Alarm apps. They seem to be a dime a dozen. Just open up Google Play and just type “Alarm.” The results are too numerous to count. There are free apps and there are paid apps. There are even both free versions and paid versions of the same app. What is one to do with all the choices?
I’ve been using Timely as my go to alarm app. I was satisfied with the app, I mean it did what it’s supposed to do and wake me up, however, I was growing bored with it. It has been a while since the app was updated and then when they finally did give it an update, there weren’t really any big changes. One of the things that really bugged me about the app was that it doesn’t integrate with Android’s “next alarm” function. That means if you used DashClock or Chronus you couldn’t display the time of the next alarm. What really bugs me about this, is that BitSpin, the company behind Timely, is owned by El Goog. So, I started looking for something else. Something new, more appealing, and not with an outdated UI.
My search introduced me to AlarmPad. AlarmPad is fresh! It uses the Material Design UI and it has some pretty cool features. Best of all, it works with Android’s “next alarm” function. I can just glance at my phone and see when the next alarm will sound.
There are many functions available in AlarmPad and I admit that I am not going to cover all of them in this review. I will try and mention most of the features that set this app apart from others I have used.
The first thing you will want to do with AlarmPad is enable “Advanced Mode.” You can do this from within the app’s settings. WIth “Advanced Mode” you get “calendar based” alarms. That’s right, you can set an alarm not just by time of day, but by calendar events. Let’s say you take medicine on a regular basis and you want to be reminded when to take your medicine. With a calendar based alarm, you can create an event and give it a hashtag like “#takepills” and then set calendar events for every time you need to take a pill. The app will look on your calendar for any event tagged with “#takepills” and set an alarm for that event. Even better is if you have your event set to remind you five minutes before the event, then the alarm will go off five minutes before the event. This can come in handy because instead of having to create an alarm for each time you need to take a pill (some people have to do that numerous times during one 24-hour period) you can just set one calendar alarm for “#takepills” and then create events on your calendar to remind you.
I’ve been using this “hashtag alarm” a lot lately. I have a recurring meeting twice a week, every week. I created a hashtag alarm and set it to go off early enough to wake me up to get ready and out the door. The interface will only allow you to enter the amount of time prior to the alarm in minutes. If you want the alarm to sound one hour before the event, you would have to enter “60 minutes” instead of being able to choose “1 hour.”
You can also set quick alarms. There’s a “PLUS” icon on the main screen and you just drag that PLUS up and as you drag the PLUS it increases the alarm time from one minute up to I believe 23 hours from now. Just drag the PLUS and release and the alarm is set. Of course you can go in and edit the alarm later and all the functions associated with the alarm. I know you don’t want to modify the alarm functions every time you set an alarm, so you can use “remember my selection” when saving the alarm so that the next alarm you create will use the functions used from the last alarm created.
Here is a breakdown of the settings when creating an alarm:
REPEAT – Repeat the alarm again tomorrow at the same time.
AUTOMATICALLY DELETE AFTER RUNNING – The alarm can be made a one-time use alarm and if you don’t want to keep the alarm, you can set it to delete itself after it sounds.
ALARM LABEL – Create a label for your alarm, such as “Get up and get ready for work!” You can add notes underneath the label, such as, “This alarm is to wake you up and get your butt out of bed and ready to face the day.”
SHOW ME – “Greetings, Current Time, Weather Forecast, and Calendar Entries.” You can select all, any, or none of these options and the applicable information will be shown when the alarm sounds.
EXTENSIONS – Various extensions are available, such as “Dash Clock SMS” so you can see SMS messages when the alarm sounds.
DEFAULT RINGTONE – You can choose sounds from the app, sounds on your device, music from your device, or a random song from a playlist (requires an in-app purchase or the Pro version to unlock the playlist feature). I haven’t been able to get the music options to work with Google Play Music.
RING OPTIONS – Various options for what to do when the alarm goes off, including gently increasing the volume of the alarm and vibrating the device.
DISMISS METHOD – You can specify the method for dismissing and active alarm. Options include just tapping a dismiss button, solving a math puzzle, or tapping a NFC tag (requires an in-app purchase or the Pro version to unlock the NFC feature).
RESTRICT TO LOCATION – This option is so you can restrict the alarm to a specific location. So, if you are not at home, the alarm will not go off. This would be good for event notification alarms. If you’re already at the event, you don’t need the alarm to go off.
Another cool feature is alarm synchronization. You can also register for an account with MindMe (the company behind AlarmPad) and synchronize your alarms across multiple devices. This feature is only available on the Pro version of the app or you can pay $2.10 to unlock it on the free version.
Overall, I really like this alarm app. The developer is quick to respond to inquiries. There is a free (ad supported) version or you can pay $1.99 to get the ads removed. If you want the full Pro version of the app, you’ll need to plunk down $4.99. I do feel $4.99 is a bit much for an Alarm app. After all, as I mentioned above, there is no shortage of alarm apps available in Google Play. You can also unlock features by referring the app to friends or signing up to participate in Beta testing of new versions.