From kitchen timers built into your oven to sand timers beside your sink, timers are one of those little useful gadgets that get thrown into everything and then promptly forgotten. Yes, we need to make sure we know when the cake’s done baking, but truthfully, you’re not very likely to hear the kitchen timer once you’ve wandered off to another room anyhow. There are plenty of things we really do need to time, but often, traditional timers are too much trouble to keep up with.
Your iPhone can be a great solution to this problem. The built-in clock app includes an alarm, stopwatch, and basic timer, and you’re much more likely to hear the timer go off since its always right there in your pocket. Still, the included timer could be improved, so there are many alternate timer apps in the App Store now. Today we’re going to look at the Best Timer app, which may not really be the absolute best timer but is still a very nice alternative to the built-in clock timer.
Analog Timers, Digitalized
If you’re a fan of photo-realistic interfaces, you’ll like Best Timer’s look and feel. This app includes four standard timers, each built to mimic the way they traditionally look, including a digital sand timer, kitchen timer, countdown timer, and stopwatch. The kitchen and countdown timers look much like the one that may be on the back of your oven or microwave and the stopwatch looks just like a standard gym stopwatch. Just select the timer you want to get started. Let’s look at what each timer offers.
The sand timer offers the most whimsical interface of the timers in this app. Tap the time to set it to the length you want, and the amount of digital sand automatically adjusts. Our 12 minute timer on the left, the longest sand timer you can set, was totally full of sand, while the two minute timer on the right only had a small amount of sand. Either way, the sand drops from top to bottom as the time goes by and shuffles down to fill up the bottom as it would in a real sand timer. Each of the timers can be displayed in portrait or landscape mode. This timer works best if you set your iPhone down on a stand to have a visual indicator of how much time is left on your task.
The countdown timer was the most useful to me, and is the simplest of the set. You can set a timer for as long as 99 hours or as little as a couple minutes, then throw it in your pocket and forget it. The color band around the circle will either fill up or empty, depending on whether you select countdown or countup in the settings. This timer is the best one to help you simply remember when something needs done.
The Kitchen Timer looks much like the timer on the back of newer ovens, and actually resembles a burner on an electric range. It can be used to time things for up to 59 minutes, which works great for most cooking purposes. This one is the easiest to quickly see how much time is left, since it includes both a minute and second indicator.
The stopwatch works great for timing how long you’ve spent jogging or anything else. The app includes both lap and split mode; lap mode shows the length of time between the times you pressed Lap, while Split shows the time on the stopwatch when you tapped Split, just like a normal stopwatch. You can switch between the modes by tapping the button on the top, and your times underneath automatically switch to the new mode. The stopwatch lets you copy your times to paste into any other app as well.
Tweak Your Timer Settings
Apart from the stopwatch, each timer lets you set the alarm sound that will play when the timer is finished. Tap the i button in the bottom right corner, then select from the 16 included tones. The only problem I had with the alarms is that they only play once, so be sure to choose one of the louder alarms so you can hear it!
Know When Your Time Is Up
One of the best features is that you can use any or all of the 4 timers at once. So, you could be timing your roast with the kitchen timer while making sure your rolls don’t burn with the countdown timer. Whether you’re using another app or are checking one of your other timers, you’ll be notified when your time is up. You can then quickly jump over to that timer from the popup, or just dismiss it and get back to your work.
Best Timer is a nice alternative to the default timer and stopwatch included with iPhone, though it is still a fairly simple app. If you’re looking for an advanced timer, I’d recommend trying out Due, which in my option is the absolute best timer I’ve used on iOS.
However, if you just want an easy way to time anything with a stylish interface, Best Timer is a great choice as well. It’s not a bad deal for its price if you don’t need more advanced features.