Lumie Bodyclock Elite 300
Lumie is a well-established British company that has been creating sunrise alarm clocks and lightboxes for nearly 20 years. They have an excellent reputation for customer service in the UK and Europe. Until recently, however, it was nearly impossible to find their products in the US.
A few companies are starting to import the Lumie light clocks to the US. However, we're only seeing the top of the line model (the Bodyclock Elite 300) currently available for sale. The Elite 300 is the most feature-rich clock that Lumie offers, but also the most expensive! Like any product, it has some long-time fans, and some complaints... although the complaints tend to be about how things were implemented, rather than missing features.
My main concern with this clock is how it will be supported, given the manufacturer is overseas. Lumie maintains a helpline in Britain, where users can call to get help if the clock seems to be malfunctioning. But calling overseas from the US is expensive, and may not be practical.
Customers can also reach Lumie help by emailing info[AT]lumie.com (replace the "[AT]" with "@").
Note: Some websites incorrectly refer to this clock as the "Biobrite Bodyclock Elite 300". The clock is actually manufactured by Lumie (and has the Lumie logo on the front). Biobrite imports and sells the clock in the US.
Lumie makes an entire line of daylight alarm clocks, with the 300 being the most expensive. Unfortunately, only the 300 is currently available in the US with the Lumie name. (The Biobrite daylight alarm clocks are very similar to some of the simpler Lumie clocks, are less expensive than the Lumie 300, and may be worth a look.)
Currently Available: Lumie Bodyclock Elite 300
- Meditations/Guided Imagery: This is one of the best features I've seen in any sunrise clock. Lumie includes two "meditations" to help you fall asleep. They are more like "guided imagery", where you spend the first few minutes relaxing your muscles, and then walk through a scene that is meant to calm you, until you eventually drift off to sleep. I have used similar programs in the past, and loved them, they made falling asleep very easy.
- Sounds and Voices: The Lumie Elite includes the sounds of: waves, rain, white noise, birds, city noise, music (2 tracks), beeping (alarm sound for waking up), and voices (gentle and aggressive, both with a British accent) telling you to wake up. You can also listen to AM/FM radio as you fall asleep, or wake up. So you can fall asleep to the sound of rain, and wake up to a voice telling you to get out of bed, or your favorite radio program.
- Add Your Own Sounds: You can add your own music or other sounds (as mp3 files) via SD card or external audio source. Aside from music, you can download audio books, copy them to an SD card, and fall asleep listening to them.
- Falling Asleep: Sounds can be left on all night (they will stop just before the wake-up sounds begin), or can be programmed to fade to quiet.
- Alarm - Set Each Day, or One General Time: You can program different alarm times for every day of the week, or one alarm time to use every day.
- Select Dusk/Dawn Duration: You choose how long the clock takes to reach full brightness or full darkness. Lumie allows you to select 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes.
- Snooze: Reset the alarm in 9 minute increments to get more sleep. You can turn the light off during the snooze, or leave it on and use the audible alarm alone to wake up with.
- Power Failure Backup: The clock will remember its settings for a brief period of time if the electricity goes out.
- Backup Audible Alarm: Optional audio alarm (beeping), in case you sleep through the light.
- Security Lighting & Nightlight: The Lumie can function as a soft nightlight at night, or as a security light when you are away from home. For security, the light will turn on randomly between 4pm and 11pm.
- Dim/Dark Clockface: When the alarm is set, the clockface can be dimmed, or turned completely off. This keeps your room darker, so you can sleep better.
- Plays MP3s from SD Cards or External Audio Sources: You can use your own music or other sounds to wake up or fall asleep. The Lumie will play a song from an SD card, or from an external audio source (like an MP3 player).
The Elite 300 was created in 2008, and there aren't very many impartial reviews for it. There are several issues that upset users, the biggest being that for the price (it's about $100 more expensive than the other clocks we've reviewed), people expect a better product. In Europe, customers can choose a less expensive model with less features (which eliminates some of the issues). In the US, we currently only have the Elite 300... so if you're looking for a simpler (less expensive) clock, you'll need to look at other brands.
Here are the common complaints I've seen:
- Issues Using an SD Card: The Lumie Elite plays mp3 files from an SD card. However, it will only play one song from the SD card. (Some customers have gotten around this by joining multiple mp3 files together into a single file, and placing that on the SD card.) Also, any non-mp3 files (including folders/directories) on the SD card will prevent the card from working.
- Speaker Quality: There are some complaints about the speaker quality, especially for the white noise or rain sounds. One person recommended purchasing external speakers (like those used with a computer) to get around this issue.
- Lights Burning Out: In general, the included bulb seems to last several years. Sometimes when it burns out however, it creates a problem with the clock where new bulbs will burn out very quickly, usually within a few weeks. European users who have experienced this are able to return their clocks to Lumie for repairs. It is unclear how US users will get help with this... mailing the clock to Europe will be expensive, but I don't know if US distributers will be able to repair them.
- Replacement Light Bulbs: The included bulb is listed as a "42W Halogen E14 (SES) bulb". This bulb is easy to find bulb in the UK. I have looked online, and it's unclear whether it can be easily purchased in the US, or if there is an equivalent that would work.
One thing to be aware of, these aren't the same types of issues we've seen with some of the other daylight alarm clocks. The Lumie doesn't have any real "deal breaker" issues, such as lacking the ability to change the lightbulb or lacking basic, critical functionality. Overall, it actually provides just about everything you could want in a daylight alarm clock. The complexity comes from trying to provide all of those features...
The bigger issue becomes, if there's a problem, how does a US resident get support? Lumie is actually known for their fantastic customer service, including a help-line for product issues. Unfortunately, they're in England - making it harder to call for help and to return the clock for repairs.
"I've had the Lumie 300 for a couple of weeks now and I think it is a great product. The build quality is excellent compared with my old Philips."
- user on Lumie forums, 2008
"I didnít feel the need to press the snooze button at all - I felt refreshed and ready to get up. There was none of the 'fog' that normally envelopes me... With continued use I feel it will really help me to feel less tired (a problem that has plagued me for years) and to make the most of my mornings!"
- blogger, received Lumie as a gift, 2009
"I have a Lumie sunrise alarm clock... it has worked perfectly for me for nearly 2 years now... A much gentler way to wake up and I always feel fully alert and not morning groggy with it."
- user on BBC forums, 2010
"I absolutely love my new Lumie clock! I've had one of the 'cheaper ones' for years now and just treated myself to the newer version... I love the different sounds and the meditations..."
- user on Lumie forums, 2008
The only instruction book that I was able to find online for the Lumie Elite is British version from approximately 2008. There was talk on the Lumie support forums about updating the manual, but it is unclear if that took place. A newer manual may be included with the light clock.