Developer: Daft Logic Studio
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.8.6
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Although iOS 6 gave the native Music app an uplift, it wasn’t anything revolutionary. Third-party apps have worked hard to provide users with new and convenient ways to enjoy their music, and while some have failed to impress, others like Listen have succeeded.

Listen lets users control music playback through gestures. This app not only has iOS 6 and iPhone 5 support, but its intuitive and eye-popping interface makes it stand out from other apps that boast some of the same features.

To get started, simply open the app and it shows the last played song. The artist name and song title are displayed in a nice large white font and the album artwork is centered on the screen inside a circle. Tapping on the circle pauses and plays the song. The thin border around the artwork slowly fills in white as the song plays. The coolest feature on the main screen is that the background color changes to match the artwork of the current song.

There’s more to Listen than just the clean interface. Tapping and holding on the album artwork shrinks the circle to enable gesture controls. Swipe the circle to the left to skip to the previous track or hold it there to rewind the song, or hold it to the right to advance to the next song or fast-forward. Placing the circle at the top or bottom of the screen increases and decreases the volume effortlessly.

There are a few other fun gestures like dragging to the upper right to share a song with friends via Twitter, Facebook, SMS or E-Mail, the upper left to select an AirPlay device and the lower left to disable the screen auto-lock to use the app in a car or music dock station.

When users would rather select a song, the app has a pinch to show music library option. Although it’s a great addition, it could use a few tweaks to make it even better. I didn’t see a way to shuffle songs or an option to play the next song in an album instead of listening to what comes next alphabetically.

Despite this minor setback, Listen is an innovative way to experience music on the iPhone or iPod touch. The beautifully designed interface is what stands out the most, but the easy-to-use gesture controls are also hard to ignore. It’s perfect for users looking for an easier and better way to control their music, and the low price tag of less than one dollar makes it hard to resist. I’ll be keeping this one in my dock as I cross my fingers for more features to be added soon.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Music, Reviews

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