Leeo Smart Alert Hardware Review

Leeo Smart Alert Hardware Review

Aug 31, 2016

I’m not particularly shy when it comes to proclaiming my mobile accessory philosophy: I want the piece to be useful, affordable, and if it can do more than one thing — keyword: well — I’m down for a spin.

Leeo Smart Alert, on paper, fits the bill, and then some — if one so chooses.

But what is this thing at first glance? Well, the review package the manufacturer sent to us reveals a bit. In the blue-centric retail box, one gets the all-in one unit and documentation. The unit looks a bit like a tapered cylindrical puck, with metal plugin prongs, the all-white coloring gives it a somewhat serious look, and the exterior is framed in hard plastic. It is just about palmable, coming in at 3.5 x 3.5 x 2 inches and 4.5 ounces.

On the outside, a slightly clearer plastic band is apparent, as well as a telltale toggle button up top.

When the unit is intuitively plugged in, one gets to see its initial functionality via the aforementioned clearer strip: it ostensibly works as a plugin nightlight. It gives off a fairly bright flow, even and constant. Its size makes it quite portable (with an outlet available, of course), and the construction makes it feel durable.

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Okay. Not bad.

Secondarily, this piece also looks to serve as an extended sentry of sorts, in that it allows users to keep tabs on existing in-house alarms, like fire.

To make use of this, one needs to download the companion Leeo app via the Play Store, and then connect it to a plugged unit via Wi-Fi. After any and all updates have occurred, the solution is ready to use.

It’s easy to test; we simply initiated a fire alarm test beep, and the Leeo dutifully shot up some notifications. In theory, this is a great idea for one folks are in town, or, say, for times one is local and doesn’t hear or see an alarm trigger.

All in all, it’s a simple device that does its job; It’s an extra safety blanket for folks who want such.

Good Morning Alarm Clock Sheds “iOS Exclusive” Description and Arrives on Android

Good Morning Alarm Clock Sheds “iOS Exclusive” Description and Arrives on Android

Jun 24, 2016

Apalon Apps’ Good Morning Alarm Clock is now available to Android users; the app, which formerly was available only to folks that use iOS devices, dropped on Google Play this week.

Per Google Play:

Good Morning brings a good day!
This alarm clock finds the optimal time to wake you up, provides you with night stats, and notifies if you have to change your sleeping habits.

With alarm clock Good Morning you’ll know the secret of waking up refreshed and energized. Start your day in a good mood with this intelligent and caring clock next to your pillow!

FEATURES:

* Intelligent wake-up: place your Android closer to you to allow the alarm clock monitor signals from your body and wake you up softly when you are in the lightest phase
* Detailed analysis: get the statistics on easy-to-read graphs to track hours slept, to analyze the quality of your sleep
* Alarm tunes: set gentle and natural sound or choose your favorite music to start your day off energized and inspired as never before
* Relaxing sounds or white noise: create your own playlist with your favorite songs to lull your mind and body
* Sleep goal: get the reminders with daily and weekly data to encourage you towards healthy lifestyle
* Nightstand mode: use your device as a simple bedside clock if you don’t need to gather any night statistics
* Weather conditions: plan your day ahead easily with the current weather conditions for your location.

The app is free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play; more details as to how the application works can be found there as well.

Red Bull Launches Alert App to Folks “Beat the Snooze”

Red Bull Launches Alert App to Folks “Beat the Snooze”

Jul 14, 2015

Red Bull is helping folks start the day with a greater disregard of the snooze functionality on their alarms with the help of the new app. Dubbed the Red Bull Alert, it looks to motivate users to get out of bed faster with the use of themes, leaderboards and feedback.

Per the press release:

Key Features:

· Instant Feedback: Innovative Snooze and Dismiss interaction, instant feedback on the lock screen, motivational background images

· Detailed Stats: Set goals to motivate yourself, track your progress, detailed history data

· Alarm Themes: Choose from nine different sports themes (Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Surfing, Aerial Sports, FMX, Rally, Formula 1, BMX, and Mountain Biking) with exclusive wake-up sounds and amazing imagery

· Social Leaderboards: Compete with your friends, find out who wakes up first and fastest, and share through Facebook, Twitter and Google+

· Localized in 6 languages: German, English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish and Russian

For efficacy, the new app is available for free on Google Play for Android and Android Wear devices.

Skylink Alarm System Hardware Review

Skylink Alarm System Hardware Review

Feb 25, 2015

In another life, I was involved in safety, and I remember how involved securing people and places could be. The physical system themselves could be confusing mazes of people and incompatible hardware. It was madness, and the people who were most in the dark tended to be the consumers themselves.

Thankfully, home automation in general (and, specifically in this case, Skylink Alarm System) gives the power back to the Everyday Person.

The Starter Kit review unit Skylink sent us was interestingly small, but packed quite a lot: a singular Internet Hub, one Keychain Remote, a Motion Sensor, power adapter, ethernet cable and a small cache of screws and such for optional mounting. Not included, but needed to set up are a total of seven (7) AAA and AA batteries. The idea is that the Hub acts as the brains, and the other pieces connect together to create a cloud-supported, user controlled safety and security network.

Setup is intuitive enough; after batteries are installed, the powered Hub gets connected to a modem. Then, with the help of the SkylinkNet Android application (which requires prior account creation), one can complete the setup of the Hub, and the overall system settings. Next, the sensors and included keychain can be paired and programmed with notification settings, chimes, names and more.
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Next, one gets to place the sensors where they need to me. yes, I probably enjoyed this way more than I should have. The included double-sided tape is especially useful here, and I was more or less able to test out the best location for the sensors continually.

I was impressed as to how similar it is to a conventional alarm system. Things like arming, disarming, delayed exit and such are all supported via the app and keychain. The Hub provides audio sound to accompany activity based on the status of the system. As an added benefit, the app can also be used to control Skylink home automation modules.

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I absolutely adore the fact that the setup is infinitely expandable/customizable; one can literally build to suit with extra pieces such as sensors, outdoor alarms, vibration sensors, silent alarms, and more. A system based on power and internet connectivity does have at least two potential flaws, and I like that the Hub incorporates battery backup to somewhat ameliorate that issue, along with the option of phone backup functionality. The app is fairly expansive (up to 100 sensors and controllers), and works well as a software bridge, while simultaneously providing backup control. I do think more documentation and more consistent app navigation is needed.

Put together, it is a much better DIY solution than I envisaged. No contracts here, but the flip here is that at the basic level, it’s all on the user. Still, how can one not be a fan of consumer control, especially with regards to home automation?

Connected Home Service SkylinkNet Introduces New Android App

Connected Home Service SkylinkNet Introduces New Android App

Jan 30, 2015

SkylinkNet is a home alert and alarm system; it has just become that much more useful to Android user with it’s newly unveiled Android application.

The new app allows users to control the whole system from their Android-based smartphones.

Per the app page:

SkylinkNet allows you to monitor your home with your smartphone. With the built-in alarm features, you can remotely arm, disarm, and monitor various activities with this app.
Create a smarthome by adding home control modules to control lights, electrical appliances and other household devices.
The Internet Hub sends you push notification when sensor is activated, allowing you to monitor your home remotely. With the surveillance camera, you can see live action of the area you want to monitor.
•Wireless Alarm System – Remote Arming / Disarming, Arm Home, Arm Away, Instant Alarm, Sensor Bypass, Remote
•Receive Push Notifications anytime a new activity takes place
•Customized alarm settings such as alarm duration, entry / exit delay duration etc.
•Home Automation with all Skylink Modules, including Wall Switch, Wall Dimmer, Plug-in dimmer, Outdoor Module etc.
•Add up to 100 sensors and controllers (lighting or appliances controllers)
•Receives low battery alert on all devices thru push notification
•Event log stores all recent 100 activities
•Add up to 10 cameras for video monitoring
•Add outdoor solar siren for additional security, which is completely wireless
•Connect to external phone dialer (Telephone Line or Cellular) as a backup solution when Internet fails
•No monthly fees and no contract
You must have the Skylink Internet Hub and other necessary hardware to achieve these features.

Make sure to be on the lookout for our upcoming review of the Skylink Alarm System Starter Kit; the app is available for free on the Play Store.

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[Source: Skylink Press release and Google Play page]

KickStarter Spotlight: Hale Dreamer

KickStarter Spotlight: Hale Dreamer

Oct 2, 2013

Proper alarm clocks are almost unheard of anymore in this modern age of smartphones. Why invest money into something that is rarely looked at and is fundamentally inferior to a device that already sits atop the bedside table at night. Alarm clock docs are everywhere these days and they all are relatively the same; the smartphone sits in the middle and directs it’s sound out to the speakers and time is shown on a large LED clock. But with the abundance of quality alarm clock apps that turn any smartphone into a fully functional alarm clock face and device diversification there is a need for something more or maybe less. Introducing the Hale Dreamer, a clever smartphone dock that solves a lot of the problems of regular clocks and, using a gorgeous looking companion “Dreamer” app, becomes the smartphone/alarm clock lovechild we have been dreaming of.

A project by Chicago-native Joe Born, the Hale Dreamer looks essentially like a large speaker with a giant snooze button. Fortunately, there is much more to this project, and much of that stems off the app that goes with the device. The claim is that the Hale Dreamer actually improves nightly sleep because of it’s ability to filter notifications and texts and discern which are actually important enough to go through and wake up the user. Whenever someone calls during the night they receive a text message that informs them to reply ‘E’ if this situation is an emergency, and if they do their next call will ring and awaken the user.

This feature is a part of the very attractive “Dreamer” app which is easily the biggest draw here aside from the actual dock itself. The multiple display settings all look polished, and the app does everything including lulling the user to sleep via pre-programmed sounds and providing a gradual awakening through fade-in alarms. This is all displayed on the dock that sits atop the device and has two hefty, yet flexible cables that attach to the headphone jack and charging port. This ensures device compatibility for nearly all Android phones without messy adapters or inserts.

So, weather it is the well crafted app, the SmartSilence technology, or the physical snooze button and dock the Hale Dreamer is a KickStarter project that is worth checking out. Maybe someday this little device and its powerful speaker will jolt me out of a satisfying night’s sleep.

Warmly Review

Warmly Review

Jun 21, 2013

Warmly is an atypical productivity offering from The Chaos Collective that seemingly wants to make the descriptive term “alarm” a misnomer by changing the way we do alarms and wake patterns in the first place.

The opening user interface is a clear cut celebration of simplicity, and hints at the design elements that govern the entire app.

It gives a scroll-through window for setting the time (with an AM/PM toggle), and nine (9) big square buttons. After a scheduling check-off and an off and ok button, THAT’S IT. Laid against the soothing yellow backdrop, the relatively minimalist viewers are hard not to like.

The nine sound tabs run the gamut. The visual representations cover familair sounds like trains, planes, sporty warmly1sounds, cooking, brewing coffee and even a sound selection for cat and dog lovers. After selecting the time, the sound and the weekly recurrence, the app goes to a quiet, dark screen with time prominent. Such a display befits its role as a specialty background alarm.

Warmly is an alarm app that wants to wake you up gradually, and break the paradigm of blaring sirens that invoke panic and dismay. Instead, Warmly uses one of the selected, hopefully familiar noises in an increasing manner that works to help a user build into wakefulness naturally. Specifically, it plays ambient sound worked in with sounds reflecting the weather. As hinted it, it starts off low and then works up higher and higher over several minutes.

Warmly adds in a few more features that increase its utility; it supports the option to use 24 hour time, which appeals to the overly picky like me. It also has an auto shut-off feature, and the requisite snooze after 9 minutes. I also found it possible to change the unit of measure for temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Much as I like this app, I’d love to see it expand a bit. Maybe the ability to work with the built-in calendar? Or how about the ability to pull in one’s own sound files? Sky is the limit.

I like simple, and I like Warmly a lot. It helps redefine a ubiquitous feature of smartphones, and does that well. Can’t wait to see what else Chaos has up its collective sleeve.

Alarm Clock by doubleTwist App Review

Alarm Clock by doubleTwist App Review

Apr 6, 2012

Being a college student, getting a good nights sleep is very important yet very rarely accomplished. Due to all the late nights toiling away at one’s studies, having good alarm is essential, and a little flair wouldn’t hurt. Enter: doubleTwist. Now I’ve reviewed apps by doubleTwist before, notably their flagship music player, but an alarm clock app took me by surprise. After looking through the app for a while, however, it started to make sense. One of doubleTwist’s strongest assists is its striking and elegant visual style and their music management system. This beautiful app bears doubleTwist’s signature dark styling, and when selecting a playlist or song to use as an alarm the doubleTwist Player has to be installed. Some may question the decision to make such a large aspect of the app proprietary, but this move represents a bold step foreword for doubleTwist. By establishing a suite of apps that all feed off of the same ecosystem, they are attempting to form what Apple and Sony have been doing with home entertainment for decades.

The app itself is, as previously stated, gorgeous. The landscape analog and digital clocks are sublimely detailed, especially the analog one which includes an array of gears behind the elegantly ornate centerpiece. For phones with a kickstand like my EVO 4G this app would work beautifully as a bedside clock because of the included night modes of each clock which dim the screen brightness and change the colors from whites and oranges to calming blues and blacks. The one problem with this is that there is no in-app option to turn off the screen timeout so this must be done remotely. I did not find this to be much of a problem seeing as it is an option on a switch widget on my home screen, but an included option would have been nice.

As an alarm clock this app works just as well if not better then the stock Android clock application. Built in is a sleep cycle calculator which for those who don’t know, suggests time to either fall asleep or wake up based on the fact that the best time to wake up is between sleep cycles. Websites like sleepyti.me do this but having this feature baked into an app is a giant plus because it does work and I utilize it almost every night.

With great integration with their Player and standout visual appeal, DoubleTwist has put together an amazing free app that is worth downloading even for those not privy to the doubleTwist ecosystem.

Gentle Alarm

Gentle Alarm

Sep 22, 2010

Gentle Alarm, the top rated paid alarm app in the Android Market, boasts a ton of features and snazzy graphics. It also claims to be able to wake you during light sleep, which lends to its “gentle” moniker. Obviously, I can’t verify this claim in my review—a peer review study would be more suitable for that. I can say, however, that it’s a fabulous alarm app. And while it is indeed “gentle,” its touted special features don’t really live up to the hype.

Since Gentle Alarm has so many features, I’ll give a rundown (pun intended) of what it has to offer.

Main Screen
When you open up Gentle Alarm, you may mistake it for your home screen (I’ve accidently swiped at it); your wallpaper is prominently displayed with the current time and date and the next active alarm. You can tap the next alarm for a context menu that gives you many related options. Up top is a bar with a power button that turns on and off all the alarms, along with four big menu buttons: “Quick Alarm,” “Alarms,” “Profiles,” and “Night Display.”

Setting Alarms
The bulk of the settings in each alarm resides in the Profile section. In this way, you can keep different settings together for different scenarios. I’ve got a profile of alarms that wake me up and alarms for just alerts. For each profile, you have a range of options for sounds, including ringtones, any music file, auto-playlists by genre or artist, M3u playlists, or just vibrate. You can also set the snooze time, fade in, and duration of alarms. The duration is how long the alarm will play before it snoozes automatically–great for lazy folks like me. You can also set the display brightness and even have a “rising sun” effect that fades the screen in with the alarm. If you’re worried about sleeping through, you can set a “safe alarm” that rings (incredibly loud) after your first alarm if you don’t hit snooze. For a feature lover like me, this plethora is great. But it can be overwhelming—and the relentless tip screens that pop up everywhere don’t help. If you get annoyed with those, just make sure you hit “don’t show again” and they’ll go away.