If you don't want to carry an alarm clock in your travels a watch with a built-in alarm can be useful. For some heavy sleepers though, that wimpy little beep isn't going to help them catch the 6 a.m. train to Budapest. This VibraLite 8 watch I've been trying out has the wimpy beep, but it gives you the option of something more novel: a vibrating watch that buzzes your arm.
While our brains may be conditioned to ignoring minor noises when we're in a deep sleep (especially if our arm is buried under the pillow), it's hard to sleep through the feeling of someone putting electrodes next to your skin and shocking you. No, that's not what this does---it is really like a small vibrating cell phone stuck onto your arm---but it's a strange sensation. Either you'll wake up and start getting ready or you'll keep dozing and have dreams about being prodded and tested in an asylum. There's a built-in light too, so you can check the time in the dark while you're groggy.
As always seems to be the case with these watches that come with pages of tiny type instructions for functions you will never use, it takes some time and effort to get everything set up. On my third try I finally got the alarm to work. Apparently setting it isn't enough: you then have to go to a separate function mode and switch the sound from off to on. Or go to an entirely different one to turn on the buzzer. If you are the type that salivates over being able to run your whole life with a wristwatch though, you can use this to remind yourself of appointments, time a race, set multiple alarms, keep track of two time zones, and count down to a specific event.
The main reason I'm not too bummed about sending this review copy back, however, is that for something I learned about from a site called SeekingDesigners, most of the watches in the Vibe line are far from stylish. It's hard to make a digital display watch look great, but it can be done, just ask Swatch or Tati. The one I tested (pictured at the top) is a little heavier than a cheapo digital watch from a kiosk at the mall, but does the vibrator make this mostly plastic watch worth $70? If you like the concept but are looking for something more attractive, check their whole line at the company website.
Get it at Amazon