna so reception is limited. As I mentioned above I wouldnt buy this for the radio feature primarily because all the knobs and displays for the radio are located on the side of the unit.
I have a love/hate relationship with my GE. Without hesitation I love the Graduwake Ramp-Up Alarm feature. At some point my wife wants to trade in her alarm clock for one with that feature. But, the alarm is cumbersome to use and at least initially problematic to shut off.
Setting the alarm wasnt that hard. At the top of the unit was a lever that defaults to Lock. A single click to the right and its in Set Clock mode. Two clicks and its in Set Alarm mode. When in either mode the right or left arrows come into use to set the time for the clock or the time for the alarm. A small green dot on the left side of the green LED display details if the time is either AM or PM. After the time is set, the lever is moved back to Lock.
No problem so far.
The first time I used the alarm clock I realized perhaps why my mother-in-law became frustrated. There are two buttons next to each other - one is round, the other is like a crescent moon that hugs the other. One stops the alarm, the other switches the alarm between buzzer and radio mode. Additionally above these two buttons is a small round button labeled Cancel. Common sense would think that Cancel is what you press to turn off the alarm. Nope. The next button down, the one that switches the alarm between buzzer and radio doesnt do it either. So early in the morning you hear Beep! Good morning Las Vegas! Beep! Clear and sunny outside! BEEP! as I try to figure out how to shut the darn thing off. Finally, the On/Off button that is used to turn the radio on and off is the button that shuts off the alarm. This tricked me for Ive used alarm clocks before that if you press the On/Off button it cancels the alarm completely, stopping it from going off the next time.
Remember that Cancel button, it is used to cancel the alarm before it goes off. But, again, not that straightforward. Pressing the Cancel button only makes the green dot on the LED display that lets you know that the alarm is set to begin to blink, and blink, and blink. 10 seconds later it stops blinking. But the alarm light is still on. To turn it off you have to press the Cancel button and then while it is blinking you have to press the alarm function button that switches the alarm between buzzer and radio. Isnt this crazy?!? Youd think to cancel the alarm you would press the Cancel button and then the On/Off button! The same button you use to turn off the alarm after it is ringing. Nope!
Once I got it all figured out I no longer have a problem with the alarm although there is occasionally a problem where I hit the buzzer/radio function instead of the On/Off button when the alarm is sounding.
I like my GE alarm clock and recommend it because it was free and because of the gradual wake up alarm feature. But, I do not recommend it for any price other than free because of the lame alarm user interface and the odd placement of all the radio functions. You could probably find a better alarm that also has the gradual wake up feature somewhere out there.