Review: iChillout, iRelax-Ambient, and iRelax-Electronica by Chillingo
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Sixteen Zen, Relaxation, and Meditation Apps. Additional details may be found in the original article.
A distant third-place set of options comes from Chillingo, which has created three virtually identical relaxation applications: iChillout ($1), iRelax-Ambient ($1), and iRelax-Electronica. All three present you with the same interface, which uses the top third of the screen for a static image and the bottom two thirds for a sound dial and buttons. The static images are all pretty mediocre, and the rest of the interface looks slopped together.
iChillout includes 20 different sound loops, taken from waterfalls, forests, water, fire, and chimes, some almost comically named. Could you tell the difference between a “Scottish Waterfall” and a “Welsh Waterfall?” If so, now you’ll get your chance. iRelax-Ambient has eight songs with new age titles such as “Angel Whispers,” “Silence of Contemplation,” and “Drifting Lullaby,” while iRelax-Electronica has eight songs with single-word titles such as “Transitive,” “Spiral,” and “Coolvibes,” most fitting into the electronic chill or lounge music categories. Most of the music sounds good, but it’s obvious in quieter tracks such as iRelax-Ambient’s Raindrops that there’s staticy compression artifacting. All three also have extremely simple controls. Besides a dial for track selection, they have a timer button with a 24-hour countdown feature, adjustable by minutes, no volume controls, and no album-like switching from one track to the next—each track, regardless of whether it’s a looping sound effect or music track, plays over and over again.
While we wouldn’t pick any of these three applications over Ambiance or aSleep, they do generate interesting audio that different types of users will find relaxing. iChillout is clearly for those who need natural audio stimulation, while iRelax-Ambient is the female-focused song version, and Electronic is the male-focused song version. It’s tempting to say that these $1 purchases are like getting really cheap CDs of sound effects, but you get fewer effects in all three of these apps combined than you do in aSleep, and the quality and interface aren’t hot. By contrast with the other apps, we’d call the Chillingo apps B- efforts overall.