CARROT Alarm: Wake Up Puny Human, or Else

Waking up in the morning can be difficult, and no one knows that better than me. Not because I have difficulties waking promptly to my alarm, but due to witnessing what occurs every time my fiancée’s alarm goes off in the morning. For starters, she sets multiple alarms that go off in five minute intervals, which she snoozes several times over the course of 30+ minutes. Afterwards, she transitions to the second stage of her wake up routine, which includes sitting up in bed for several minutes with a look of severe pain on her face, which I imagine includes an internal monologue of her cursing the world. Eventually she stumbles out of bed and begins preparing for her day.

To say she’s the only person goes through such pains just to get out of bed is a bold face inaccuracy. Several people find themselves in a similar experience on a daily basis, while others go to far more extreme lengths. Perhaps what these individuals really need is a bit of motivation, which CARROT Alarm is more than happy to offer.

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Getting to Know CARROT

CARROT Alarm is the second in the series of apps, with the first being CARROT To-Do, both of which feature a friendly, but vindictive AI named CARROT. In both apps, CARROT’s goal is to reward you for performing positive actions, but is quick to dole out punishment if you should slack off or fail to live up to its standards. CARROT To-Do was reviewed by editor Kevin Whipps, which he found to be a fun and unique way to get tasks done. Much of the same can also be said for CARROT Alarm.

It seems sweet, but CARROT can be one twisted mother.

It seems sweet, but CARROT can be one twisted mother.

CARROT Makes You Feel Warm & Fuzzy

While friendly, CARROT has a bit of a superiority complex, which it quickly establishes by calling you “meatbag” on the app’s initial launch. Trust me when I say this won’t be the only time CARROT refers to you as a meatbag. It will also refer to itself (as “her” and “she”) in various wake up songs, mostly focusing on how you should hail its greatness. If you’re familiar with CARROT To-Do, you’ll find that CARROT has a great deal more personality in Alarm, which is mainly due to the fact that it has a voice this time around (CARROT communicates strictly with text in To-Do).

CARROT is a tad bit into itself, which is painfully clear early on.

CARROT is a tad bit into itself, which is painfully clear early on.

Setting Your Alarm

Setting an alarm is easily achieved by swiping up or down in the main view. Wake up time options are set up in 15 minute increments, with more precise time options being a reward that’s unlocked at level 6 (more on levels later). Once a desired time is selected, swipe CARROT’s ocular sensor (i.e. icon) right to turn on your alarm.

The fine tune setting lets you adjust wake up times in 5-minute intervals.

The fine tune setting lets you adjust wake up times in 5-minute intervals.

Because the app needs to be running in the foreground to work, CARROT recommends that you leave your screen on with your phone lying face-down and charging overnight. Since I use a dock and don’t wish for my room to be lit up during the night, I locked my screen. This setup works just fine just as long as you don’t exit out of CARROT Alarm before locking the screen.

Make sure your phone isn't silenced or in Do Not Disturb mode.

Make sure your phone isn’t silenced or in Do Not Disturb mode.

Wake Up, or Snooze at Your Own Peril

When your alarm sounds in the morning, CARROT will mix up the song utilized for doing so. Sometimes it’s a cool 8-bit track, and other times CARROT chooses to sing about how there’s no sentient alarm clock trying to take over the world. The volume of the alarm increases gradually, and will continue to sound until you activate either the Wake Up or Snooze options.

CARROT remains neutral until you choose whether to wake up or snooze your alarm.

CARROT remains neutral until you choose whether to wake up or snooze your alarm.

If you choose Snooze, CARROT transitions from friendly blue to fiery red and angrily stands by until its time to sound again, and when you wake up from a snooze CARROT plays a far more menacing song or threatens to kill a kitten (seriously). If you snooze too many times, CARROT may state that you deserve by shamed publicly, via social media, for your inability to wake up on time. This type of shaming is completely optional, but could result in humorous discussions with friends and family members.

CARROT gets rather flushed when its angry.

CARROT gets rather flushed when its angry.

Choosing the Wake Up option will activate your daily chores, which are three or more tasks you have to perform before the alarm is actually turned off. These chores typically have a humorous overtone that corresponds with a simple gesture, such as disposing of dead bodies by shaking your phone. Though my fiancée didn’t partake in using this app, she did have to experience my interactions with CARROT and wasn’t pleased by the 10-20 seconds it took to perform all of my chores. I considered it a bit a payback for having to endure her alarm routine on my days off.

Chores can be a bit daunting when you're half awake.

Chores can be a bit daunting when you’re half awake.

I can’t deny that CARROT is an effective way to get up in the morning. However, I find it very odd that I was required to go to so much trouble just to turn off my alarm, but snoozing was incredibly easy. At level 30 you can unlock an easy wake up option, but if I don’t cheat (more on this soon), it’ll be quite a while before I get there. If waking up right away is the positive action, I should be able to swipe up to turn off the alarm and move about my day, whereas snoozing should require me to tap, flip and swipe my phone before I’m able to catch another 10 minutes rest.

Points & Unlockables

Starting from scratch CARROT Alarm is severely crippled, as many great features have to be unlocked as you earn points, which are earned after waking your alarm. You’ll also receive points if you snooze, but at a decreased amount compared to waking up when the alarm first sounds.

Here are a few rewards CARROT Alarm has to offer:

  • New wake up songs
  • New wake up chores
  • Fine tuner (adjust wake up times in five-minute increments)
  • Recurring alarm
  • Hard mode (waking up is more difficult)
  • Shake to snooze

Points are one of the only incentives the app can offer for good behavior, besides the notion of being verbally shamed by an AI, but I don’t appreciate having to wait to unlock features that’ll ultimately make the app function that way I need it to. This is an issue I had when I gave CARROT To-do a trial run, but it was incredibly easy to cheat the system by creating and completing several fake tasks. Cheating is possible in CARROT Alarm, but it’s nowhere as simple and quick as it is in To-Do.

Unlocking some very handy features could take weeks.

Unlocking some very handy features could take weeks.

The Bottom Line

CARROT Alarm isn’t right for all individuals, but there’s no denying that it has the type of niche that will be enjoyed by a several individuals. For starters, any fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey will draw (mostly fond) comparisons between CARROT and HAL 9000. I, too, found myself somewhat enchanted by CARROT, but I simply don’t have to patience that’s needed to unlock features that make the app more user friendly. The fact that developers Grailr haven’t included an in-app purchase option to unlock all or some of the features really seems like a missed opportunity for making extra money.

I routinely use Clock.app for my alarm needs because I like being able to select specific days for repeating alarms (e.g. Monday-Friday for workdays) and creating multiple alarms. In addition, I like being able to see the alarm icon displayed in the status bar, which provides a much needed visual cue that my alarm is ready to go. The latter is a feature exclusive to iOS, but the former two are features that Grailr simply choose not to include in CARROT Alarm.

Does CARROT sound like the something you could use to motivate you in the morning, or do you have a better method? Let us know in the comments.


Summary

Wake up on time, or face CARROT's wrath.

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