Being awoken by your alarm at some ungodly hour in the morning is never a pleasant experience, but doubleTwist’s latest app aims to fix that. With a beautiful UI, all new functionality and an amazing UI, can it change people’s attitude towards alarms?
doubleTwist is most definitely not a newcomer to the Android app scene, with their media playback app doubleTwist Player still resting comfortably in the Top Android Apps chart. (It’s also old enough to have been reviewed twice here at Android.AppStorm.) But their latest app fills a gap that most people didn’t even know existed: the need for a beautiful alarm clock.
Most of doubleTwist’s apps are known for two things: a beautiful UI, and a vast feature set. Their latest app is no different. Before, alarms in the Play Store often had a bland interface and a sparse feature set to say the least, but doubleTwist is different. To put it simply, doubleTwist Alarm’s feature set is immense – and that’s compared to most apps in general, not just alarm clocks.
Unsurprisingly, the first thing that I’m going to review is the actual setting of the alarm and how it goes off. The app comes with two alarm presets: 8AM for weekdays and 10AM for weekends. Sadly, as much as I would like to stick with these preset times I must adjust them so that I can arrive at school on time.
Editing an alarm is simple, as after one tap on the alarm you wish to edit you are presented with a plethora of options. From this settings page you can change all aspects of the alarm, from the time to whether or not it is recurring.
It’s on this settings page that one of the app’s niftier features makes an appearance. The last option on the page allows you to ‘see suggested bed times’. Tapping on this will reveal some times that doubleTwist recommends for you, to help maximize your sleep. These times are backed up with an explanation at the top of screen stating that the average human time of falling asleep is 14 minutes. Not only is this feature cool, it’s also really great for organisation freaks (such as myself) who like to pinpoint their bedtime exactly.
Adding your own alarm to the app introduces us to doubleTwist Alarm’s second nifty feature. When you tap ‘Add Alarm’ you are presented with two options: a ‘Time’ alarm (the standard alarm) and a ‘Sleep Cycle’ alarm. The ‘Sleep Cycle’ alarm differs from the standard alarm setting as it claims to wake you up ‘feeling more refreshed’. When you tap ‘Sleep Cycle’ you are presented with another two options: to manually set a time to wake you up around, or to pick an ideal waking time assuming you sleep now. (The second option is especially convenient if you find yourself going to bed at different times every night.) It’s currently 19:40 at the time of writing this and the app suggests that I wake at 02:17. This gives me a more than satisfactory seven hour sleep.
When you set up the alarm and return back to the main screen you are presented with your new alarm along with a progress bar on the bottom of the screen telling you about how long it is until your alarm will begin ringing. Tapping this progress bar brings up a full screen clock that can only be described as stunning.
A standard feature of modern alarm clock apps is custom alarm tones, but to use these in doubleTwist Alarm you will need their Player as well. This is no problem for me as I still think that it’s the best music player currently available for Android, but those of you who are loyal to apps such as PowerAmp or UberMusic may find this limitation very inconvenient.
If you prefer a more standard alarm tone, doubleTwist Alarm still has you covered. It comes with around a dozen unique ‘jingles’ that can all be used as your alarm tones. I’m a big fan of these jingles as most of them are very positive, and I think that if I set any actual song I initially enjoyed as my alarm my hatred for it would grow at an alarming rate.
The User Interface
One of my favourite things about doubleTwist’s apps is their user interfaces. Often the attention to detail is handled with such military precision that you begin to see other apps, which you previously thought possessed a great UI, as suddenly looking rather ugly.
Everything from the background texture of the app to flicking the switch that activates the alarm is perfect. Fluid animations and many little touches combine to put this app’s UI in a class of its own. Some may complain that it should obey the Holo guidelines, but why obey the guidelines when you can create something as brilliant as this?
The user interface of the main screen is absolutely amazing. The dark, textured background makes reading the alarm times easy, and the positioning of the buttons that provide functions such as ‘Settings’ and ‘Add Alarm’ are all placed in positions that are easy to use and remember.
One of my favourite features of the app – and the area where the attention to detail really shines through – is the clock view. We previously took a look at it above and although it’s very functional, it’s the actual UI that particularly amazes me. There are two types of clocks you can use: the standard analog clock or the more modern flip clock. Both of these clocks showcase magnificent attention to detail and are two interfaces that I would gladly show to any design enthusiast.
Everything from setting the alarm time to adding a label to it is presented in fabulous details, and dare I say it makes setting an alarm fun.
Overall, doubleTwist Alarm definitely stands out from the crowded selection of alarm apps by providing the end user with both a great interface and a vast feature set. Over time you can definitely expect it to improve in numerous ways, as doubleTwist have proven with their amazing updates to their previous apps.