How do you wake up in the morning? Do you need your 30 minutes of repeating snoozes, or do you wake up roaring, ready to tackle the day?
Whether you’re a morning person or not, chances are you need an alarm clock to wake up. And if you own an Android device, I’m betting your phone is also your alarm clock. There are many unique alarm-clock apps out there, and I’m sure you already have a favorite. But it’s never too late to switch favorites. Especially if you want your alarm clock to also tell you about the current weather and your upcoming appointments.
AlarmPad: Wake Up Informed
At first glance, AlarmPad doesn’t look like the simple alarm clock most people crave for. There are many options, some of them pretty advanced, and you may feel confused just by reading its Google Play description. Don’t be fooled, though. AlarmPad is very simple to use, and you don’t have to use advanced options if you don’t want to.
What’s the most important aspect of setting an alarm? Choosing the time you need to wake up, of course. This is never a complicated task, but AlarmPad’s circular clock interface makes it even easier than usual. Just point to the exact time you want to wake up, and you’re set.
You can end the whole operation here, but it’s worth digging a bit deeper and playing with AlarmPad’s other options. To start, you can have your alarm repeat on certain days, every day, or even every few hours. You can set the alarm to go off at a certain date, even one that’s 3 months in the future. The alarm title can help you remember what this alarm is all about, whether it’s your regular one, or one you’re setting up for a doctor’s appointment next month.
Things get really interesting when you hit the “More Options” button. This is where you can set AlarmPad to notify you about the current weather, as well as upcoming appointments from your Google Calendar. If you want, AlarmPad can even read this information to you out loud using text to speech. Alternatively, it can only read out the alarm’s title. Another thing it can do is ask you if you want to dismiss the alarm, to which you can answer using a voice command.
AlarmPad is not one of those alarms that helps you wake up with questions and puzzles. When the alarm goes off, you can either swipe to the left to snooze it or to the right to dismiss it. You can also switch to the weather and calendar tabs while it’s still ringing — seeing your appointments for the day could be a good incentive to get up. Either way, once the alarm stops ringing, AlarmPad will display a short summary of everything you need to know for the day.
As you can see, despite the options available, setting up alarms is easy enough for any user, and the added information is a great bonus. But AlarmPad offers even more options, for those who are interested.
Handling Multiple Alarms
Like many other alarm apps, AlarmPad lets you set more than one alarm. This is handy if you need to get up at 8AM most days, at 9AM tomorrow, and at 6AM in 2 weeks. You can set all these alarms in AlarmPad and forget about them.
When browsing your active alarms, tap one to view relevant information about the next time it’s going to go off. From here you can also edit the alarm, delete it, or move it to the disabled tab. Note that if you disable an alarm, you need to manually move it back to the active tab in order for it to work. If you just set it but leave it in the disabled tab, it won’t ring.
You can also add your alarms to the homescreen as widgets and turn them on or off from there (but yes — with many widgets it could get a bit crowded).
This is a unique feature that lets you set up an alarm that goes off according to events in your Google Calendar. Say you’re working in shifts, and need to wake up at a different time every day. You can set up several alarms for different days, but this can get complicated if your schedule is different every week. AlarmPad’s calendar-based alarms solve this problem.
To use this feature, access the app’s settings and tick the box next to “Enable advanced mode”. This will add a small calendar icon to the app’s homescreen.
The calendar alarms use hashtags to recognize events in your calendar. This can be any hashtag you dream up, but you need to include it in the event’s title. Once your events are in place in your calendar, tap the calendar icon in AlarmPad and set up an alarm based on that hashtag.
You can then decide when you want the alarm to ring before this event, and set up the rest of the settings just like any other alarm. You now have an alarm that goes off automatically for every event that carries this hashtag. You can set up multiple alarms for multiple hashtags too.
At the moment, AlarmPad is having trouble with calendar-based events that are set up at the last minute. Meaning, if you set up an event for an hour from now, AlarmPad will update accordingly, but the alarm might not go off. This is not a problem for events set up in advance, and since most of us don’t add events an hour before they’re about to happen, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember that if you do happen to do that, set a regular alarm as backup. The developer is working on fixing this bug.
Free vs. Pro & Beta Issues
I’m sure you’ve noticed the ads in the screenshot above. As you might expect, you can get rid of these by buying the Pro version of AlarmPad. Aside from ads, the free version also limits you to 5 active alarms at a time.
You can actually have as many alarms as you want, but only five of these can be active at any given time. You can juggle things around to the disabled tab and back pretty easily, so unless you actually need to have more than 5 active alarms at a time, this shouldn’t be a problem.
If the ads annoy you, you need more than 5 alarms, or you simply want to support an independent developer, $1.99 will get you the Pro version of AlarmPad. If you’re planning to use this app on a day-to-day basis, it’s definitely worth it. If you want to get an ad-free version for free, you can join the AlarmPad Google+ community and as for the test version.
It’s important to remember that AlarmPad is still in Beta. In my experience, it’s bug-free, but you may encounter issues I haven’t. If this happens, don’t be discouraged. The developer is responsive and wants to hear of new bugs, and the app includes an easy way to send logs and help fix the issues you encounter.
AlarmPad is also being actively developed all the time. New features such as playing music as your alarm (which you can continue to listen to after you shut the alarm off) are coming soon, so stay tuned.
Update: There was an update of AlarmPad between the time this post was written and the time it was published. Some new features might not be mentioned in the article. Make sure you take AlarmPad for a spin and get to know all the new features.
Are You Up?
AlarmPad is a really good alarm clock, but if you’re a heavy sleeper, its simple snooze mechanism might not get you out of bed. If that’s the case, these alarm clock apps will challenge you to wake up, and if they don’t work either, you could go for the social pressure option to make sure you’re up.
If you can trust yourself to wake up with a simple alarm, you really should give AlarmPad a try.
Download AlarmPad Free from the Google Play Store.
Hit the comments below and tell us about your favorite alarm-clock app!
Image Credit: Clock image (cropped) by Alex