How to turn your Galaxy smartphone into a bedside alarm clock, charging station

Alarm clocks have been a common feature in most bedrooms and hotels for generations, and now with the release of Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand, you can throw out that old energy wasting time keeper and turn it into a energy supplier with a ton of useful features for the digital age.

how to make a galaxy phablet bedside alarm clock beginners guide
Photo: Phablist.

Guide Contents

  1. Necessary hardware for this project
  2. How to easily setup a bedside clock using Android Daydream
  3. Using Android Always On Display Instead of Daydream
  4. Take your clock to the next level with third party apps
  5. Setting Alarms
  6. Night Clock Mode

1. Necessary Hardware

It’s past time to ditch fiddling around in the dark trying to find your phone or plugging up cables. Wireless charging is king and the new charging dock from Samsung is a must have accessory for your Galaxy Phablet.

Wireless charging is king and the new charging dock from Samsung is a must have accessory for your Galaxy Phablet.
Wireless charging is king and the new charging dock from Samsung is a must have accessory for your Galaxy Phablet.

Along with the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung introduced Fast Wireless Charging which is 1.4x faster than older methods. Now that the technology has advanced far enough to be almost as fast as a conventional charger, it’s now worth having more than ever before.

With a few software tweaks you can take the functionality of the charger a step further by transforming it into a digital clock whenever you pair it with your phablet.

What makes this stand so special is that it was designed by Samsung to let you use your device while its charging, propping it up so you can easily navigate music and notifications without having to interrupt charging. You can even answer calls! It goes perfect next to your bed and comes in both black and white.

Of course, there are many other cheaper options available like this one from Seno for $25.99, but we always recommended you go with OEM equipment.

seno wireless fast charge is a great alternative to samsung's expensive model
Seno offers an alternative to the expensive Samsung charger.

Don’t have a Galaxy phablet with wireless charging out of the box?

No problem. You can still complete this project but it will cost a little extra more on top of the charging dock. You will need to buy a replacement back cover for your device that adds Qi wireless charging capabilities.

samsung galaxy note 4 wireless charging back cover plate
Optional wireless charging covers are available for most Galaxy phablets. Swapping out the stock back cover for this wireless charging one couldn’t be much easier — simply pull off your current plate as if you were changing a battery and snap the new one on.

With the Note 4, for example, you are looking at another 100 bucks. There’s a trade-off here, but for most folks it’s worth it to forego plugging in every night and keeping a clock eating power 24/7.

Bonus Energy Saving Tip: Hook your charger up to a power strip you can easily switch off when you aren’t using it to save power.

2. Setting up the Bedside Clock Using Android Daydream

With Android’s Daydream mode (not to be confused with the upcoming Google VR platform), you can enable interactive screen savers automatically when your device is docked or charging, keeping your device on and displaying information.

use android daydream to use your phablet as a bedside alarm clock

This feature was first introduced in Android 4.2 and is often overlooked because it’s disabled by default. To enable Daydream, navigate to System Settings > Display > Daydream and slide the toggle from Off to On. Once enabled, tap on the Daydream option for additional options.

From here, you can choose which app you want to display on your device while it’s daydreaming. The apps you have by default depend on your specific device and version of Android but common options include “Colors” – a simple color fading visualization, “Photo frame” – turns your device into a digital photo frame, and “Clock” – this is what is used as a replacement for your bedside time keeper.

how to configure your galaxy phablet to be used as a bedside clock

Dont have Clock? Keep scrolling to find some even better alternatives that you can download from the Google Play store for free.

Access the Clock Advanced Settings by tapping the respective gear icon gear. There are many customization’s available for most daydreams.

To choose when daydream appears, tap “Set dream time” to have Daydream appear when your device is charging, docked, or both (if you don’t see the option, try tapping your settings button). Choose “While Charging” to have daydream activate when you set your phablet down on the wireless charging stand. Do not turn off the screen, daydream will start after the preset screen timeout found in Settings > Display > Screen timeout.

how to configure android daydream on a samsung galaxy phablet

Want even more options? There are some great Daydream apps available on Google Play that let you take full advantage of the daydream functionality:

  • Clock Plus – An improved version of the stock Android 4.2 clock, this app gives you the current date and time, along with upcoming alarms and phone notifications like missed calls and unread messages.
  • Daydream Quotes – This Daydream app displays a random assortment of famous quotes on your screen. You can choose how quickly the quotes cycle and customize the text size.
  • Zoum Twitter Daydream – Displays your twitter feed in Daydream mode and lets you check your feed in the middle of the night at a glance. Tapping on a tweet will open it in your favorite Twitter client. Only option here is how often tweets are displayed.
  • Desk Clock – Another great, fully customizable clock daydream. Shows battery charge status, number of unread emails, weather, and much more.

Those are only a few suggestions to get you started working with daydream but there are hundreds more on Google Play, many of which are free. If you are looking to get some premium Daydream apps free, check out the Google Opinion Rewards app, which will give you Google Play credits in exchange for answering surveys.

3. Using Always On Display Instead of Daydream

If you have a newer Samsung phablet, like the Note 7 or S7 Edge, there is a cool new feature called Always On Display that you can use as a bedside clock. Enable always on by navigating to Settings > Display > Always On and then tapping on the toggle switch labeled ON.

how to enable always on display galaxy note phablet

Once enabled, you can fully customize 13 different clock styles by tapping on Layouts. From here, choose between a clock or calendar by tapping on Content to show. Once you’ve selected the content type you can customize the look and feel by tapping on any of the predefined layouts listed.

how to use always on display as a bedside clock on the galaxy note 7 and s7 phablet

Clocks can be customized with different colors and backgrounds but you are not so lucky with the calendar. Both options allow you display notification icons on the screen in addition to the main feature.

The last option to configure is when to show the clock. Keeping in mind that Always On display was designed to – as the name implies – be on all of the time. Where before you’d have to wake the phone to see the time or check your notifications, now the screen permanently displays the information.

how to schedule always on display on galaxy note 7 s7 phablet

For the purposes of our bedside clock, we will be setting the Always On display to only be active during the evening hours. To program a custom display time, disable the Always On toggle switch and tap on Set schedule to pick the desired start and end times.

Bonus Tip: Always On Display can be turned on and off via the quick settings panel.

4. Take Your Clock to the Next Level with Lucid Daydream

If you want even more information like messages, appointments, and weather on your clock, download a copy of Lucid Daydream from the app store, this app is highly recommended because of its powerful customizations – Daydream users might even consider it a better solution. Once you have the app installed, it is easy to setup and configure.

download lucid daydream to create a really cool alarm clock on your phablet

You can customize just about every element of the clock face format, including individual font size, type, and color controls for both time and date. The background can be customized from a solid color to any image in your gallery.

Additional information you can display on the clock face include your next alarm, device battery level, upcoming appointments, Gmail, Notifications, RSS feeds, SMS, and even the weather. Lucid Daydream also includes a night mode, and it can even play music or be used as a flashlight.

5. Set Your Wake up Call

This step requires no additional software, as configuring an alarm is easy as pie using the native Android “Clock” App. Open the app drawer to get started and tap on “Clock.” Bonus tip: In some cases, you can access the clock app by tapping on the main clock widget on the home screen.

how to create a wake up call on galaxy note phablet

Step 1: Once inside the Clock app you should see four tabs at the top of the page and tap on the icon labeled “Alarm.”

Step 2: Tap the “+” icon to create a new alarm. Remember, each version of Android is different, meaning the location of the + icon may be at the top or bottom of the screen. In some cases, you may have to tap the sub menu icon to add new alarms.

Step 3: Set the time you wish to wake up by swiping or tapping the large clock displayed.

Step 4: Choose how many days a week the alarm will be active.

Step 5: Pick what type of sound you want to wake to. The options here are limitless as you can choose any pre-loaded sound on your device to use as an alarm. Choose the alarm volume by adjusting the volume slider up and down. Some users may have to tap “Sound and volume” to access the volume slider.

how to create a morning alarm with snooze on a galaxy note phablet

Step 6: If you’re not much of a morning person, setting a snooze alarm is a must. Do this by tapping on “Snooze,” from here you have many interval options. Each version of Android gives you different choices but the most popular are: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. Now when your alarm goes off, simply swipe to have another go off at your desired interval. Choose how many times the snooze alarm goes off by choosing an option under Repeat. Again, every phone is different but most phones allow anywhere from 1 to 10 times. The Note 7 allows 3, 5, and continuous.

Step 7: Tap “Save” at the top of the page to set the alarm. Once you are back in the alarm list you can easily enable or disable the alarm by tapping the clock alarm or toggle switch to the right.

Bonus Tips for the Alarm App

smart alarm on galaxy note 4 phablet

Smart Alarm – Some users may have a feature called “Smart Alarm” which starts the alarm sound at a low volume, a few minutes early, and will slowly increase the volume until the main alarm starts. This is a nice feature for people who are easily startled by abrupt loud noises. Options here include build up time, which is how early the sound starts before its actually time to wake up, and limited alarm tones.

how to slowly turn up alarm volume on galaxy note phablet

Increasing Volume – Kind of similar to Smart Alarm, this toggle will start your alarm sound at a low volume and gradually increase over time. There is no additional options for this feature, simply enable it by tapping the toggle switch.

how to give your wake up call a custom name on galaxy phablets

Give the alarm a name – This is a cool feature that lets you write a short message to yourself in the morning, such as “Its Time to Wake Up” or “Good Morning.” Enter any text you like, including emojis. The message will be displayed when the alarm is active.

how to create a widget for your wake up alarm on your home screen galaxy phablet

Put a widget on the home screen for easy access – If you have a constantly changing schedule you can put a widget on your home screen that will allow you to edit the alarm without having to navigate through your app drawer or settings. Do this by touching and holding on a empty part of your home screen to bring up the home screen options. Select Widgets and then find and tap “Clock”. Touch and hold the Alarm 4 x 1 widget and drop it in place. One final tap on the widget opens the app, where you can select your wake-up alarm.

Night Clock Mode

It would be wrong to write a guide about how to create a bedside clock with your phablet without mentioning the one feature appropriately named “Night Clock.” This option will show a clock on the Edge screen while the main screen is turned off.

night clock mode is the worst option for a bedside clock on a galaxy note phablet

The reason why this feature is mentioned last is because it’s the worst option possible. The problem with Night Clock is that the information displayed is very small, as it is limited to just the edge portion of the screen.

If you want to give it a try anyway, simply navigate to Settings > Display > Night Clock. The only option to configure here is what time you want the clock to be displayed when the screen is off.

how to use night clock mode on the galaxy note 7 and s7 phablet

One important thing to recognize here is that this feature will override the Always-On display, meaning any content you have selected for Always On will be hidden during times when night clock is shown. You may find this particularly annoying.

That’s It!

If configured properly, your bedside clock should appear when placing your phablet on the wireless charger with the screen off. You might have to wait for the screen to time out before the clock will appear when placing your device on the charger when the screen is on. Hopefully you’ve found this guide useful in learning more about your phone and making your life easier.

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