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Review: Ambient Flurry Clock

Ambient Flurry Tells You Weather Along With Time

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Review: Ambient Flurry Clock

The Ambient Flurry weather-enabled alarm clock.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

With a built-in forecasting feature, the Ambient Flurry clock makes telling the weather as easy as telling the time. Here's a rundown of what to expect with the device.

PROS

Easy set up and use: Setting up the Ambient Flurry is as easy as plugging it in. Just pick your time zone and your area, and the clock automatically sets its own time. Although the company says the device may take up to four hours to set up its weather feature, the unit I tested just took a few minutes. Picking a city is also as easy as scrolling the device's upper dial.

Free wireless connection: Weather information for the Ambient Flurry is updated several times an hour for free via the InfoCast wireless network. That means owners don't have to pay a monthly subscription rate for the wireless service unlike some other devices. The network reaches about 90 percent of all U.S. households in 50 states, according to the company.

Good display: The Flurry features a large electronic display that's easy to read. In addition to time, it also features weather info for the current and next day, which is displayed both through a written display (e.g. Snow up to 1") and symbols. It also provides a warning for high-pollen days.

Two alarms: The device allows owners to set alarms for two different times simultaneously. Setting the alarms is simple and done by pressing either the "+" or "-" buttons via two buttons on the top of the device.

Backup battery: The Ambient Flurry has a backup battery feature that uses one AA battery. This allows you to unplug and move the clock without having to repeat the whole setup process all over again.

CONS

The Ambient Flurry displays both the time and weather.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Only for major cities: While weather for 150 cities may sound like a lot, that averages to just a few cities per state. So if you live in Lake Tahoe or a smaller city like Truckee, Calif., for example, the nearest forecast you can get is either from Reno or Sacramento, which can be an issue, especially during winter time. Now, it's understandable that you wouldn't want to put too many cities in the device since scrolling through a large list can be a pain (more on this below). But it would at least be nice to have the option to program in a few extra cities of your choosing to get the forecast you want.

Controls a bit cumbersome: While simplicity is one of the nice things about the Ambient Flurry, it can also make it a bit cumbersome. To pick a city, you basically have to scroll through the whole list with the scroll button. Setting the alarm also works the same way except you press the alarm buttons. Since you don't have the option to adjust the hours and minutes individually, you have to scroll through the whole time, though it gets pretty quick when you hold the button.

No radio: While having weather information is nice, it would have been nice if the device had a radio as well. This would have expanded the device's usability, making it a better buy.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Ambient Flurry is a device with a pretty neat concept. But the fact that its coverage is pretty much limited to major cities is a big con if you live somewhere that isn't covered. The free wireless feature helps justify the $79.99 price tag, though it would have been nice if it offered a radio, too. It would also be nice if the forecast extended to more than just a couple of days.

If you live in or close to one of the 150 cities featured in the device, then the Flurry is certainly worth considering. But if you don't, then it sort of defeats the purpose for the device. As such, I picked a score that averages both points of view.

The Ambient Flurry is conveniently sized.

Photo by Jason Hidalgo
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