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MP3 alarm clock wakes you up on a budget

Thanko's MP3 Clock offers a novel approach to the morning grind.

We've already seen an alarm clock that doubles as an iPod dock and another that draws its melodies from mobile phones , so how about a third speaker-toting alarm clock that connects to a PC to suck up MP3s for those early-morning calls?

The cunningly named MP3 Clock comes from Thanko Japan and costs just ¥2,980 (£12.50), which is much in keeping with the company's other cheap-but-fun items. Operation is about as straightforward as things get - hook up to a Windows (XP or Vista) PC by USB cable and use the included software to get up to five minutes of any MP3 audio onto the clock.

Nature included

There's no indication of how much memory the clock has, nor is it expandable, but that duration suggests just a few megabytes are available. Thanko's software includes a glorious bonus collection of nature sounds, including birdsong and waterfalls, which we reckon are likely to see a lot more use than a snippet of a favourite tune.

After all, clock radios already do a whole lot better than that, don't they? The weight is 410g and the clock runs on three AA batteries.