Wake up! Isn’t it great when someone shakes you up in the morning and makes absolutely sure you’re up? If you’re a serial snoozer like me, you know all about stretching your alarm from five more minutes to two more hours, only to realize you weren’t really up and thinking straight when all of it happened. Yes, waking up can be a tiresome process, but with smartphones, it can become easier, and even more fun.
Did you know you can easily find apps to help you get up in the morning? I don’t mean simple alarm clock apps that sound an alarm when you tell them to, I mean special apps that force you to play games, scan barcodes, or dock your phone in your car to make sure you’re really up; apps that use your sleep cycles or the sun to determine the best time for you to wake up; apps that read the news to you while you’re still looking for the snooze button. Sounds like a good way to wake up?
Alarm Clock Xtreme
Alarm Clock Xtreme is actually my current alarm clock of choice, and while its interface is usual enough, it offers some unique features when it comes to snoozing your alarm. The app is pretty customizable, and lets you fine-tune anything from alarm sounds and color schemes to snooze duration and dismiss options. You can set several alarms at once, have an alarm go off on certain days and not on others, and easily activate or deactivate any alarms on your list.
So what’s unique about the snooze method? As you can see in the screenshot, you can simply tap a snooze button to snooze, but you can also choose to press the phone’s physical side buttons, shake the device, or even solve a math problem. It gets even more interesting if you want to dismiss the alarm: Here you can also choose to enter a captcha or place the phone in a car dock. The latter means the only way to dismiss the alarm is to actually get in your car – that will make sure you’re up!
Alarm Clock Xtreme also comes with a timer, and you can add a stopwatch to it as well, if you want.
Download: Free with ads. $1.99 without ads.
Gentle Alarm is a very well-known alarm clock app, and no list is complete without it. Gentle Alarm can be anything you want it to be, from the most generic alarm-clock app, to the most unique one you can find. Aside from the regular alarms you can set for certain days (free version doesn’t ring on Wednesdays), there are lots of other features you can configure and control. Similar to Alarm Clock Xtreme, snoozing or dismissing can be done by solving a math problem or by repeating a dot pattern.
You can also set a pre-alarm to go off at some point before you actually want to wake up, which is supposed to help you wake up fresher. The screen can be set to turn on gradually so as to not blind you when you try to hit that snooze button, and you can control every aspect of the alarm sound, from its maximal volume to it’s fade-in duration.
Gentle Alarm can also be configured to listen to voice commands, read a message out loud with the alarm, and do many other crazy things. If you’re curious, you can read our full review of Gentle Alarm, or just download the clock app and try it!
Download: Free, doesn’t go off on Wednesdays. $2.70 for full version.
DoubleTwist Alarm Clock [2.2+]
Before I even start on its features, DoubleTwist Alarm Clock is unique just for its interface. Many alarm-clock apps have an interface that leaves something to be desired, but DoubleTwist Alarm Clock is one of the best-looking apps I’ve seen in a while. The interface alone makes this app worth checking out, but there are other unique features worth looking at. Every alarm you add can be a regular one, but it can also depend on your sleep cycle or the sunrise, if you’re into that sort of thing. There’s also a special alarm for naps that are 60 minutes long or less, which lets you set up a quick alarm without having to calculate when you want to wake up.
You might be familiar with DoubleTwist player – a well-known music player for Android – and if you download it too, you’ll get some additional alarm-clock features such as waking up to a specific song or a playlist. DoubleTwist Alarm Clock is free to try for 7 days. After that, you’ll have to get the paid version of the clock app, but for $1.99, it’s worth it.
Download: $1.99 full version.
If you’re bored with the plain old act of waking up, WakeVoice can make the whole experience a little more interesting. With its weather, news, radio and horoscope features, WakeVoice can feed you all this information as soon as you wake up, with text-to-speech or without, or even while the alarm is still sounding. WakeVoice’s interface is nice compared to other clocks, and can be customized to show your local weather, news from your favorite source (including custom RSS), events from your calendar, and your personal horoscope. You can also set up WakeVoice to recognize speech, and use your voice to control several of its operations.
The free version of WakeVoice can only play 10 alarms, and that’s it. After that, you’ll have to get the full version for $2.59.
I Can’t Wake Up! [2.1+]
If you’re really having trouble waking up, and no simple math problem or sequence repeat can solve it, I Can’t Wake Up! could be what you’re looking for. This alarm clock comes with not one, not two, but 8 different wake-up games. Among these challenges you’ll find a memory game, a rewrite challenge, a pairs matching game, etc. You can also choose to scan a barcode to stop the alarm, or shake your phone until you fill up the green circle.
Worried about getting to know one game too well? You can set the app up to show a random one every time an alarm goes off, so you’re always on your toes. The app includes everything else you can expect from an alarm app, such as multiple alarms, snooze control, etc.
The free version of the clock app is ad-supported. You can get rid of ads by paying $3.10.
UNIQLO Wake Up [No Longer Available]
And now for something completely different: an alarm clock that changes with the weather. As you can see from the screenshots above, UNIQLO doesn’t look anything like the other apps on this list. With its bright pastel colors and its sweet music and vocals, this app won’t suit everyone, but if the look appeals to you, it’s definitely worth a try.
UNIQLO is completely free with no ads or restrictions, but doesn’t come with many features. You can set an alarm or a recurring alarm, and set how long your snooze will be, and that’s about it for alarms. The alarm will go off with an icon and color to fit the weather, and will play a little tune to match. It will also tell you what day it is and what the weather is like. Interesting take on alarm clocks.
Which apps you go for depends on what kind of wake up you want to have. It also depends on which of these apps appeals to you the most visually. As for me, I’m seriously considering switching to doubleTwist Alarm Clock. I have a weak spot for beautiful apps.
If you’re looking for something even more unique, you could try using social pressure to wake up. An interesting idea, if you think it’ll work for you.
What is your clock app of choice? What’s the best and easiest way to wake up in your book?
Image credit: Woman waking up image via Shutterstock