Two minute review
Your smartphone is an anti-sleep device. His piercing sounds, his bright white light and the fact that you use him at inappropriate times to check your emails make him a prime candidate to remove from your bedroom.
Cue de Mudita Harmony, an alarm clock with an e-paper display. Hot on the heels of the Polish company Mudita Pure (opens in new tab) e-paper smartphone, the Mudita Harmony features a 2.8-inch E Ink Carta HD display, a resolution of 480×600 pixels and has a 2600 mAh battery that charges via USB-C.
While its secret sauce is the soothing sounds that come out of the rear speaker when you wake up, the reason the Mudita Harmony will make a good bedside companion for some is its E Ink display. Just check your best sleep tracker if you don’t think it will improve the quality of your sleep.
Digital alarm clocks whose LED displays leak light into the room have long been in the market for an upgrade, and it’s a problem that hasn’t been completely solved by the advent of OLED displays. The Mudita Harmony tries to solve that in one fell swoop by switching off completely at night. That solution works well, but if you want to check the time in bed you’ll need to activate the E Ink display – and even on the lowest brightness setting we found it somewhat, er, alarming.[eforanupgradeandit’saproblemnotentirelysolvedbytheadventofOLEDdisplaysTheMuditaHarmonytriestosolvethatatastrokebyswitchingoffcompletelyatnightThatsolutionworkswellbutifyoudowanttocheckthetimewhileinbedyouhavetoactivatetheEInkdisplay–andevenonitslowestbrightnesssettingwefounditslightlyerr[eforanupgradeandit’saproblemnotentirelysolvedbytheadventofOLEDdisplaysTheMuditaHarmonytriestosolvethatatastrokebyswitchingoffcompletelyatnightThatsolutionworkswellbutifyoudowanttocheckthetimewhileinbedyouhavetoactivatetheEInkdisplay–andevenonitslowestbrightnesssettingwefounditslightlyerralarming
So while it doesn’t leak light at night, it’s not quite the perfect alarm clock for light sleepers. Overall it’s impressive, easy to use and to live with – with its user interface particularly impressive – but we can’t help but think the Mudita Harmony could use a much lower minimum brightness setting.
Mudita Harmony E-Ink alarm clock review: price and release date
- Sells for US$169.99 / UK£135 / AU$237
- Only available in ‘Pebble Gray’
Weighing 240g and measuring 102x100x69mm, the Mudita Harmony has a rounded edge and an overall very clean, soft and thoroughly minimalist look. Not that it looks particularly new; its round dial design and large button on the top give it a clear heritage in the world of alarm clocks. We suspect it’s used to avoid a huge contrast between the bright white and the gray of the E Ink screen, but the ‘Pebble Grey’ color is a bit dull.
It has a built-in battery, so you can place it anywhere in the house, although it needs to be charged every seven days, which may put some off. At least it uses USB-C, which most people now use regularly. Its flat, silicone-coated bottom allows it to sit on any flat surface with some grip, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over.
The real design of the Mudita Harmony is that single button on the top. In addition to turning it on and off, it acts like the snooze button and also navigates through the on-screen menus. There is only a dedicated button to control the brightness level.
While the meditative sounds it emits may appeal to some, the E Ink display itself is the biggest reason to buy the Mudita Harmony. It measures 2.84 inches, has a resolution of 600×480 pixels, and a points-per-inch rating of 270. Either way, it easily looks sharp enough for the job; it shows the time in numerical characters that takes up about a third of the E Ink screen. It is completely turned off at night.
Mudita Harmony E-Ink alarm clock review: Performance
- 17 meditation-style wake-up melodies
- Arm Cortex-M7 600MHz and 4GB memory
- 3.5W speakers
The Mudita Harmony has five modes; alarm, bedtime, power nap, relaxation and meditation. For the alarm, the 17 melodies are used to wake you up, while for the other three modes they are soothing background sounds. There are some natural sounds – including birdsong, tides and a stream – as well as some musical tracks created by Canadian musician Nick Lewis using guitar, Tibetan scales, a guitar, ukulele and koshi bells. They have names like ‘calm rain stick’, ‘cowboy chords’ and ‘bubbling brook’. A pre-wake-up alarm can be set to five, 10 or 15 minutes before the main alarm, which has a choice of four soundscapes. Strangely enough, the pre-alert only lasts a few seconds.
They can be set very loud, with excellent sound quality, although we decided to go for a volume setting of 2 (the maximum is 10).
All those choices mean a complex user interface, right? Not really. Turn on that main button and all it does is change the time of the next alarm. Ditto for the button next to it, which lights up or kills the screen. That is it. Really simple.
Use the top button to set an alarm and a message will appear on the E Ink screen letting you know exactly in how many hours and minutes the next alarm will sound. A light touch on that top button allows you to dig deeper, navigating lists of options covering the different modes for a power nap etc, as well as a handy settings menu. In it you can change the intensity of the E Ink’s front light (from 1 to 10), set the tone for the ‘bedtime alarm’ (something we’re confused about – why do you need a bedtime alarm next to your bed?).
We love that the screen is completely dark at night, but what if you want to check the time when you randomly wake up? Press the top button and the E Ink display’s front lighting activates, although we found it surprisingly bright in a blackout even on the lowest setting. To be truly considered sleep-friendly, we think the Mudita Harmony needs some much lower brightness settings.
E Ink screens need to be refreshed every now and then, something that makes the whole screen go dark gray for a second or so. This occasionally happens on the Mudita Harmony when it changes the minute counter. It’s a quirk of the technology, but it can be distracting if you have the device on a table or desk during the day. If you want full customization, you’re better off with something like the Lenovo Smart Clock 2.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
First review June 2022