Apr 20th, 2013

Uniquely Android is a series we started that shines the spotlight on those apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of the platform and provide an experience that you wouldn’t find in most other phones. Previously, we have featured Plug In LauncherAirDroidShushLlamaSwiftkey 3SwipePadWidgetsoid2.xUnified RemoteAirCalc and WiFi Keyboard.

What’s so unique about Puzzle Alarm Clock?

Right at the start, I have to request you to not judge Puzzle Alarm Clock by its name. It isn’t yet another of those “solve a math problem to switch off alarm apps”. It has a butt-load of features that I’ll get to below, but there’s one key element that makes it stand out for me: NFC.

I first began using the app at the start of the year when I was struggling to get rid of my nocturnal nature. I hate getting up early in the morning, sometimes snoozing my alarm for several hours before finally getting out of bed. The key for me, however, is that once I’m up and out of my room, I’m quite fresh and won’t fall back asleep even if I try to.

I had a bunch of NFC tags lying around, and I thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was an alarm app that only switched off the alarm by tapping with an NFC tag placed far away from my bed?” For a few minutes I thought I had just stumbled across a million dollar app idea. Unfortunately, as with all my other million dollar ideas, I found that someone had already built it.

How does it work?

While the app does try to look nice and simple like the built-in alarm apps, the moment you begin to add your first alarm it becomes clear that it isn’t. The options thrown at you include:

  1. The time
  2. A name for the alarm, days to repeat (you can choose any combination of the 7 days, there’s no limitation to daily, weekdays, or weekends)
  3. Alarm mode (if you purchase the pro version, you can change this to calm and or bomb)
  4. Turn off mode (touch, various puzzles, shake, NFC and QR code) with several additional options including whether you want to limit snoozes, annoying sounds while solving the puzzle, etc.
  5. Check if I’m awake, where a notification appears after five minutes of switching off the app, and if it isn’t dismissed in the next 5 minutes, the app assumes you are asleep again and sounds the alarm once more.
  6. FB motivation, where it posts to your Facebook timeline when you snooze an alarm, or don’t wake up on time such as in the case above.
  7. App after alarm, where you can set the app to launch once you’ve switched off the alarm. I currently set Any.DO so that I can quickly see the stuff I have lined up for the day, which would typically get me sufficiently worried about deadlines to wake me up.

Honestly, having listed everything, the app seems INSANE. And on top of all this, they have a “profile” feature which helps you track how long you sleep for. The profile feature also offers to inform you when you should go to bed based on the alarms you have set, which I find extremely useful because of my tendency to sit in front of my computer till dawn.

What does the pro version add?

Besides the option for a calm or a bomb alarm mode, it also adds difficulty levels to your puzzles, removes ads and a widget.

Any cons?

The app isn’t for everyone, but I’m quite sure that if you’re reading Uniquely Android posts, you probably love the additional options. The only thing I wish this app had was some way to prevent me from reaching the device’s settings and uninstalling it when I was fed up of it ringing and was too lazy to go tap my phone against the NFC tag on my refrigerator’s door. But if I’m going to request that, I might as well as request them to add the ability to pour water on me when it’s time to get up.


You can download Puzzle Alarm clock here. Do let us know what you think of it in the comments, and also suggest some apps that you believe fit the Uniquely Android theme.

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