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November 10, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Crowne Plaza Sony clock radio instructions

Sonycplazaclock Chris Keating writes in:

Here are the instructions to the clock radio that was in my hotel room at a Crowne Plaza hotel:

1. Press ALARM MODE until the buzzer light is lit.

2. Press and hold BUZZER for 2-3 seconds. After one beep, "ALARM" and the hour will start to flash in the display window.

3. Press TUNE/TIME SET (<< = minus, >> = plus) until the desired hour appears.

4. Press BUZZER. The minute will flash.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to set the minute. Two short beeps will confirm the setting.

I've been making trips to this hotel for months, and this instruction card has always bothered me.  First, it's difficult to follow.


Second, It doesn't give you instructions on how to set the alarm to use a CD or the radio to wake you up.

Third, the device doesn't give you much indication that the alarm is really set.

Finally, it's been my experience that the card isn't always in the room. 

Having complained, I want to point out that this breakage is more Sony's fault than the Crowne Plaza's -- the interface on this thing is abysmal.


My wife has this alarm clock. I have no idea how to use it. When she gets up without turning it off... I'm LOST.

Posted by: Andrew Tonkin at November 10, 2006 01:15 AM

Ok, so you're responsible for selecting and buying the clock radios for a hotel. That means you're spending thousands of dollars for hundreds of units--even moreso for a large hotel or a chain.

So why the heck would you EVER buy something like THIS? You would have to be completely frickin' INSANE.

The mind boggles.

Posted by: Erich at November 10, 2006 02:23 AM

I stayed at a Crowne Plaza in Canada last month that had one of these radios, and I was thinking the exact same thing. I couldn't believe that this was to be used in a location where setting the alarm is an everyday necessity.

Posted by: M. Jackson Wilkinson at November 10, 2006 10:58 AM

I have one of the newer Sony Dream Machine CD alarm clocks (ICFCD837), and they are much, much better.

Posted by: fetjuel at November 10, 2006 02:00 PM

I don't know just how upscale this hotel chain is, but my guess is that they wanted to get a clock/radio that "looked" like it might be upscale (Sony brand name, with a CD included), but then went for the cheapest one of those they could find without thinking about how difficult it may be for people to actually use.

Kudos to the hotel for at least trying to give instructions though.

Posted by: Memnon at November 10, 2006 03:16 PM

If there's any device that could stand some standardization, it's alarm clocks. They operate in so many different ways, and it doesn't help that when you interact with them, you're tired and not on top of things.

I don't have the energy or desire to figure out an alarm clock that I'm going to use for a night or two, which is one of many reasons I haven't used a hotel alarm clock in years. I always use the alarm on my mobile phone. That, I know how to set and know it'll go off when I want it to.

Posted by: Steve J at November 10, 2006 06:19 PM

Not to be bias, but Sony is bad at designing user interface. Press the alarm button for 2-3 seconds? Why?

Posted by: st33med at November 10, 2006 06:41 PM

I wish Appple designed more products. (though an expensive Alarm clock? mmmmmm... leme think...)

Posted by: st33med at November 10, 2006 06:43 PM

Actually some hotels do care about having easy to use alarm clocks. Hilton actually commissioned their own custom design. Google for "Hilton alarm clock" to find out more.

Posted by: Sashazur at November 12, 2006 08:35 PM

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