Wake up on time with Alarm and Digital Clock

IMG_2443Alarm and Digital Clock is a new iOS app from independent developer P Venkateswara Rao. It’s available now as a free ad-supported download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases. It’s currently highlighted in the New section of the App Store’s Utilities category.

Alarm and Digital Clock is, as its name implies, a simple digital clock app for iOS. Besides the basic clock functionality, it also uses location services to determine the weather in the user’s current city, displays the current battery charge as a percentage (though this does not always seem to quite match the percentage reported by iOS itself on the status bar) and allows the user to set multiple alarms.

The app is fully customizable. It supports both portrait and landscape orientations, and the user may adjust the app’s brightness by sliding their finger left and right on the screen. This does not change the device’s screen brightness, however; only the brightness of the clock’s display changes. The constantly-present banner ad and the standard iOS status bar do not adjust their brightness alongside the rest of the display.

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By tapping an “information” icon, the user can delve into the more detailed settings available. The clock may be customized with a color of the user’s choosing from a complete spectrum, and whether or not the date, day of the week and seconds are shown may be toggled. The user may also elect to turn off the battery meter, the name of the city they are in and whether or not the alarm facility is displayed on screen. The iOS status bar may also be turned off if desired.

The alarm function allows users to set multiple alarms either as one-offs or recurring alarms. Snooze time may be customized between one and 30 minutes, and a different sound may be set for each alarm if desired. There are several alarm sounds included with the app, or the user may use any song from their music library. This supports iTunes Match if the user is in a location where they are able to stream music that is not on their device, but the playlist browser does not appear to recognize folders in iTunes, meaning that some playlists simply do not show up unless the user searches for them. The alarm setup screen occasionally has some difficulty choosing between a.m. and p.m. when setting a time, with the picker control “snapping” back to the wrong setting or occasionally flipping around to an empty option. It also does not appear to be possible to edit alarms once they have been set — tapping the “edit” button simply allows the user to delete them, and tapping the alarm itself more often than not appears to cause the app to crash completely.

Alarm and Digital Clock is a simple but nice-looking clock app that has the potential to be a solid app for those who like to use their device as an alarm clock. Unfortunately, too many flaws and issues hold it back from being truly worthy of recommendation at this time. There’s no means of dismissing the rather obtrusive banner ad, for example, and when rotating the device from portrait to landscape and vice-versa the ad often positions itself in the incorrect part of the screen, blotting out information. A simple $0.99 in-app purchase to remove ads would probably go down well with those who like the app aside from this issue. More seriously, the crashing issues need to be fixed, and the ability to edit alarms needs to be added if it is not already present — it was difficult to tell during testing, as tapping on an alarm caused a crash every time without fail.

If these issues are fixed, Alarm and Digital Clock will be a solid, if rather unremarkable app that performs the function it says it will. While these problems are still present, however, it’s impossible to recommend it in favor of other, better offerings on the App Store.