Review of the Month; Klockis

You’re reviewing an alarm clock? I never had any set theme for these reviews, and nobody really cares for my game reviews. Thou it needs to be mentioned that next month’s review will most likely be Top 5 games of 2016. After all, this is a design blog of sorts at its heart, so taking a detour for something else on an occasion should do us some good.

Generally speaking, I don’t personally like IKEA products. Something about their construction and overall design puts me off, but here and there I can find a piece that overall pleases my needs in its simplicity. You’ve previously seen my wall of games that are held by simple IKEA shelves, but these are shelves that are not unique to them by large. They’re general shape and use shelves that any company could be putting out with different details. However, next to these I’ve found myself finding small fascination in their Klockis multi-clock product, that I’ve basically put into everyday use.

Klockis sadly comes from the Apple school of design, where a white box seems to be the top of the line product design. However, unlike with Apple, IKEA is selling Klockis at 4.99 dollaroos or your regional equivalent, which is perfectly fine price for this kind of product. Basically, it’s a combination of your everyday table clock, alarm clock, thermometer and timer.

The four sides correspond to one of the functions, each side has its own colour to differentiate them from each other. I would have preferred to have something else for the Alarm side, like orange or yellow instead of yet another blue, but beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway, the point that makes this multi-clock interesting in terms of use is how you select each function; by flipping it on its side. The clock recognizes the side that is upwards with some cheap chip tech inside and about half a second later you flip the clock, it’ll sound a beep and light up. The alarms are turned off by turning the clock to another side, which my muscles have learned to do a bit too well.

The surface is mainly very lightly textured, just enough for it to have a grip on most surfaces and some grip for you to grab unto. The main faceplate is soft transparent plastic, which will get scratched through time but is also surprising resilient. Alarm clocks at this size should have a faceplate that can stand some serious beating, seeing some people tend to fling their wake-up machines across the room or just back them hard. It doesn’t exactly give the best feeling in your hands, but it’s far from feeling like a cheap piece due to its build.

The lights themselves are rather bright and clear, unlike in the photos due to the angles. In the dark they are very visible, but not enough to blind you in the middle of the night. However, the clock runs on two AAA batteries, which is a shame. While nothing new, aiming to run on one AA or two AA batteries would be preferable. Setting the clock up is through a Set and arrow buttons, making the manual just a waste of paper. Shouldn’t take a wizard to figure out how this thing is set up, which is pretty great.

Simplicity is what governs this product and why it has become my main alarm and table clock. It has taken numerous falls already and at least one wall flinging in my personal use, so the built quality is good enough. However, the bit that recognizes the side it stands on will gradually break down and stop recognizing what its current side is, making this another product that has built-in obsolescence. The gimmick that Klockis has going for it is also its failure on the long time, I’d wager.

It’s a good enough clock for everyday use and is travel friendly in its palm size dimensions, but against more specialised items it tends to lose. It lacks some elements like Snooze function, and if you’re one to use radio alarm clocks, it lacks that too. As a timer, it takes comparatively more time to set up the right time than with dedicated pieces, and I’ve ultimately turned back using my wrist watches timer. The thermometer takes temperature only inside, and I find it rather useless, overall speaking. It also doesn’t stand in a good enough angle to view from higher viewpoint, and even when the viewing angle is rather large, you may lose some information in more extreme angles.

Why are you reviewing a clock like this? First praising it and then telling that there are better alternatives? The reason for this is because in its core design this multi-clock is solid. The designer had a peculiar idea, or saw one to steal, and went with it. Simple things like the curves on the edges serve the flipping idea and the surface serves this very well. It’s one of those gadgets that seem like a nice idea at first, but doesn’t ever really lose that on the long run.

So, should you purchase this? If you lack a dedicated piece for all the four functions and would use them separate from your phone or something else, or need more alarm clocks to wake up like yours truly, then dropping that fiver might not be the worst of ideas. Klockis is an adequate piece that does its idea well. It’s biggest failing really is the re-use of blue.