AEEM Guide Buying a Digital Clock
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Clocks have helped people find out the time for hundreds of years. More recently, numeric displays have replaced the familiar clock face as the time piece of choice. For a few dollars more, you can now buy an atomic clock that receives a signal broadcast out of Colorado and automatically sets itself to the correct time. Not only do these clocks offer extraordinary accuracy (typically accurate to less than one-thousandth of a second), but they eliminate the need to reset them twice a year with the change to and from Daylight Savings Time.

When buying a digital clock, what should you look for?
  • Visible display - Generally, digital clocks use one of two technologies for the display:
    • LCD displays have black numbers and depend on contrast with the lighting shining on their face. At night, they are back lit by a small bulb.
    • LED clocks have glowing letters, usually reddish orange or bluish green, that should be bright enough in broad daylight but not too bright at night. Often these clocks have a day/night illumination level switch.
    Wall clocks should have numbers large enough to see from across the room. Desk clocks for your bedroom nightstand and travel clocks should be visible at night.
  • Power supply - Most small and wall mounted digital clocks require batteries, but some use ordinary alkaline or rechargeable while others use lithium. Battery type is important if you expect to illuminate the display a lot or use it primarily for infrequent travel. Lithium batteries tend to have the longest life. Desk clocks generally plug into the wall.
  • Alarm - Desk clocks used as alarm clocks should have a choice between music and buzzers. Travel clocks need to be loud enough to rouse you out of a hotel bed even after a long meeting the day before. Some models have two alarms (one for music and one for buzzer), which is a feature especially attractive to those that like to be gently awakened but need the buzzer to make sure they get up. Try to listen to the alarm before you buy it to make sure that it drives you out of bed but not crazy.
Fancy clocks have features such as calendars, temperature, ceiling projection, voice for speaking the time, and phases of the moon.

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