For those who have been reading our gadget reviews for sometime, you will know that we’ve reviewed similar products to the Sony ICF-C8WM clock radio before, most notable is the Philips Wake-up Light. However the ICF-C8WM clock radio is quite different in terms of function and purpose. Its not a wake-up lamp as such but should be considered as more of a radio clock with additional bonus features such as support for your portable music players and Sony Ericsson Walkman phones.
We have had a quick look at it and some of its major features while it was here briefly and here’s what we thought of it…
Our first impressions of the Sony ICF-C8WM was that it had alot of buttons, on the front, the top, the side and more on the back! It was however much more lighter in weight and much less bulkier than it actually looks. The quality of material used was satisfactory though we’re sure Sony could have done much better to make it less plasticky, but we’re not complaining too much.
We liked the way the speakers were laid out from the top, extending towards the sides. The speaker of course as you’ll be aware plays the radio but also the music from a connected Walkman phone or a portable music player which you can connect via the AUX-in at the back.
Here are the series of buttons you would find when you have a look at the back. While some we could accept being placed at the back, out of all the buttons, it was most annoying to have to reach to the back in order to tune the radio stations you want. On a more positive note though, you would find yourself using the IR remote control most of the time as its not difficult to use and easy to get used to. Disappointingly, you do need to hold the remote straight at the radio clock’s sensor in order to get the response you want, and when you are in front of it, you can stand as far back as seven to eight meters.
Setting up the Sony ICF-C8WM was really simple, you only needed to plug in its power supply and all the time and date settings would automatically configure itself for you in seconds. Setting up the alarm was also very simple, you could set alarms for a particular day of the week, there are two alarm slots available just in case you needed an extra alarm for other purposes.
Sony uses the punch line “wake up your way” for the ICF-C8WM and thats because its possible to configure the alarm so that you hear your favourite tune from your Walkman music phone or the radio when it sounds. With the AM / FM radio function, you get a go and swift frequency scanner and up to 20 memory slots for storing your favourite stations. This should be more than enough for most people.
This also brings on the advantage of using the ICF-C8WM as your Sony Ericsson Walkman phone’s charger, as you play your music from your phone, it also gets charged up by the clock radio. Unfortunately, this is only designed for Sony Ericsson phones. Though you will be able to play music from your iPod using the AUX-in socket provided, there are no USB ports on the ICF-C8WM for charging it.
Speaking of the Walkman function, it was rather strange for us to find that there wasn’t a Walkman music mode button on the remote control itself, there was only one, and its on the machine itself. The Sony designers were probably assuming that users would always be next to the clock radio if they wanted to start playing a song from the phone. Once you do start the Walkman mode by directly pressing onto the button in front, you can control songs and volume, etc, from the remote. That was probably the only feature which we found slight odd to use.
Lastly, one of the final points to know about the Sony ICF-C8WM is that it features an internal backup battery, Sony calls this function “No Power, No Problem”. This is not to say that if you unplug its mains power that it will keep going. It simply means if by any chance you experience power cut before your alarm then its backup battery will kick in to make sure your scheduled alarm will wake you up as planned.
For £69.99 the Sony ICF-C8WM is to be frank on the high end budget of clock radios. We’re certain many will be able to find alarm clocks with similar function at a lower budget. However Sony has added in tiny extra functions such as backup battery and AUX jack which does make the ICF-C8WM stand out. Its design isn’t bad, and we wouldn’t say it was bad looking at all. It is practical for its designed purpose although there are areas for improvement as highlighted in our review. If you move around alot though, the ICF-C8WM does help in that you won’t need to bring your Sony Ericsson phone chargers along with you. If you’re not a Sony Ericsson phone user but you want to have a clock radio just like this one for your iPod Touch or iPhone, we recommend you check out the equivalent model known as the Sony ICF-C7iP, which is on sale at the same price. Or if you’re looking to splash some cash, also check out the ICF-CL75iP!
- Good design overall, lighter than it looks
- Good range of practical functions comparing to similar clock radios by other brands
- Above average sound quality for a clock radio
- Plays music from other devices using AUX jack at the back
- You can relax and trust that it will always wake you up on time even if there’s a power cut!
- Its buttons are the only problem with its design, there are too many
- Does not provide ports for charging other gadgets, therefore will only charge your Sony Ericsson phone
We recommend you also check out the Sony ICF-C8WM unboxing gallery if you haven’t done so already…