Monday, September 20, 2010; 12:19 AM
Zen Timer is a slick little timer app designed for meditation, yoga, Reiki, and other such activities. Why not use an alarm clock or a countdown timer? Zen Timer has a lot of options for customization, and its sounds are much more peaceful than typical alarms.
From the main screen, as in any other timer, you can set the duration you want. The next option down is where Zen Timer starts to differentiate itself, as it's there where you can choose the ending-bell type. You can choose from six different bells, and all of them are very high quality and sound great even through a phone's speaker. You can choose to have the bell ring once, twice, or thrice at the end.
The next option, my favorite, allows you to select a beginning bell. I like it not only because you can again pick the type of bell and the number it chimes, but also because you can select a delay. This way, you can start the timer and have it give you a minute (or whatever length you please) to sit down and get settled. Then the bell rings, and you know that the official clock has started.
The app has some other great options, too, such as the ability to set interval bells throughout, a nice touch if you just like the sound of the bells. It also features statistics and a journal. The former keeps track of the number of sessions and days, the total duration, the average duration, and the like. After every session ends, it asks if you want to add a journal entry. If you do make an entry, it then syncs that entry up with the statistics from that session. You can export both your journal and your stats.
Unfortunately, Zen Timer still has a little ways to go in terms of stability. The great majority of the time, it works perfectly. Sometimes, though, a phone call or a text message seems to throw it off, and the timer doesn't trigger. Also, if you manually stop the timer before it goes off (for example, you set it for 20 minutes, but really finish after 18), it will not record the statistics--a minor annoyance.
Overall, though, Zen Timer is a very well constructed application. The sounds of the bells are lovely, and if you meditate a lot or do yoga, this app is certainly worth the price.