Developer: The Skins Factory
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1.6.1
Device Reviewed On: iPAd

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Every once in a while, an app will be released that’s packed with features. And every once in a while, an app is released with a refreshing user-interface. Rarely does an app come out that has both. Zen Viewer HD is file manager and audio recorder that’s nearly perfect.

Chris Pirillo called Zen Viewer “a little powerhouse.” This app does almost everything anyone would want out of a file manager. As one would expect, this file manager reads a variety of file formats. They boast 19 document formats (including pdf, pub, doc and docx), 10 image formats (including jpeg, png, and gif), six audio formats (including mp3 and aac), and four video formats (including mp4 and m4v).

I could write a few hundred words just describing the features so I’ll pick a few of my favorites. An app dealing with files can’t be successful without Dropbox and other Dropbox-like support. Zen Viewer HD supports Dropbox, iDisk, Google Docs, and Box.net (I can imagine they will add more with time). Files can also be added via the Photos app, URLs, Wi-Fi transfer, and direct transfers via iTunes.

When the app is first downloaded, a header at the top of the screen displays a “Zen Viewer” banner. But when the user clicks the star (favorite button) next to a file, the app makes thumbnails of favorites available in its place.

I’m a sucker for themes. Zen Viewer HD comes with a variety of themes. I always use grey themes but Zen Viewer gives its themes artsy names like Enduring Earth and Tranquil Earth from the Light Terrestrial Series. Having theme series for a file manager may be a little over the top, but I like their enthusiasm.

While I won’t use it often, my favorite feature of Zen Viewer is the ability to compress files into a single .zip file or decompress them. I can definitely see myself wanting to send multiple files from my Dropbox to someone and compressing it with Zen Viewer HD.

A simple and easy to use audio recorder is always available at the bottom of the screen. It works well with the built-in mic. There isn’t much to say about audio recorders other than how they are presented and whether or not they work.

As I’m writing this review, the app just crashed on me. But this happened only once and I had quite a few apps open in my dock. So perhaps there’s a small crashing problem but I’m confident the developers will fix it in an upcoming release.

Zen Viewer HD is, by far, the best file manager app I’ve used. It’s normally $1.99 but it’s on sale for $0.99 (it’s a steal! grab it now!).

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Productivity, Reviews

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