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I spent over an hour trying over a dozen Android alarm clocks, but none met my simple needs:

  1. Reliable
  2. Wakes you up gradually to a sound of your choosing
  3. Visually indicates the duration until alarm will sound (e.g. "Alarm in 3 hours")
  4. No ads!
  5. No more than a single fee or in-app purchase for full functionality

Besides the corollaries to the above, what I don't want:

  1. For the alarm to also use the screen's LCD to wake you up
  2. For the alarm to use the device's camera flash to wake you up
  3. A requirement to answer a math puzzle or something similar

Gratis is preferred, but not required. Any price is fine.

Timely would be the obvious choice, but recent reviews indicate it may no longer be reliable. As of this posting, it has not been updated in over 2 years. That's too bad, because it is truly beautiful.

  • Apart from #3 (which I'm not sure it's possible), the paid version of AlarmDroid meets your criteria (one-time fee inApp to get rid of the ads). There are others with comparable feature sets, I just don't remember which had #2. As usual: Be welcome to check with my app list for Alarm Clocks ;) – Izzy Jun 14 '17 at 8:42
  • @Izzy Thanks Izzy. I'll rewrite #3, as it is the simplest feature, but I must have made it sound complicated. :) – RockPaperLizard Jun 14 '17 at 14:40
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    Oh – if you meant that all requirements 1-5 are met by my candidate. None of the no-gos 1-3 are hit. So I guess I should go ahead and write an answer :) – Izzy Jun 14 '17 at 14:45
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With your edit, it seems like AlarmDroid is a good candidate. I've used it for years (until my home-automation took over my stereo for that purpose):

  • Reliable: Yes. Never missed a single alarm.
  • Wakes you up gradually to a sound of your choosing: Yes: a) you can have the volume increase from X to Y within Z minutes (configurable for X,Y,Z) and b) choose between all kinds of sound (pre-installed alarm sounds, an MP3 file, a playlist, a stream – each with or without a "talking clock" you can configure what to tell you, including time, weather and more).
  • Tells you duration until alarm will sound (e.g. "Alarm in 3 hours"): Yes. But only visually (would drive you nuts if that were announced all 5 minutes, and you'd get no sleep either ;)
  • No ads! Well – at least not when you're using an AdBlocker or, with the fair approach, do the one-time inApp purchase :)
  • No more than a single fee or in-app purchase for full functionality: Full functionality for free. Get rid of ads with a single inApp purchase.

What you didn't ask for: Well maintained and regularly updated (at least while I used it; right now, the last update is 6 month old). The only issue I had with it is that sometimes those updates broke the "talking clock" – but never any other feature.

Alarms AlarmSettings ChooseSound
AlarmDroid: Alarms / Alarm Settings / Chose sound (source: Google Play; click images for larger variants)

Now for your NoGos:

  • For the alarm to also use the screen's LCD to wake you up: No. Didn't even see an option for that.
  • For the alarm to use the device's camera flash to wake you up: No flash, no thunder. Doesn't explode either (or jump from the desk, having you to catch it if you want to silence it :))
  • A requirement to answer a math puzzle or something similar: No requirement to choose that option – though it has the option to choose that requirement, if you know what I mean :) See second screenshot, at the bottom: "Obstacles enabled" (checkbox).

PS: For an alternative, take a look at Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers (known as AMDroid before it got renamed). Quite similar feature set, with the addition of calendar integration (so your "weekday alarm" wouldn't fire on Easter monday, for example).

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Sleep for Android is good _ I can't remember if I paid for it, but if I did it wouldn't have been much.

This has your main wishes, but also the maths puzzle (and other odd things, like finding and pressing on the awake sheep in a screen full of sleeping sheep!).

Additional useful features include sleep monitoring and the ability to postpone an alarm, e.g. set the alarm to be an hour later than usual for one cycle, without having to cancel your usual alarm and set a new one up.

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I'm using Gentle Alarm for approx. 10 years now. It meets all your needs and is very reliable as you can see in the ratings of the app.

Never used any other app (like AlarmDroid), so I can't really give a comparison here. But the main feature with Gentle Alarm obviously is also to add various alarm modes with increasing sound (mp3, downloadable nature sounds, ring tones, you name it) volumes for different scenarios.
E.g. "Sound alarm from volume 3 to volume 12 over a duration of 10 min with exactly 2 slumber possibilities on workdays."

The only downside could be the design. It wasn't updated for about a year and there's no material design thingy going on. However this is nothing I care about as long as i know where to find things and that it works.

There's a free trial version which has ads and doesn't ring on wednesdays...

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