Top positive review
One person found this helpful
light unit which stands nicely on the desk
on January 24, 2013
Yes, the user interface is confusing, but it has 3 timers in a small, light unit which stands nicely on the desk.
It never ceases to amaze me that designers of hardware create such inscrutable user interfaces. I have found this from high-price digital audio recording technology all the way down to the simplest little items such as wrist-watches and digital thermometers. The UI of this Maverick Professional Digital 3-Line Timer (ASIN: B000VNO29G) is somewhat confusing because its behaviour depends on the current state of the UI, and the current state is often invisible. For example, if you want to re-start or stop or clear or re-set an individual timer, sometimes you push a particular button and it works, but sometimes you press the same button and it does not work. This is because the action of the buttons is context-dependent, and the UI context/state is often not clear from what you see on the display. I'm sorry to put it in such semi-technical terms, but people who design user interfaces are supposed to know about these things, and since I do design user interfaces, I know that there are good ways and bad ways to do it. In this case, there are sufficient buttons on the front face, and sufficient picture elements on the screen, to be able to design a really good intuitive interface. They missed an opportunity to make a good device into an excellent device, using sound UI design principles.
Given that they didn't design the user interface very well, they could have written an accurate, informative user manual. Instead, they have provided a couple of simple recipes for some simple tasks, which do not really fully or accurately describe the interface. So they have missed an opportunity there too.
Despite the minor (but preventable) user interface failings, this unit looks good to me. It takes up almost no room at all on my desk, it's very light, it stands at a good angle to the vertical when using the fold-out stand, the screen has clear digits, it has a 24-hour clock (or optionally 12-hour if you prefer that sort of thing), it has a count-up timer on the same screen as the current time, you can see all 3 count-down timers at the same time in the count-down screen, and the 3 timers do sound slightly different. The top timer makes double-beeps, the second timer makes triple-beeps and the third timer makes quadruple-beeps. So if you count the beeps, you can work out which is which without seeing the screen. There's no built-in light. So you can't use it in the dark.
In the cooking application, one often does need multiple timers, like one for the coffee, one for the spaghetti, and one for the sauce. But I anticipate using this unit for other things too, like the laundry, taking a nap, or reminding me to take a break when I've been working too long on this infernal computer where I am working now!
* PS. 2013-1-26. After using this timer for a while, it becomes less and less confusing. The UI design is not that bad really. I think it's one of those things that are very easy to operate if you're 10 years old or less, but take a little longer if you're over 40.
* PS. 2017-4-18. A couple of years ago, this unit failed and is now in the junk heap. But I think that was probably just bad luck.