While the Mobot App Review focus is generally on games, I’ve also been known to check out the odd utility type thing in my time. iHandy Torch springs to mind, it being one of our first ever reviews.
In a similar vein, today I’m looking at Rise Alarm Clock, and – somewhat surprisingly – there’s actually a whole lot of stuff to discuss. Ready? Wakey-wakey! Or something.
On the face of it, the default iOS Clock app probably seems quite basic (hence the plethora of alternatives on the App Store), but having spent the weekend playing around with Rise Alarm Clock, I have a newfound appreciation for the former.
Rise Alarm Clock initially appears quite impressive, with lots of smooth swipe-based action; the way the different screens slide in and out is undeniably slick, and it looks great in a stylish, minimalistic way.
Firstly, you set the alarm time by sliding your finger up and down the screen, with the background changing colour accordingly, from pink sunrise to orange sunset. Nice.
Here, the clock changes in 15-minute increments, though it can be fine-tuned by subsequently tapping above or below (I’ll get back this in a mo).
There’s plenty of customisation on offer in Rise Alarm Clock, with things like Progressive Alarm (gets progressively louder), snooze, repeat alarm and vibrate.
Meanwhile, the Sleep Tunes feature invites you to create a playlist that can be timed to go off (in 5-minute increments).
Oh, it’s worth noting too that the actual alarm tones are generally quite pleasant, and you can of course wake to your own music if you so desire.
When the alarm goes off, you can shake your phone to snooze it (if you’ve allowed the snooze feature), or slide to dismiss. Simple.
However! Here’s where I get down to Rise Alarm Clock criticisms, and I’ve noted a fair few.
For starters, the aforementioned situation with the alarm going off only applies if you didn’t lock your phone before you went to sleep. If you did lock your phone, Rise Alarm Clock is left battling the iPhone lock screen.
From there, you have the option to snooze (where Slide to Unlock usually appears), but there’s no option to dismiss the alarm outright – certainly none that I can see.
So immediately Rise Alarm Clock is asking me to remove the auto-unlock feature to get the most from it, something I’m not too happy about. Admittedly, that mightn't bother everyone, but I was immediately turned off.
Further issues creep up with continued use, such as the alarm coming back on as soon as you dismiss it. That must be because – say you’ve quickly dismissed a 10am alarm – the app simply thinks: ‘Hey, it’s 10am!’ and goes off again.
Other little things irk too, such as the inability to set more than one alarm, or properly fine-tune your alarm time; Rise Alarm Clock insists you choose in five-minute increments.
Speaking of fine-tuning, there’s an issue where alarms set for shortly after midnight appear at the top of the screen - immediately below the shortcut to the clock screen. Guess what happens if you try to change an alarm from, say, 0:30 to 0:25. Yep, you’re into the clock screen.
And a final pair of gripes: you have to turn the alarm off to access the settings, while silent mode can only be overridden if Rise Alarm Clock is left running in the foreground i.e. not closed by tapping Home.
Sorry, Rise Alarm Clock. I think I’ll be sticking with plain old Alarm.
- Looks good
- Sleep Tunes
- Nice alarm tones
- Doesn’t play well with the iPhone lock screen
- Can only set one alarm, and in five-minute increments
- Ideally wants to sit open all night
Summary: Rise Alarm Clock is a stylish alternative to the plain old iPhone Alarm, but for everything it does well, it seems to do a number of things poorly.
Developer: Kellen Styler
Price: currently free (usually £1.49) @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.