two minute review
Your smartphone is an anti-sleep device. Its piercing sounds, its bright white light, and the fact that you use it to check your emails at inappropriate times make it an excellent candidate for removal from your room.
Cue the Mudita Harmony, an alarm clock with e-paper display. Following in the footsteps of the Polish company Pure Mudita (opens in new tab) An e-paper smartphone, the Mudita Harmony has a 2.8-inch E Ink Carta HD screen, a resolution of 480×600 pixels and a 2,600 mAh battery that recharges via USB-C.
While its secret sauce is the soothing sounds that come from the speaker on the back when you wake up, the reason the Mudita Harmony will make a good bed companion for some is its E Ink screen. Just check out your best sleep tracker if you don’t believe it will improve your sleep quality.
Digital alarm clocks whose LED displays leak light into the room have long been ready for an upgrade, and it’s a problem that hasn’t been fully resolved by the advent of OLED displays. Mudita Harmony tries to resolve this at once by completely shutting down at night. This solution works fine, but if you want to check the time in bed, you’ll need to activate the E Ink display – and even at the lowest brightness setting we found it a little alarming.[eforanupgradeandit’saproblemnotentirelysolvedbytheadventofOLEDdisplaysTheMuditaHarmonytririestosolvethatatastrokebyswitchingoffcompletelyatnightThatsolutionworkswellbutifyoudowanttocheckthetimewhileinbedyouhavetoactivatetheEInkdisplay–andevenonitslowestbrightnesssettingwefounditslightlyerralarming[eforanupgradeandit’saproblemnotentirelysolvedbytheadventofOLEDdisplaysTheMuditaHarmonytriestosolvethatatastrokebyswitchingoffcompletelyatnightThatsolutionworkswellbutifyoudowanttocheckthetimewhileinbedyouhavetoactivatetheEInkdisplay–andevenonitslowestbrightnesssettingwefounditslightlyerralarming
So while it doesn’t leak light at night, it’s not the perfect alarm clock for light sleepers. Overall it’s impressive, easy to use and live with – with its particularly impressive user interface – but we can’t help but think what the Mudita Harmony could do with a much lower minimum brightness setting.
Mudita Harmony E-Ink alarm clock review: Price and release date
- Sold for $169.99/UK £135/AU$237
- Only available in ‘Pebble Grey’
Weighing 240g and measuring 102x100x69 mm, the Mudita Harmony has a rounded edge and an overall very clean, smooth and completely minimalist look. Not that it looks particularly new; its round design and the large button at the top give it a clear heritage in the world of alarm clocks. We’re assuming it’s used to avoid a massive contrast between the bright white and gray of the E Ink display, but the ‘Pebble Grey’ color is a bit dull.
It has a built-in battery, so you can place it anywhere in your house, although it needs to be recharged every seven days, which can put off a little. At least it uses USB-C, which most people now use regularly. Its silicone-covered flat bottom means it can land on any flat surface with some grip, so there’s no worry about getting knocked over.
The real design of the Mudita Harmony is that single button at the top. In addition to turning on and off, it works as a snooze button and also navigates through the on-screen menus. There is a dedicated button just to control the brightness level.
While the meditative sounds it emits are appealing to some, the E Ink display itself is the biggest reason to buy the Mudita Harmony. Measuring 2.84 inches, it has a resolution of 600 x 480 pixels and a dots-per-inch rating of 270. Either way, it looks easy enough for the job at hand; shows the time in numeric characters that takes up about a third of the E Ink screen. It is completely deactivated at night.
Mudita Harmony E-Ink alarm clock review: Performance
- 17 Meditation-style wake up tunes
- Arm Cortex-M7 600MHz and 4GB of memory
- 3.5W speakers
Mudita Harmony has five modes; alarm, bedtime, snooze, relaxation and meditation. For the alarm, its 17 melodies are used to wake you up, while the other three modes are soothing background sounds. There are some natural sounds – including birdsong, tides and a stream – plus some musical tracks created by Canadian musician Nick Lewis using acoustic guitar, Tibetan bowls, acoustic guitar, ukulele and koshi bells. They have names like ‘quiet rain stick’, ‘cowboy chords’ and ‘bubbly creek’. A pre-wake alarm can be set five, 10 or 15 minutes before the main alarm, which has a different choice of four soundscapes. Strangely, the pre-alarm only lasts a few seconds.
They can be set to be very loud, during which time the sound quality is excellent, although we decided to opt for a volume setting of 2 (maximum is 10).
All these choices mean a complex user interface, right? Not really. Toggle that main button and all it does is change the time of the next alarm. The same goes for the button on the side, which lights up the screen or kills it. That’s it. Very simple.
Use the top button to set an alarm and a message will appear on the E Ink screen telling you exactly how many hours and minutes the next alarm will be triggered. A light tap on the top button lets you dig deeper, browsing through lists of options that include these various modes for a snooze, etc., as well as a handy settings menu. There you can change the intensity of the E Ink front light (from 1 to 10), set the tone for the ‘bedtime alarm’ (something that confuses us – why do you need a bedtime alarm on the side) from your bed?)
We love that the screen goes completely black at night, but what if you want to check the time when you wake up randomly? Hit the top button and the front E Ink display light kicks in, although even on the lowest setting we found it surprisingly bright in a blackout. To truly be 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 entire screen go dark gray for a second or so. This occasionally happens on Mudita Harmony as it changes the minute counter. It’s a quirk of the technology, but it can be distracting if you have the device facing you on a table or desk during the day. If you want full customization, you’re better off using something like the Lenovo Smart Clock 2.
Don’t buy if…
First reviewed in June 2022