Internet Alarm Clocks Redefined: Sony Dash, Chumby 8, more

By Louis Ramirez, dealnews senior feature writer

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

Chumby 8 Internet Alarm Clock
Sony Dash 7" Personal Internet Viewer (2011)
Insignia Infocast 8" Chumby
price to be determined
dealnews low
8" 800x600 (touch)
7" 800x480 (touch)
8" 800x600 (touch)
Built-in battery
Other features
3-in-1 card reader, two USB ports, built-in speakers
specs yet to be confirmed
7-in-1 card reader, two USB ports, built-in speakers
*Manufacturer price.

Chumby 8
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.

Sony Dash
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.

An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter — @LouisRamirez. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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I ordered two Infocast 8's back in December as x-mas gifts and they have been great save for one thing; When using the Picasa app, if you happen to do a hard reset on the unit (or just unplug the power adapter for a few minutes) you have to re-establish the link to the online album on the Insignia Chumby website. That aside, I love being able to instantly have new photos appear on my folks' picture frames.

In fact, I loved it so much, I tried to buy two more when it reach $65, but Best Buy put me on backorder and eventually cancelled my order altogether after over a month of waiting. Even now, You can't order the Infocast 8 off the Best Buy website and there are no new units in stock anywhere near here....any idea what gives?
I own the infocast 8 and for the most part it's pretty good. You can stream photos from a computer via php (what I mainly use it for.) However it also comes with youtube support witch I sometimes use at night, and a web browser (the web browser feature however requires you to compile some source code and unfortunately use a physical keyboard for text entry:( However this clock is very cool. I paid $50 for mine. Dealnews mentioned it was $65 at best buy once. I took advantage of that offer, however I got a open box one that was marked down by 15. I asked the cashier at the front if i could have it for that and they said yes. Soooo, anyway this is a great clock that is definitely worth the money I paid.