I want a wotsit that tells me when my mobile phone rings. Nothing else.
December 4, 2017 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I solved my chronic procrastination problem (hooray!) by simply putting my mobile six feet away in a bag while I'm working. I would like, therefore, a gadget that quietly dings or buzzes when my phone rings. It doesn't need to be wearable, show the caller's name or count my steps or track my sleep. However, all I'm finding is poorly reviewed junk, or expensive smartwatches. I have an iPhone 6s if that matters. Any recommendations?

I imagine this device could sit on my desk or wrist and pair with my phone probably via bluetooth.

This seems like an obvious thing to sell, but there seems to be nothing between cheap vibrating wristbands with bad reviews, and expensive fitness trackers and smart watches. The Ditto looks perfect but it has not-great reviews.

Any recommendations for cheaper previous-generation fitness trackers or smartwatches that do this would be cool. I would be fine with a FitBit etc if it's cheap.

I wondered about assistive devices but don't know where to start on that one. Am I missing an obvious search term?

(I would prefer not to turn up the volume on my ringer as a solution - I work in a quiet, shared office space.)
posted by NoiselessPenguin to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about just a Bluetooth headset? You can actually answer the call with it as well.
posted by 7life at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2017

If it's only 6 feet away, presumably you would still hear the phone vibrate even if the ringer is off. Before buying a device, test it out to see if you can still hear it.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:32 PM on December 4, 2017

blink(1) might work. I know IFTTT can interface with it - but I would be concerned about a delay in the phone ringing and the light blinking.
posted by soelo at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2017

That was my thinking too, seolo. But yeah, I worry that the delay would be too long.

In fact, looking at the trigger options on the IFTTT site, it looks like you can't even set ringing as a trigger -- just a missed call.

NoiselessPenguin, this might not be a great option either, but you could switch to Google Voice. Then when someone dials your number, it could ring and give you a notification on your computer at the same time.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2017

a Ringly ring/bracelet/band seems like about what you're looking for, but they're sort of stupid expensive.

how about something like this?

or this thing is really low profile and seems to do the job you're looking for!
posted by euphoria066 at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2017

"Ditto is a tiny and elegant clip that vibrates when you receive an important call, text or message and is completely customizable with the free app"

It's intended for people who are hard of hearing but I don't see why it wouldn't work for you. I haven't used it but I searched for "cell phone signaler" and picked a company I'd heard of before. Looks like there are lots of these on the market.
posted by AFABulous at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another fitness tracker that happens to do notifications is the Mi Band. The screenless 1S is just over 10$ on GearBest and the 2 is 10$ more. You can also find them on Amazon, as well as a slew of accessories to mount it as a clip or watch or necklace or what have you. (I've never tried it myself, but I've heard positive things.)
posted by OMGTehAwsome at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I turned on the hearing assist on my iPhone, under general-> accessibility-> LED flash for alerts. It's pretty bright, and even if you're looking another direction in a normal sized office or bedroom, you'll likely noticed either the flicker on your phone, or reflected off other things in the room.

It still lights up, even when my ringer is down.
posted by dreamling at 12:55 PM on December 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Argh, sorry, you mentioned the ditto in your post. Still, you might find a different signaler with better reviews.
posted by AFABulous at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2017

I use my fitbit charge 2 for this. Don't know if it qualifies as inexpensive ($129 full price, discounts available) enough. It also buzzes for texts and calendar notifications, though; don't know if they can be toggled individually (if you're curious about this and can't find the information elsewhere, let me know and I can look around the app to try to figure out).
posted by mosst at 1:04 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and apparently the last-gen fitbit charge only notifies for calls. Which may be perfect for your needs, not to mention a little cheaper. I can tell you that the charge 2 notifications function very reliably; hopefully other models are similar.
posted by mosst at 1:06 PM on December 4, 2017

Fitbit FLEX 2 also does this. No screen. Can get call and text buzzes (and alarms). I would find out whatever settings used the least batterylife and you can take it off when you aren’t working. They’re $60
posted by Crystalinne at 1:31 PM on December 4, 2017

Are you working on a Mac? If so you can use Continuity to get desktop notifications when you get a call - or even take the call on the computer.
posted by O9scar at 3:10 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pebbles are getting hard to come by but should be going cheap, since the company was eaten by FitBit. Pebble classic doesn't have a speaker, but it does have a powerful vibrator to rattle your wrist, or whatever surface you leave it on, when you get a call. It displays whose calling as far as your phone's caller-ID is concerned, and its B&W e-ink display is so low-power that the battery lasts a week with normal use.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:34 PM on December 4, 2017

Pushbullet. I use it for a phone that is usually miles away from me. Can see when an email arrives, a text or a phone call has happened. I have Android phones. It is free. Can run it on your phone and in a browser (Chrome) on your desktop.
posted by AugustWest at 6:14 PM on December 4, 2017

This has been the absolute best feature of my Fitbit charge 2. The notifications are pretty consistent and unobtrusive, you can turn off the fitness-related ones, and the Bluetooth sync works up to ten feet or so with no walls. I did buy it as a running watch, but the notifications have been a lovely plus.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:52 PM on December 4, 2017

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