Smart Alarm Clock - Waking Up Has Never Been Better!
Tested version: 1.7.4
Latest version: 1.7.5 - Jan 2011
Requires Android: from 1.1
Waking up early in the morning is such a drag. It’s like a game of cat and mouse between you and the alarm clock: you keep on pressing the snooze button just to squeeze out a couple more minutes of peace and quiet. You try to fall asleep, but know that the alarm will ring again any minute. What a stressful way to get out of bed!
With the help of its sleep stage monitoring, Smart Alarm Clock is supposed to give you a better and more relaxed start to your day without coffee or an ice-cold shower.
Features & Use
People go through several different sleep stages during the night. Waking up is tougher in some sleep stages than others. Getting woken up by the shrill sound of an alarm clock while you’re in your deep sleep stage can really ruin your morning. Using your phone’s motion sensors, Smart Alarm Clock tries to wake you up while you are in your light sleep stage so that you can begin your day in good spirits.
In order for the app to work, you’ll need to place your Android phone close to you on your mattress. According to my experience, the closer the phone, the better it works. I know that some of you may have legitimate concerns about cell phone radiation levels, which I can fully understand. Smart Alarm Clock does, however, provide you with a function that turns off all wireless connections and signals automatically when the sleep-tracking is turned on.
As previously mentioned, the sensitive motion sensor is a crucial part of this app. Most people’s go through a light sleep stage when they’re dreaming. After such sleeping phases, you usually switch sides or move around in bed. Smart Alarm Clock tries to record this behavior in order to wake you up while you’re still in a light sleep stage.
The app’s most important functions:
Alarm Time Range
- You can adjust an alarm time range window around your actual wake up time in which the alarm is active. That way you’ll only get woken up during a light sleep phase within a give time range. The recommended setting is 30 minutes since a person switches from deep to light sleep very frequently in the morning hours. In the best case scenario, the alarm will wake you up a minute before your actual alarm. If worst comes to worse, you may be woken up half an hour earlier.
Motion Tracking & History
- Smart Alarm Clock displays your movement and sleep cycles very nicely. The sleep data recorded by the app is really interesting to look at. Just select History via the menu button to check it out. Here you can see clearly what movements were recorded at what time by your phone. This way you can an overview of all your sleeping stages.
- Being able to set your own alarm ringtone has become a given for any alarm app on the market. Smart Alarm Clock can do even more than that. The app let’s you not only set your ringtone, but also adjust the alarm display wallpaper, alarm text and the vibrations modes (light, medium, insistent, increasing or none). Waking up to your favorite song, picture and text makes things much more pleasant.
It should also be mentioned that you have the option of turning off all ringtones once the alarm tracking begins. That way no text messages, emails or calls will disturb your sleep. Turning off all wireless connections is also definitely very useful as a feature. Selecting this function just switches your phone to airplane mode. You can also give the app feedback every morning on your waking up experience.
In the Settings, you can activate voice notes. By shaking the phone, you can record ideas or dreams at night during your sleep monitoring. All these notes are recorded in 3gpp-format. So far I haven’t been able to find the right codec to play this type of file. The developers should have used a more traditional audio format.
One of Smart Alarm Clock’s biggest drawbacks is the lack of a snooze function. This is only available in the paid extended version. It would have also been nice to see alarm profiles as available with other alarm clocks. Both of these features don’t spoil the overall positive impression I got from this app.
Unfortunately, there is a bug involving the HTC Hero and HTC Eris that is really annoying. The bug prevents your phone from tracking when the display is turned off. The only way to get around this bug is to keep the display on at all times.
I would recommend keeping your phone charging at night. The sleep monitoring takes up a lot of battery power and your run the risk of having your phone die before your wake up time.
Screen & Controls
Smart Alarm Clock’s graphics could be made to look a bit nicer. It’s functional, but uninteresting.
I thought that too many of the functions were linked to the menu button instead of using the ample screen space.
The controls are great. All the settings and preferences are easy to adjust and configure.
I’ve been using Smart Alarm Clock for over a week now and I am really impressed at how easy waking up has become for me. Despite my initial skepticism, I’ve become a fan of this app and its functions. All the minor setbacks didn’t impact my overall approval of this app.
Speed & Stability
Smart Alarm Clock performed very well during my test. No problems experienced.
Physical alarm clocks with the same features usually cost around $100. That's why it's surprising to see the app-version of such an alarm clock available on the market for free. You can support the developer of Smart Alarm Clock by purchasing the extended version.
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