The very first thing that you notice when you look at this clock is its build quality. There are not many wood clocks on the market and this one probably has the best build quality of them all. The enclosure reviewed is made of maple but walnut is also an option. The sides are made from fours distinct pieces (as opposed to a hollowed out block), the top is another distinct piece and the bottom is capped with a metal plate. The top of the enclosure is a surprisingly hefty acrylic enclosure that sits in the beveled edge around the top of the clock.
On the front and sides of the clock are a few vent holes. These actually serve a purpose beyond decoration. The front vents conceal an IR receiver and the left side conceals an ambient light sensor. The back has two major cutouts. The first if for the USB power and the second is to allow access to the buttons mounted on the PCB. These are used to set the time and display effects.
The second thing that you notice about this clock is its size. It is one of the most petite 6 tube clocks that I have reviewed. Watch the video review for a comparison – this device is smaller than the Little Blue Something and is quite a but less voluminous than even a can of soda.
Powering the device is easy – it works from a standard USB connector. I’m a little amazed that the 500 mA that a port provides is sufficient to power 6 tubes, 4 neon indicators and all of the supporting circuitry but it works great.
The tubes are Burroughs B5870ST. These have a fine mesh and produce very crisp numbers. There are also four miniature neon bulbs that act as colon indicators for the tubes. Interestingly, these are mounted on small PCBs that were clearly designed for this purpose. I particularly like this attention to detail because it makes the entire device look more polished.
There are a few built in display effects to both prolong the tube life and to add eye candy. You can program the digits to fade between values. There are a few speeds available and they produce a nice smooth fade between numbers. There is also a shuffle effect. The shuffle effect cycles through the digits based on their position in the tube from back to front; the numbers do NOT count sequentially 1.2.3…etc. If the numbers were illuminated sequentially there would not be a smooth front to back motion on the display. Interestingly, the display effects are set on a mm/ss basis. In other words, the minutes can be fading while the seconds can use the shuffle effect.
This device has a built in thermometer which can display both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales. The value can be displayed as frequently as once per minute to once per day.
There is a built in ambient light sensor. As the ambient light increases, so does the tube brightness. This allows you to preserver tube life by running the tubes at a lower current (brightness) during the evening automatically.
Lastly, this device can be controlled via remote control. I am unable to test this feature because the pre-production model I was shipped glitches when I tried to use it so I am unable to review this specific feature.