Internet alarm clocks are having a rough year as big-screen smartphones and app store-driven tablets have stolen their spotlight. However, despite their push into obsolescence, these night-table-friendly alarm clocks are refusing to budge. And with prices now heavily discounted, there's never been a better time to buy. Below is a rundown of your current buying options. (Click here for a list of previous models.)
Internet Alarm Clocks Revised
The Chumby 8 is the Internet alarm clock redefined. Whereas previous models were short and stubby, the new version 8 is pleasing to the eye, offering a thinner, more modern design. The new 8" 800x600 display is the biggest of any Chumby, and like its predecessor, it supports more than 1,500 apps, all of which are free to download. New to the Chumby 8 is an integrated Web browser that can be used in conjunction with link-heavy apps like Twitter and Facebook. The browser cannot be accessed as a standalone feature, unfortunately, which keeps this Web alarm clock from competing with full-grown tablets.
This Tuesday, the year-old Sony Dash hit an all-time low of $80. That's $119 off its original list price in May 2010. The steady price drops are great news, since this popular Internet alarm clock has been well-received and updated by Sony throughout the year. This summer, Sony expects to release a new Dash (price to be determined) with a customizable bezel and built-in battery. However, with the current model going for more than 50% off, we'd be hard-pressed to wait that long for what could be minor updates.
Insignia Infocast 8" Chumby
Although it looks like a close relative of the Sony Dash, this Internet alarm clock has more Chumby DNA than it does Sony. The Infocast 8" Chumby made its dealnews debut in December for $80. Since then, it has dropped to an all-time low of $65 (as listed in February). The device runs the Chumby OS so it can access the brand's 1,500+ apps. PC Mag notes that the Infocast 8" Chumby outperforms the Sony Dash, although the latter can stream Netflix. It's available in a 3.5" size (320x240) or a larger 8" size (800x600).
In a world filled with tablets and dual-core smartphones, it's hard to justify the purchase of an Internet alarm clock — especially one that costs over $100. However, at $65, the Insignia Infocast 8" Chumby is more affordable than any tablet currently available. And although it doesn't stream Netflix, it offers more value and features for your dollar than any of its competitors, making it our choice for best Internet alarm clock.