As someone who has tested and reviewed a multitude of alarm clocks, I’ve got strong opinions of which features to look for when choosing a bedside companion tasked to wake you up each morning. Ideally an alarm clock awakens our conscious part of our minds gently, mirroring the circadian rhythm attuned to sunrise rather than relying upon the scare factor of an annoying blare. Starting each day with a hormonal adrenaline surge is not only stressful, but unhealthy. Which brings us to the concept behind Loftie, one of a new generation of bedside clocks designed to shed the “alarm” in alarm clocks, and help wean sleepers from their phones.
Loftie’s minimalist and featureless front is the first sign this alarm clock is designed with calm as the centerpiece of its features. The clock’s numerical digital display is intentionally modest (though my nearsighted eyes would benefit from the option to increase the display size).
A warm and adjustable night light situated at the bottom of the Loftie can also be set to turn on/off in parallel with your sleep and wake cycles. While an app can be assigned to control the clocks settings, no phone is required to access options with the clock’s physical layout of three buttons. Whether by clock or app, users are offered an assortment relaxing aural cues to choose from. These include white noise, meditations, sound baths, stories and breathwork.
Loftie’s selection of soundscapes is indeed calming (and surprisingly a welcome accompaniment to listen to while working throughout the day), a mix of natural world soundscapes. For the majority of human history, people both fell asleep to and woke up alongside sounds of the natural world rather than the violent cacophony of traditional alarms and the human landscape, and every tone acknowledges this fact with satisfying serenity.
Similarly, the clock’s assortment of wake up tones are gentle, a mix of nature sounds and ambient compositions. Noting most of us awaken in stages (aka “I’m up, but I’ll get out of bed in ___ minutes.”), the Loftie has a secondary selection of “Get-up tones”, which cue users it is indeed time to finally get out from the covers.
Loftie says they will continue to add expand functionality over time via app updates, including unlocking Bluetooth speaker connectivity, adding additional alarm tones and customizable scheduling settings for alarms – all reasonable expectations when purchasing a $165 clock ($140.25 with the current discount code). But even so, out of the box today the Loftie makes for a convincing argument that technology doesn’t have to be an intrusive presence in the bedroom when consciously designed.