Gentle Alarm is a feature-rich alarm replacement for Android
Jul 8, 2011 7:38 AM –
Gentle Alarm. An alarm clock shouldn’t shell-shock you out of your dreams. That’s why I created Gentle Alarm which tries to wake you up during light sleep using an optional pre-alarm. Alarm clocks can’t know if you are in light sleep or deep sleep (those movement based alarm clock don’t work) but they can play a very quiet pre-alarm which you will only hear if you are in light sleep. If you are in deep sleep, you will simply sleep through the pre-alarm.
Price: Free Trial, ~$2.84
Tested on: MyTouch 3G Slide
Pros & Cons:
- A lot of features to play with.
- It has a “pre-alarm” to start to gently bring you out of sleep instead of the jarring you awake with a loud sound.
- There are a lot of setting to figure out just to set up a few alarms.
- It takes up valuable screen real estate in the Notifications bar, instead of being off to the side with the battery and network info like the stock alarm.
Gentle Alarm is an alarm clock app, however, with a “pre-alarm” feature to gently wake you if you’re in a light sleep, followed by the normal loud alarm; as opposed to only a loud jarring alarm. I have to start out by saying that, for reviewing this app, it’s actually the second time I’ve had it installed on my phone. And I like it. But I also have some issues with it.
My biggest problem the first time around, and the one that continues to bother me, is the volume level of the main alarm. At 100%, the loudest you can make it, it’s not a full phone volume. Since I usually wake up to an alarm playing at full volume, to have something quieter makes me worry I won’t hear it, even though the app even has a “fail-safe” alarm if you don’t respond within a set period of time. Even with that though, I find myself worrying about it, so I’m not sure if I’m waking up gradually because of the pre-alarm and alarm in the app, or if I’m waking up gradually because once my husband leaves the house (before I get up – he’s a school bus driver) I’m on some level keeping an ear out because I’m terrified of missing the alarm. That said, I did wake up feeling more refreshed than usual, without my standard snooze-hitting routine. Whether it’s because of the app’s features or my paranoia though, is the question.
Beyond my concerns over volume level, this is actually a very solid, feature-rich alarm app. It’s designed to help you wake up more gradually, when your body’s rhythms dictate it, rather than all at once in a jarring way, no matter where in your sleep cycle you are. The idea is that the soft pre-alarm goes off to start to gradually bring you up out of REM sleep about a half-hour before you actually want to get up (this, like everything else in the app, is adjustable, so you can adjust it over time based on your own sleep patterns). Then, in theory, you’re already mostly awake when the actual alarm goes off, hence why the volume level isn’t blaring – it’s meant to be a more pleasant, energizing way to wake up in the morning.
Gentle Alarm Main
Gentle Alarm List
Gentle Alarm Settings
Gentle Alarm Profile Settings
Gentle Alarm Profiles
Gentle Alarm Welcome
Gentle Alarm Tutorial
If you, like me, use your phone as an alarm clock, then this is actually a very useful app. I like the idea of waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go, rather than groggy and hitting snooze until the last possible second.
Ease of Use:
There are a LOT of settings here, so it does have more of a learning curve than just setting an alarm time and exiting the app. You can set up various profiles to apply to different types of alarms, such as the work day and weekends, as well as adjust everything from when the pre-alarm will start to volume levels, to even adding a challenge to dismiss the alarm if you so choose. This is an app you really want to use for a week or more before making a decision about it, which is why I’d suggest trying the free version first, then if you like it, it’s worth the upgrade. Keep in mind that the trial version does have ads, and doesn’t work on Wednesdays. So if you want to try before you buy and figure out whether the learning curve is worth it to you, plan around that.
If you’re a phone alarm person, this will be used daily, or even multiple times per day if you take naps.
The interface for the alarm is very clean, and easy to see what alarms are scheduled for when. The developer has made an effort to make all the various settings pretty intuitive and has put them where they make sense, so even though there’s a learning curve to get it working perfectly for you, the interface itself doesn’t get in the way.