Countdown to Events With Cosmos Timer

The iPhone’s Clock app is a great tool for quickly timing things like cooking an egg, chess turns, or steeping tea. When you want to keep track of longer periods of time, or save commonly used timers, however, Clock can’t help you. Cosmos Timer was developed to fill this gap, allowing you to quickly create timers for any length of time and save them for later use. Find out if Cosmos Timer can make keeping time easier after the jump!

Features

So what exactly can Cosmos Timer do that the iOS Clock can’t? There are basically 3 important features:

  • Run multiple timers at once (up to 64)
  • Archive timers for reuse
  • Create timers for longer than 24 hours (years longer)

If you’ve never missed any of these features in Clock, maybe Cosmos Timer isn’t for you. On the other hand, you might be surprised by the kinds of things some users keep track of with Cosmos Timer, like keeping track of “time-outs” for children, or setting a reminder for renewing your passport.

Interface & Design

I really like the Cosmos design; it’s simple and polished, and I love the outer space theme. Cosmos has some really slick animations, especially when you go from active to archived timers — it reminds me a bit of Time Machine.

I keep Cosmos next to Osmos

I keep Cosmos next to Osmos

For the most part, the interface is straight-forward and logical, but there are a few tasks, like deleting a timer, that aren’t as obvious as they should be. In this case, you have to select the timer, then hit “edit” then “delete,” instead of the convention of having the “edit” button with a list of objects, which triggers the “edit/delete” mode.

Like this, please

Like this, please

Using Timers

Cosmos Timers is designed to allow you to add new timers quickly: just hit the + button, select a duration and go. You can skip naming the timer and still save it, it will just have the duration as a title.

Adding a new timer

Adding a new timer

In what seems like a rather significant oversight, Cosmos Timer doesn’t give you the option to input a date and have it calculate the amount of time until that date for you. For some of the suggested uses, like tracking a warranty, it’s easy enough to add “90 days,” however, you probably won’t be inputing the expiration date for your driver’s license the day you get it, and it would be much easier to just enter the date printed on the card. To avoid doing math, I suggest using timeanddate.com’s duration calculator, which offers a simple interface for calculating the duration between two dates.

Counting Down

Once you’ve created a timer, it gets added to the “current timers” screen and starts counting down right away. Though it’s not an issue for longer term timers, it’s annoying that you can’t pause shorter timers.

When the timer elapses, an alarm sounds and a push notification appears. The Cosmos alarm sounds are different from the default system sounds, so you know it’s an elapsed timer and not a text message without having to look at your phone. After a timer completes, it turns red on the timer list and starts counting backwards from the alarm time. At this point, you can click on the timer and archive it from the edit screen.

Timer complete!

Timer complete!

Archived Timers

When you save a timer, it moves to the “archived” list, where you can re-activate it by hitting the + button. Interestingly, you can easily delete archived timers.

Viewing and Editing Timers

When you select a timer, it displays a details screen with a countdown clock that displays remaining time down to the second. For longer timers, it also displays the date the timer elapses on. The details view also shows the initial duration of a timer, and a progress bar of how much time has passed, which is a helpful way to visualize the passage of time.

Details and Edit screens

Details and Edit screens

Sharing Countdowns

The sharing features of Cosmos Timer are a bit hidden: to share a timer, press and hold on the countdown in the details screen, which will trigger the options to mail, text or tweet your countdown, or copy it to your clipboard.

My roommate wasn't very excited

My roommate wasn't very excited

Conclusion

Cosmos Timer is a young app, and definitely missing a couple features (duration calculator, pausing), but I was overall impressed by its the day-to-day usefulness. Cosmos Timer is great for those important reminders that you don’t need to be constantly aware of, which can clutter up calendars and to-do lists, and add to the stress of keeping track of tasks. My iCal calendar was crowded with things I didin’t need to see all the time, like garbage day and prescription renewals, which I’ve now migrated to Cosmos Timer. It definitely makes my calendar less overwhelming, since I really don’t want to think about taking out the trash until Tuesday night. Cosmos timer helps get the trivial things off your mind so you can focus on what’s important, while still being confident that you won’t forget anything.

Considering the simplicity of the idea behind Cosmos Timer, it’s surprisingly unique. Other timer apps are designed for short-term specific uses, like timing sets at the gym or cooking an egg, and most of them suffer from amateur interface design.

Since Cosmos Timer has only been around for a few weeks, I’m hopeful that future updates will address some of the issues I noticed. Speak up in the comments if you have an effective way to keep track of short and long term reminders on your phone or  your computer. Or, you know, in your brain.


Summary

Cosmos Timer lets you easily create multiple timers for short and long durations then save them for repeated use.

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