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Review: Amazon's free Android app of the day - Gentle Alarm

Do you have trouble getting up in the morning? Is your alarm clock too loud or too abrupt? Do you sit there dazed and confused for a few minutes while you try to figure out what's going on, what time it is and why you have to get up? If you said yes to any of these, then chances are today's free premium app from the Amazon Android app store probably has something for you - Gentle Alarm.

You may be wondering why you actually need an alarm clock app, after all chances are that your Android phone already comes with an alarm. An alarm that goes off when you set it to, that can be set to repeat however you like and so on. What more does an alarm really need to do?

Obviously, the creator of Gentle Alarm thought differently and came up with a whole bunch of things they wanted their alarm clock to do. And so have many others, there are quite a number of alarm clock apps on the android market, so what makes Gentle Alarm worthy of your attention, let alone the $2.80 it normally costs?

Gentle Alarm's main claim-to-fame here is its ability to gently wake you up by paying attention to your sleep pattern. The theory is simple, if you're in a deep sleep when your alarm goes off, it can be disorientating and fairly unpleasant, ideally your alarm should go off when you're in a lighter sleep for a more relaxing waking cycle. Gentle Alarm achieves this by actually having two separate alarms. The first alarm is a subtle, quiet alarm that goes off 30 minutes before you're due to get up. Theoretically, this wont wake you up, but it will bring you to a lighter sleep cycle so that when the second alarm goes off, it wont feel so jarring and you'll wake up nice and refreshed.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to actually test this feature in time for the review - after all, it's only free for today and I have no intention of going back to bed any time soon, but even if this feature doesn't work or causes you to lose 30 minutes of precious sleep, there's still plenty of reason to want to grab this app - customizability.

You see, Gentle Alarm comes with a plethora of settings and features. Aside from the usual scheduling of alarms, setting repeating alarms and so on, you can decide if you want to add a "Safe alarm", which will ensure the volume is set to max before going off, enable a gesture-based puzzle game that you have to solve in order to turn the alarm off, set a playlist of music so you wake up to a different song every time and various other tweaks and features.

Overall, I was pretty impressed by Gentle Alarm. Although I'm not sure I would be willing to part with the $2.80 asking price, I currently use the free version of Alarm Clock Plus which boasts many of the same features as Gentle Alarm and I'm quite happy with it, but it does come with ads. The ads aren't enough to bother me and the only reason I doubt I'll fully switch to Gentle Alarm is because I rarely have trouble waking in the morning, yet if I had installed Gentle Alarm first, the shoe would be on the other foot - they're both fantastic apps and do what they set out to do.

If you need a full-featured Alarm clock app, Gentle Alarm certainly fits the bill and stands out well amongst the apps currently on the market, so if this sounds like the "dream" app for you, grab it while you can - free for today only.

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