Review: ZaZen by Innobytes


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.

Review: ZaZen by Innobytes

Finally, Zazen ($1) by Innobytes offers a unique alternative interface for meditation timing, but manages to be more confusing than innovative. The first screen is a picture of a rippling pond with a note to tap the screen for instructions—if you don’t, you’ll never understand how to use the software. This screen tells you, without full explanation, that you should go to the settings screen and adjust the size of two stones to change the length of the meditation from 10 minutes to 45 minutes, and the presence of a gong sound from every 5 or 10 minutes to off. You then click on the Zazen screen button, tap a candle in front of a statue to start, and hear a gong after a set one-minute preparation time. No timer, save for your iPod or iPhone’s top-of-screen clock, is displayed.

Review: ZaZen by Innobytes

While the idea of meditating to the image of a statue and a flickering candle is actually quite a good one, and the idea of integrating zen objects such as rocks into the interface is similarly cool, Innobytes has basically done everything wrong in terms of making the application work in ways that users could understand. Resizing rocks to change the duration of the meditation is bad enough, but the lengths of the session and interval are then represented with odd dials rather than numbers, plus white dots for “tolerance,” and you’ll need to go back and forth from the instructions to the settings just to figure out what’s going on. Then, as the session proceeds, you have no idea how far along you are, which might be fine for some users, but probably not for others. Functionally, it’s just a mess. It rates in the C category rather than D because it tries to be novel at a fair price and partially succeeds. but it’s not really worth downloading in its current state. iLounge Rating: C-.


Our Rating

Below Average

Company and Price

Company: Innobytes


Title: Zazen

Price: $1

Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches

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Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.