I can hear you ask the question: are you seriously going to review a timer application? How much can there really be to it?
The fact is that for years I had only used Apple’s own timer app, and before I tried Timer I couldn’t see any need to change that. But it’s the little things that make a big difference and Timer has some neat little touches that make it the only timer you’ll ever need.
How It Works
Timer is a simple, yet powerful, little app from App Cubby — better known as the makers of Launch Center Pro. It’s designed to make setting a timer as effortless as possible, and succeeds beautifully. The basic conceit is summed up neatly in the description:
Tap to start, tap to stop, tap and hold to edit. That’s it.
The main screen of Timer is simply a grid of preset timers that allows you to start up to 15 preset timers (12 on the iPhone 4) with a single tap. It’s not the most beautiful app I’ve ever seen, but it’s well designed — functionality is at the very core of the Timer.
Not that you ever use it for long, but the look of Timer could easily be improved by using bolder and brighter colours (like Clear), or by using a more interesting typeface.
The two primary features of Timer that make it so much more useful than Apple’s timer are:
- Presets: most people have only a few times they regularly set — how long do you boil your eggs for?
- Multiple Timings: this is simply invaluable, particularly when cooking complicated and delicious meals.
Simply leave a preset blank so you can quickly set a custom timer!
Being able to use multiple timers at once seems so simple, and yet it’s incredibly useful to have. You’ll have noticed that both my examples above were cooking related; Timer can obviously be used for anything you need it for, but it’s brilliant as a cooking companion. Simply leave it open and set off the timers as you need them — you could even be super organised and set up the presets you’re going to need in advance so as not to disrupt your flow.
Multiple timers is a feature that is useful in so many situations that I can’t believe I went without it for so long!
A few other features of note include the ability to give your preset timers a name, change the colour of each timer and set the sound you want. The sounds include some classics and some slightly more intriguing choices, such as:
- Digital Alarm — Casio-style bleeping.
- Alarm Clock — wonderfully obnoxious beeping.
- Emergency — a deep and alarming siren.
- Sonar — rather peaceful sonar pulses.
- Old Phone — an old phone ring.
- News — a parody of the classic news program intro music.
If you’re out of the app the timer will sound and show up as a notification.
The final feature that stands out as a nice touch in Timer is, again, useful across the board but supremely useful when cooking. Timer doesn’t simply alert you and stop the timers at zero, it lets them overrun until you tap them to turn them off.
This means that rather than fiddling about setting a new timer you can simply leave the timer going if you need to give that pasta another couple of minutes.
If a timer is flashing that means it has been left and is counting up from when it went off.
This is particularly useful if you don’t hear or miss a particular timer, it tells you immediately just how angry your kid is going to be after their extended time out …
I can’t give higher praise than saying that Timer is the only timer app you’ll ever need. If you haven’t stopped reading and got it already then go and get it now, the kicker of this review is that the neat little app in question is free!
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