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Review: Beats for iPhone

Our friends at bjango have done it again. This time they have made a musician’s dream app called Beats .

I have no musical inclination whatsoever, and even I found Beats easy to use.
The app is elegantly split into to three tools. Each with a specialized use. The first tool is the BPM (Beats per minute) tool.

The idea behind this tool is to press the center “Tap” button in time with the beat of a song. Beats will then, in turn, tell you what the beats per minute are for that particular song. I’ve tried it on both fast and slow songs and it works great.

The next tool is a trusty metronome. This can be used to check to make sure you have the correct BPM of the song you are listening to or to play along with your instrument. The metronome tool is controlled by a “scroll wheel” with a play/pause button in the center. The scroll wheel looks very convincing, and given the touch controls of the iPhone, “feels” just like you would expect it too if it were a real scroll wheel. It also has on either side of the scroll wheel, a “speed up” and a “slow down” button that helps to “push” or “pull” the beat in line with a new song. I did find it difficult to tell if these buttons were depressed when my finger was on top of them, simple highlights in a future update would fix this problem.

The last tool in the Beats toolbox is a Key tool. This nifty tool helps users find the key of the song they are listening to. Press the keys on this beautiful miniature keyboard, until you’ve found a note that matches the key of the song you’re listening to. When you’ve found the key, Beats will display three other keys that mix well with it. This works amazingly well, although at times I found it difficult to hear the notes over a song that was playing on the iPhone itself, regardless if I was listen over the built-in speaker or a set of headphones.

Beats, of course has a settings page where you can do standard things like turning on or off the interface sounds. But, it goes much deeper than that. You can adjust the metronome’s time signatures to 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4. While you’re at it, you can even change the beat to duples or triplets, and even change the sound the metronome makes from an assortment of sounds shipped with the app. Lastly you can change the sound the keyboard makes from a standard piano to a synth. All of these added options help to strengthen the already great user experience.

Aesthetically, this app has the same great bjango style we know and love. With it’s shades of gray, blue and purple this app is very pleasing to look at, and nothing is overwhelming. Everything is laid out intuitively and works exactly as you would expect.

In short, Beats is best suited for musicians, although it is user friendly enough for non-musicians to pick up quickly. Beats does have a few minor flaws that are easily overlooked by it’s shear usability and beauty. As with all bjango apps, I highly recommend checking it out. You can pick up a copy of Beats for $1.99 on the App Store. (iTunes Link)

You can check out the Beats here.

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