If you have your computer set up near where you sleep, and you have it hooked up to a nice sound system, you might prefer to use it as your alarm clock instead of using your cellphone or a conventional clock.
We’ve presented many alarm clock apps to you before, but today we’re here to tell you about a very pretty and affordable one that we thought you might be interested in. It’s called Wake Up Time, let’s get to it!
Alarm clock apps seem to be all over the place. There are plenty of options, some way too expensive (but with plenty of features), and others that go for free but don’t offer much. Wake Up Time differentiates itself from the competition because it’s a very affordable alternative and it doesn’t leave behind important features, but let’s see just how much it offers.
At the time of writing this review, Wake Up Time is for a limited time free offer.
The main thing that this app has going for it is that it looks great, and it is very easy to get familiar with. Its main window looks like an actual, wood-framed alarm clock with its classic LCD display. The simulated LCD will display the current time as well as the day of the week.
Below it you can find a few more buttons and another display with the time for the next programmed alarm. The wood frame on the right is collapsable, clicking on it will bring up the settings panel, which we’ll get to next.
Setting Up Alarms
You can setup new alarms by going to the “drawer” on your right. In there you’ll find a few options, like the desired time for the alarm that you are setting up, the volume at which it will go off to, the sound you’d like to be played, a preview for the alarm, and a “Fade” option that will make sure the alarm turns on gradually.
While this app still doesn’t let you select sounds from your library, the developer has said that this feature is coming soon. Right now you can only select from 3 pre-selected sounds: a classic digital beep tone, a forrest clip, and a “cosmic” tone. Honestly, aside from the default one, the other ones kind of suck.
When the Alarm Goes Off
Once an alarm goes off, the sound that you selected will be played and some instructions will appear on the secondary display. Depending on your settings, the volume of your computer will raise or lower just for the alarm, and if you click anywhere inside the app, the snooze feature will activate. If you’d like to stop the alarm, you have to click the cross below the display after you have set off the snooze mode.
You have to be careful not to close your lid (if you have a laptop), otherwise the alarms won’t go off. The app by default has its own “Sleep” button, which works as sort of a “rest” mode for your computer. It won’t put it to sleep per se, but it will turn off the screen until the alarm turns on. If you’d like to use alarms while keeping your Mac in a real “Sleep” state, you’re going to have to install the Helper.
Helper and Other Features
Keeping your Mac active all night long is not ideal, especially if you care about the power consumption in your house. That’s what the Helper is for, it’s kind of an extra add-on for the app that allows it to make your computer go to sleep and then wake it up when an alarm goes off. The Helper has a few shortcomings, though. It still won’t be able to wake up your Mac if the lid is closed, or if you have a password set up.
Under the settings for the app you will also find a few more goodies, like the ability to change the snooze time, keep the app on top of everything else, change the LCD from a 12-hour display to a 24-hour one, and make the app adjust the system volume and then restore it after an alarm goes off.
Shortcomings and the Competition
Alarm apps are about as common as they come. Wake Up Time stands out from the crowd because of its price and its beautiful interface, although it is missing some key features like the ability to have more than one alarm active, to play sounds from your iTunes library, and perhaps even a sleep timer. All of these are said to be coming in a future update, but for now they are what makes the competition stand out.
A quick search for “alarm” on the Mac App Store will show you lots of apps that do the same thing. We’ve also done plenty of roundups on the category before. Few of those apps, however, are as affordable and yet functional as Wake Up Time is. Apps like Alarm Clock Pro, Alarms and Aurora might fill in the gaps where Wake Up Time falls short, but at $20, €12 and $15 respectively, you have to wonder if those few features are worth it.
Using your computer as an alarm requires much more than just an app, it needs to be setup specifically to be more comfortable than using your phone or any desk clock as an alarm. I can see why some might prefer using their computer as an alarm clock, if they have it close to where they sleep and they want to wake up to their iTunes library, or perhaps they don’t find the alarm volume of their phone to be enough to wake them up (I can relate to that).
Wake Up Time might not be able to do everything that some competitors can, but for its price, it really is the best value I have seen for any app under this category. What do you think? Do you use any alarm apps in your computer, and which ones?