Timely For Android: A Beautiful, Powerful, and Slick Alarm Clock

Erez Zukerman 27-08-2013

Whatever alarm clock you’re using, it’s uglier than Timely. That’s a bold assertion to make, I know. But I’ve been using Gentle Alarm Gentle Alarm - A Fantastic Way To Wake Up Gradually Every Morning [Android 1.5+] Gentle Alarm is everything I could wish for in an alarm clock. Its paid version (linked) costs around $3, and yet has over 50,000 downloads with a 4.5-star average out of 7,475 reviews. In fact,... Read More , one of the most powerful and versatile alarm clocks for Android, for over a year now — and we’ve also looked at other alarm clocks like DoubleTwist and Alarm Clock Xtreme Better Ways to Wake Up: Unique Alarm Clock Apps for Android 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... Read More . That’s why I feel confident in saying Timely, a relative newcomer, is probably the most elegant alarm clock available on Android right now. It also doubles at a timer and a stopwatch, and can even sync your alarms across multiple devices so both your tablet and your phone know when to wake you up. This is an alarm clock you should, at the very least, try. Below, I’ll be looking at Timely’s premium version, which currently retails for $3 via in-app purchase.


Alarm and Clock

Let’s start with the core feature: Getting you to wake up and possibly even drag yourself out of bed (ambitious, I know!). To set a new alarm, you don’t have to mess around with tiny textboxes or clock controls: Instead, you can swipe across your entire screen to select the time, then make fine-grained adjustments by tapping either over or under the selected time:


This is a novel way to set a time, and it makes a lot of sense. With the time selected, you can select the days of the week on which this alarm should be active, enable Smart Rise, and have the clock challenge you to figure out if you’re really awake:


Smart Rise is a feature that’s “based on advanced sleep cycle theory”. 30 minutes before the designated alarm time, Timely will start playing the alarm softly. As the theory goes, if you’re in a light phase of your sleep, that might be enough to nudge you awake. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it’s one of the features Gentle Alarm has had for years, called “pre-alarm.” Unlike Gentle Alarm which lets you customize just about any aspect of the pre-alarm, Timely reduces this feature down to a single checkbox — in other words, take it or leave it.

Next up is the challenge: Again, just like Gentle Alarm (and Puzzle Alarm Puzzle Alarm Clock for Android Makes Sure You Never Oversleep Again Alarm clocks are fundamentally very simple things: They wait until the designated time, and then wreak havoc. Or so the basic concept goes, at least. But these simple alarm clocks all face an age-old problem:... Read More ), Timely optionally challenges you with a quick puzzle just to see if you’re really awake. The challenges are much easier than either Gentle Alarm’s or Puzzle Alarm’s — they’re very elegant, but I could easily see myself solving one of these and going right back to sleep. There’s a math challenge, a “random pattern” challenge, and a “match it” challenge which is very similar to a kids’ puzzle:


Once again, Timely eschews configuration for elegance: You don’t get to set the difficulty of your challenge (something both Gentle Alarm and Puzzle Alarm let you do), but the challenges are very pretty. Here’s the pattern one, which is basically like a lockscreen for your day:


Finally, there is one area where Timely’s alarm offers much richer functionality than either Gentle Alarm or Puzzle Alarm: Included sounds. The app ships with numerous bundled wake-up sounds, thoughtfully divided into categories such as “smooth,” “harmonic,” “instrumental,” and others. Not only is there a wide selection of wake-up melodies, but they’re actually surprisingly pleasant and polished. When you think about it, your clock’s alarm sound is one of the things you’ll be interacting with the most — long after you’ve settled on your favorite settings, you will still be hearing this alarm each and every weekday (unless you’re lucky). So, it makes sense to offer a great selection of possible sounds to choose from:


If you want, you can also use Timely as a regular clock:


You can choose one of three bundled clock faces:


Timer and Stopwatch

In addition to the alarm clock, you can use Timely as both a timer and a stopwatch. The timer interface uses a radial dial you can rotate to set the desired countdown interval — the exact same mechanic used by Ovo The Best Pomodoro Timer Apps to Rocket Your Productivity If you often hit a productivity wall after a few hours of work, a Pomodoro timer could help you keep your focus. This selection of timers has an option for every platform. Read More , a highly-polished timer app.


The stopwatch uses the main area of the screen to for starting and pausing, with a small lap timer on the bottom-right:


Note how the timer and stopwatch use a different color scheme than the alarm screenshots shown above: That’s because Timely lets you specify your own color schemes.


There are numerous included schemes, but you can also create a custom one easily.


There’s a widget, too:


It does pretty much what you would expect: Just a simple clock, along with the date and the time of the next alarm. Tapping it takes you to the app itself. Unlike the app, the widget allows no visual customizations at all – what you see above is what you get. You can’t tweak the colors, the font, the information shown, or anything else really. This is a good area for future versions to explore and improve on.


Given the amount of features crammed into Timely, its Settings screen is surprisingly svelte and restrained:


You can to choose the alarm fade-in length and snooze duration, as well as have the snooze duration gradually shrink (the more you snooze, the less time you have between alarms). This is yet another feature taken right off Gentle Alarm, but while Gentle Alarm lets you specify this on a per-profile basis, Timely uses a global setting for all alarms. You can also set the first day of the week, as well as control the amount of visual effects the app uses.

Oh So Beautiful, If Not Entirely Original

If anything, Timely serves to underscore how crusty and outdated Gentle Alarm’s interface has become. Yes, Gentle Alarm lets you fine-tune your alarm in ways Timely doesn’t allow, but the interface you use to do so is painfully clunky by comparison. Timely also offers another interesting lesson about design: While it doesn’t tightly adhere to the Holo design guidelines, and even includes some wildly superfluous animations, the end result still feels polished and powerful. This is another proof of the old maxim: Rules were made to be broken, and a designer who really knows what they’re doing can safely flaunt them.

Will you be trying Timely out, or are you happy with your current alarm clock? And by the way, which alarm clock is that? Let me know in the comments.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Enter your Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Ara
    November 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    cheap jerseys epl cheap real jerseys

  2. Tom
    December 18, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Yes I like the layout as well.. But need my sounds & tones for alarms.
    This app needs to have that feature for me to use or buy it.

  3. Arcendus
    October 22, 2013 at 2:37 am

    ... this app doesn't even allow you to use custom alarm tones.

    Does the "pretty" appearance really make up for that? I find it to be far more important to HEAR what I want to hear than to SEE what I want to see. Especially considering that I, for one, wake up to sounds... not sights...

    • Erez Z
      October 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Timely actually does let you pick alarm sounds...

    • Arcendus
      October 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Custom alarm tones, not the alarm tones they provide. For example you can't set a song as an alarm time.

    • Arcendus
      October 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm


    • Erez Z
      October 23, 2013 at 7:49 am

      Ah, good point there! Then yes, I think you're right, and that is indeed a disadvantage.

  4. Kunnal Thapa
    September 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Every user should read this... It is an awesome application . Don't forget to trade codes, my code is 6G9U-9S60-GBGU Enter that code and get 2 points, just go to settings and at the bottom you will see "Enter Referral Code". You can get themes and other features for free..... Try it Thank you

  5. Madhav
    August 28, 2013 at 2:08 am

    I cannot make out how much the Pro (paid) version will cost. Can anyone help me on this?

    • Erez Zukerman
      August 28, 2013 at 7:06 am

      $3 at the time the article was written.

      • Madhav
        August 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        Thanks - I was unable to find it anywhere - even on their website, I think.

  6. Jerry Heiselman
    August 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Well, I found the widget. It's only available on Android 4.2. Starting to get very annoyed with the lack of updates to my phone.

    • Erez Zukerman
      August 28, 2013 at 7:05 am

      Alternative ROMs to the rescue? :)

    • Krzysiek D
      August 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

      That's not true - I installed the widget on my Android 4.0.4. :-)

  7. Jerry Heiselman
    August 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I can't find the widget. Perhaps it's only in the paid version. That and a notification blocking mode would easily make this a replacement app for Gentle Alarm for me.

  8. Douglas M
    August 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I tested it and it's surely one of the most beautiful app as for Alarms...

  9. Vasu C
    August 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    huh. . .another app that doesn't support gingerbread. . .
    I agree that the apps are always developed for newest version of an operating system, but there are few exceptions too like gingerbread which still has a great market :(

  10. Hugo
    August 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Thank to this alarms i've learned how to solve sums of 2 digits without have to wake up. But this one looks pretty.

  11. Shon N
    August 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Not pretty, but I have been using Smart Alarm. I like it because it has the ability to specify days for the alarm to not go off on, like holidays.

    • Luis
      April 13, 2015 at 6:09 am

      True! Been using Timely every working day and I love it. But once again in a holiday it has kept me awake because I forgot to disable it yesterday. It's an important drawback having apps that do it for you. I'll give a try to Smart Clock.