The advantage of a harmonic oscillator over other forms of oscillator is that it employs resonance to vibrate at a precise natural resonant frequency or 'beat' dependent only on its physical characteristics, and resists vibrating at other rates. The possible precision achievable by a harmonic oscillator is measured by a parameter called its Q, or quality factor, which increases (other things being equal) with its resonant frequency. This is why there has been a long term trend toward higher frequency oscillators in clocks. Balance wheels and pendulums always include a means of adjusting the rate of the timepiece. Quartz timepieces sometimes include a rate screw that adjusts a capacitor for that purpose. Atomic clocks are primary standards, and their rate cannot be adjusted.
Who doesn't love an alarm clock that verbally lets you know it's time to get up and start your day? Step aside, Siri, because "Reminder Rosie" is where it's at. You can easily record up to 25 different alarm-reminders at 6 seconds each. So why not wake up to a recording of your kids saying, "Good morning, Mom!"? (Or maybe you don't want that.) We love how you can turn off the alarm by quickly pressing a button or just saying out loud, "Reminder Off."
In atomic clocks the controller is an evacuated microwave cavity attached to a microwave oscillator controlled by a microprocessor. A thin gas of caesium atoms is released into the cavity where they are exposed to microwaves. A laser measures how many atoms have absorbed the microwaves, and an electronic feedback control system called a phase-locked loop tunes the microwave oscillator until it is at the frequency that causes the atoms to vibrate and absorb the microwaves. Then the microwave signal is divided by digital counters to become the clock signal.
If you have a serious problem sleeping through your alarm, this retro little clock is for you. Because it doesn’t have a snooze button, you’ll be forced to either shut the alarm off completely and risk oversleeping, or you’ll learn to rise with the alarm. Also good: it’s doesn’t have an annoying ticking sound like other vintage clocks, so you won’t be kept awake at night.
Waking up might be a little bit more pleasant when you can choose between a buzzer, the radio, or your favorite songs streaming from your smartphone or MP3 player to nudge you out of dreamland. Add to that the fun of seeing the time of day (or night) projected in large, red numerals onto your ceiling — you don't even have to turn your head to figure out how much more sleep you'll get if you can just fall back into slumber right now — and the large LCD display on the clock's face, and you have just some of the features that make the Electrohome Projection Alarm Clock our top pick.
“Great alarm clock for the price. Gigantic numbers for my old eyes. Very basic, easy to set, just what I wanted. Alarm is loud even on low [with] an awful sound that would wake the dead. But that sound makes me get right up, so it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. If you want a soft gentle caress to wake you, get something else, but this is a good alarm and easy to use.”