Oregon Scientific STARK Music Medium Clock

Available in four formats, two sizes and the three colours there is certainly plenty of choice in the Philippe Stark designed range of clock-radio weather stations created in collaboration with American technology brand Oregon Scientific.

The Medium Music Clock lacks the projecting feature of the ‘Multi’ version and at only 13.3cm high is smaller than the 18.5cm ‘Large’ version in the range, but still has more than enough features to make the £100 price tag worth paying.

Time and date set-up are controlled by radio-signal updates from atomic clocks based in Frankfurt and Rugby so important settings will adjust themselves once the clock is powered up, although this auto-update function can be deactivated.

Up to three remote weather sensors can be added (with one supplied in the box), each one transmitting data up to 30M back to the main base station, displaying inside and outside temperatures, in either Centigrade or Fahrenheit, on the main unit's screen. This main display also covers a host of other data including barometric pressure, moon-phases, maximum and minimum temperatures and humidity and graphic representation of the general forecast (clouds and sun symbols), general outlook trends (arrows bending up or down depending on rising or falling barometrics) and comfort level (denoted by a smiley or frowny face).

The clock contains an AM/FM radio, with a soft wire antenna, whose functions are activated by depressing the buttons on the reverse of the clocks body. Each of the function buttons has been texture annotated so you don’t need to turn the clock round to see what your doing, but these take some getting used to. Frequencies range from 87.5-108.0Mhz FM and 531-1602kHz AM and there are up to eight available channels to store radio stations per band. The clocks alarms can be set to either be the radio or a melody tone, which increases in volume if ignored.

What we don’t like is the adapter cable, the alarm-off function and the external sensor. Before you learn the textured controls to master the core functions you will need to turn the clock around, and when you do, the adapter cable falls out. The power adapter socket, on the right hand side, is just too large for the pin on the cable. Even if you plan you use the adapter, which allows you to have the display illuminated all the time, also insert the batteries, this way you avoid of having to re-program all your radio stations every time you move the clock.

Setting the alarm is not complicated but I wish that Oregon had added another button on the top surface to turn the alarm off, as well as make it ‘Snooze’. To deactivate it totally you need to depress the bottom left hand button and this can disturb the adapter cable leading to a lot more than just turning the alarm off.

Verdict

As is often the case with the Oregon external sensors there is no really clear instruction as to whether the unit is designed to be placed outside or not. The literature mentions measuring outside temperature and humidity and the unit itself has a rubber seal and screw sealed battery compartment, but the same literature states that unit to be “placed out of direct sunlight and moisture”, so I'm never quite sure.

Overall, an alarm clock with a whole lot more besides. The price tag is a little stiff but there are plenty of buying options in the range and you can tailor colour of display, number of functions and size to personal needs. The weather functions are wonderfully comprehensive and will tell you enough to prepare for the day ahead or to stay in bed, if the outlook is particularly grim, and listen to the radio instead.