Metronomes for Mobile Devices: Android Edition

100 according to Maelzel, but this must be held applicable to only the first measures, for feeling also has its tempo and this cannot entirely be expressed in this figure.  – Beethoven, as related in Erich Leinsdorf’s The Composer’s Advocate


If you’re a musician with a smart phone, then you likely have a metronome app on your phone. If you’re like me, then you’ve abandoned other metronomes completely and use your metronome app every day. If you’ve read this blog at all, then you likely know that I use my metronome in fairly specific ways, many of which take advantage of functions extending beyond basic. There are metronome apps out there that are as feature-rich as the most souped-up (and ridiculously gigantic) Dr. Beat, for a small fraction of the price. With these things in mind, I have scoured the proverbial globe for the most functional and best-designed metronome app available, and I’d like to share my results with you.

Anyone who studied music performance seriously in the 90s or early 2000s will likely recognize this technological juggernaut:

I’m not clear on how a metronome that looks like an enormous control panel from the beginnings of the space race was still the best metronome on the market in 2000. Be that as it may, my long-term association with the DB-66 has shaped the way I practice irrevocably, and so I seek to find the a similar set of functions and user-friendliness in my metronome app.

I’ve tested nine of the most popular metronomes available on the Android operating system. I “scored” each metronome out of one hundred points. Those 100 points are prorated in the following way:

  • 25 points: the amount of features and information accessible on the main screen of the app
  • 25 points: user interface
  • 15 points: aesthetic design
  • 10 points: options for subdivision
  • 10 points: options for meters and accenting/muting various beats
  • 5 points: functionality/responsiveness of the “tap” feature
  • 5 points: quality of click sound(s)
  • 5 points: ease of tempo selection
  • misc points credited/debited for other considerations

Listed below is all of the metronomes I tested, in order of the score they received. Below the list, you will find detailed comments on each metronome, and how the scores break down by category.

  1. 91 points: Metronome: Tempo by Frozen Ape ($0.99)
  2. 87 points: Mobile Metronome Pro by Gabriel Simões ($1.50)
  3. 79 points: Drummer’s Metronome by Stefan Pledl (free)
  4. 74 points: Simple Metronome by Ethan Brown (free)
  5. 64 points: Beat Master byJumboWeb ($2.48)
  6. 64 points: Metronome Beats Pro by Stonekick ($2.09)
  7. 63 points: Metronome 2 by Flying Saucer Apps ($1.99)
  8. 53 points: ZyMi Metronome FREE by Raffaelle(free)
  9. 0 points: Advanced Metronome by MMolinam (free)

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ADVANCED METRONOME by MMolinam (free)

categories: n/a

TOTAL: 0/100

I acquired only the free version of this app, which has a scrolling ad banner at the top of it. The ad banner itself does not bother me; but when the banner scrolls, the metronomic click becomes erratic, making this app utterly useless. If the click was reliable, then it seems that this app would be very good. It incorporates many features and a solid user interface.

Hilariously, the first two user reviews for this in the Google Play store mention the problem of the unsteady click, but still award the app two stars. I guess a one star app would be just a blank screen.

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ZYMI METRONOME FREE by Raffealle (free)Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-02-25

- info on main screen: 18/25
– user interface: 15/25
– subdivision options: n/a
– aesthetic design: 10/15
– meter/beat options: 3/10
– “tap” function: 4/5
– click sounds: 5/5
– tempo selection: 2/5
– misc.: -4 (superfluous color choices)

TOTAL: 53/100

The ZyMi is a simple, feature-limited metronome that suffers from some design flaws. The buttons on either side (the left one is to tap the tempo, and the right one is to move the tempo by 1 bmp) are too slender, making it difficult to press consistently. The wheel in the middle allows the user to select disparate tempos quickly, but s/he must “rotate” the wheel in a very accurate circle, or it does not function properly.

To the ZyMi’s credit, I must mention that it does not have any flashing light to indicate the pulse. Every other metronome I tested has some kind of visual pulse element, although it is technically impossible for a click and a flash to happen simultaneously on the Android platform, so there is always a a small timing discrepancy between the two that can be very distracting.

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METRONOME 2 by Flying Saucer Apps

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-01-40- info on main screen: 18/25
– user interface: 15/25
– subdivision options: 6/10
– aesthetic design: 7/15
– meter/beat options: 6/10
– “tap” function: 4/5
– click sounds: 5/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: -3 (incorporates many useless meters, i.e. 16/4))

TOTAL: 63/100

Metronome 2 is a usable metronome with a few flaws that leave it behind the pack. There is a strange focus on unusually large meters: 14/4, 15/4, 16/4, etc. The user can select them as the meter, and there is also enough visual flashing spaces (the circles at the top of the screen) to account for these bars. I cannot conceive of these being useful.

The “glowing red” style of the text and symbols actually makes some things difficult to read (although not so difficult that I couldn’t read it).

Metronome 2 does some things well: the click sound is very strong and of a nice, sharp quality, and the tempos are easy to select because the user may skip by 10’s with little effort.

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METRONOME BEATS PRO by Stonekick

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-01-25- info on main screen: 12/25
– user interface: 18/25
– subdivision options: n/a
– aesthetic design: 8/15
– meter/beat options: 5/10
– “tap” function: 1/5
– click sounds: 5/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: 0

TOTAL: 64/100

The stand-out feature of Metronome Beats Pro is the tempo selection. One can change the tempo by +/- 1 or 5 with one button for each of these options, and there is a series of percentages for building up to performance tempo.

These are very attractive options, but the general layout of Metronome Beats Pro keeps it from being one of the leading apps. There is a “Settings” screen and a “Practice” screen, with many options existing on both screens. This leads to some confusion, as these two screen bear too many similarities. Metronome Beats Pro is also strangely devoid of subdivision options, considering that it is otherwise feature-rich.

Pointlessly, this app beeps when tapping a tempo, and the sound is delayed to the tapping. This makes tapping an even tempo more difficult than it ought to be.

An update that consolidates the “Settings” and “Practice” screens into one and address the few other quibbles could make Metronome Beats Pro a great app.

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BEAT MASTER by JumboWeb

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-02-39- info on main screen: 22/25
– user interface: 10/25
– subdivision options: 9/10
– aesthetic design: 8/15
– meter/beat options: 7/10
– “tap” function: 1/5
– click sounds: 4/5
– tempo selection: 3/5
– misc.: 0

TOTAL: 64/100

The Beat Master is a digitized version of the ye olde Tama Rhythm Watch, which is itself a poorly designed rip-off of the aforementioned DB-66. Be that as it may, the Beat Master would certainly be one of the better metronome apps available, if it weren’t for a few disastrous design elements.

The small “wheels” at the top are very difficult to adjust because one must actually move his/her finger in a small circle. It would be considerably simpler to allow the user to more just up and down change these parameters, as is the case on many iOS apps.

The “Start/Tap” button at the bottom is oddly small, and difficult to hit consistently. I was unable to hit it once after three earnest attempts, and I have pretty good aim.

Like Metronome Beats Pro, the Beat Master could be a very fine app with a few user interface updates.

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SIMPLE METRONOME by Ethan Brown

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-01-51- info on main screen: 15/25
– user interface: 20/25
– subdivision options: n/a
– aesthetic design: 13/15
– meter/beat options: 5/10
– “tap” function: 5/5
– click sounds: 3/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: -2 (silly and useless click sounds)

TOTAL: 74/100

Simple Metronome is a solid app that, despite it’s limited features, delivers a user-friendly, functional experience. This is the best app for someone looking for a reliable click and an intuitive user-interface with little else.

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DRUMMER’S METRONOME by Stefan Pledl

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-00-28- info on main screen: 20/25
– user interface: 22/25
– subdivision options: 9/10
– aesthetic design: 13/15
– meter/beat options: 6/10
– “tap” function: 4/5
– click sounds: 4/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: -4 (many useless flashing colors)

TOTAL: 79/100

This is overall a very usable metronome with excellent subdivision and customization features. Sadly, the horrible emphasis on the pulse being represented with flashing colors detracts from the good . As mentioned before, a visual flash and an audible click cannot be exactly congruent on the Android platform, and this discrepancy is particularly distracting given Drummer’s Metronome’s vivid, multi-color visual flash.

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MOBILE METRONOME PRO by Gabriel Simões

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-01-08- info on main screen: 23/25
– user interface: 25/25
– subdivision options: 9/10
– aesthetic design: 10/15
– meter/beat options; 5/10
– “tap” function: 5/5
– click sounds: 4/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: 0

TOTAL: 87/100

Mobile Metronome Pro is one step behind first place, although the step is a sizable one. It’s a fantastic, intuitive metronome with a significant feature set. The layout is visual dry, but user-friendly, with many options admirably on the main screen. Like nearly all the other metronome I tested, Mobile Metronome Pro is lacking in options for accenting and muting individual beats, which is a must-have for me (as I like to practice with only the down beat playing, for example).

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METRONOME: TEMPO by Frozen Ape

Screenshot_2013-10-03-13-02-51 (1)- info on main screen: 24/25
– user interface: 22/25
– subdivision options: 8/10
– aesthetic design: 15/15
– meter/beat options; 10/10
– “tap” function: 2/5
– click sounds: 5/5
– tempo selection: 5/5
– misc.: 0

TOTAL: 91/100

Frozen Ape; Metronome: Tempo blows the other metronomes out of the water. The interface of the main screen offers the most features of any of the metronomes tested, and also boosts the most intuitive layout. The aesthetic design is immediately identified as more thoughtful and professional than the others, and this is the only metronome that has appropriate options for (un)accenting and muting all individual beats. If you are seeking a metronome that is at least as good as most feature-rich, store-bought metronomes, Metronome:Tempo is a great choice, and it costs less than one dollar.

Edited with BlogPad Pro

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2 thoughts on “Metronomes for Mobile Devices: Android Edition

  1. I just found this and I have to agree on the first three, but I’d give Drummer’s metronome more points. If the colors distract you, just switch them off. The beats can be muted by touching the little colored squares.

  2. I like the comparison – it’s quite objective.
    Would be great to have some feedback also on 7Metronome (disclaimer: yes it’s my app), to know how to make it better.

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