Wake N Shake for iPhone an effective, evil alarm

smilingevilWake N Shake Alarm Clock for iPhone ($0.99) is the alarm app for people who succumb to the snooze button morning after morning. I am one of you, dedicated snoozers. Those nine extra minutes sound so good in the wee hours 1.

Kiss them goodbye.

Not only does Wake N Shake lack a snooze button, it offers an incredibly insistent alarm that isn’t easily extinguished. You must shake your iPhone to turn it off. I don’t mean a polite church handshake, either. Imagine a solid 30 seconds of shaking…and that’s the medium setting!

There’s more to Wake N Shake than flailing about. Gesture support is really nice and a few thoughtful touches make this app fun to use, including the deep social integration. Here’s my look at Wake N Shake.

Looks

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Wake N Shake is clean and legible. The main screen features an animated, smiling alarm clock and the current time in large, red numbers. If an alarm is set, it appears in between the clock and the current time.

Don’t let that happy-looking clock fool you. He’s a sadistic, malicious thing who derives pleasure from your misery.

Use

Wake N Shake offers nice gesture support. Each of the app’s main functions — sleep timer, alarm(s) creation, wake options and social — are accessed via a gesture.

Gestures

Swipe down to set the sleep timer and choose music. You can set how long the sleep timer will last and select an iTunes playlist for Wake N Shake to run through in the meantime. When the timer gets down to 30 seconds, it slowly fades the music to zero. Once the music stops, the app returns the volume to its previous level.

To create an alarm, swipe left. Creating alarms is super easy. By default, it reads 8:00 AM. To change that, just tap and hold on the “8:00 AM” until it turns white. Then, drag your finger up or down to move hour by hour. To change the minutes, drag your finger left or right. There’s no scroll wheel to fiddle with and you can set the hour, minute and am/pm in one motion without having to lift your finger. It’s very nice.

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To select the day(s) that an alarm will sound, simply tap the letter representing that day (for example, “m” for Monday).

You can create another alarm by tapping anywhere under an exiting alarm. To switch one off, swipe left across it. To delete, swipe right.

Wake options can be found by swiping up. Here’s Wake N Shake’s cold, dark heart. Let’s start with sounds. There are 24 sound to choose from. “Squeaky Toy” and “Evil Laugh” can almost induce a homicidal state. My choice is “Hello, Robot,” which requests pancakes, coffee and French toast in an electronic voice. I imagine it’s that damn cutsey alarm clock talking. Alternatively  you can select a playlist from your Music library. Just no Enya.

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Finally, select your shake intensity. This determines how long you must shake the phone before the alarm will stop. The scale goes from “Teddy Bear” to “Merciless.” I find that the medium setting, “Punch to the Face,” is more than adequate at 30 seconds of shaking.

And you can’t avoid the shaking, either. Pressing the Home button won’t stop it. Heck, even force-quitting the app won’t stop it, as it will keep popping up a notification window until you re-launch and switch it off. Pure. Evil.

There’s a large social aspect to Wake N Shake that I was unfortunately unable to test. You can connect to Facebook and compete with friends who use the app to gain achievements. It could be fun and adds a little competition to your waking routine.

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Tips

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Wake N Shake:

  • The alarm clock character has several amusing animations. Watch him for a while and see if you can catch all of them.
  • When sleeping, put your iPhone face down. Wake N Shake uses the proximity sensor to put the display to sleep.
  • When the alarm isn’t sounding, give Wake N Shake a brief shake to illuminate the iPhone’s rear-facing LED so you can use it as a flashlight. Shake again to turn it off.
  • When an alarm is enabled, tap the current time to see a countdown to when it’s going to sound.

Cons

I have three complaints. First, there’s no support for landscape orientation. Second, your music selection is limited to songs in Music playlists. I have lots of music that’s not in a playlist and therefore inaccessible to Wake N Shake. Finally, the social aspect is really useless unless you know others who have the app. I know that’s meant to boost sales, but I can’t ask friends to buy an app just so I can try out a feature.

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One addition: the “first shake” achievement icon is a baby. It appears on your Facebook wall with no explanation. Probably a bad choice.

Conclusion

If you’re like me — slow to wake in the morning — Wake N Shake is the kick in the pants you need. You will get up after such a vigorous arm workout in the morning, I’m sure of that. One last tip: make sure your iPhone is in a shock-proof case. It’s easy to accidentally fling it across the room in the morning, as groggy + cranky = compromised gross motor skills.

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