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Celestial (iOS) review: A no-frills app to help you relax

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But in practice, I fail to find the utility of such a feature. Holding your phone up and moving it around does nothing but take away from the experience. There is a button to lock the background from moving, but I would love to see the option to turn off the backgrounds altogether.

Speaking of buttons

When you select one of the six options from the list, you're taken to its respective screen (the same one where the panoramic background moves around). Sitting just above the bottom of the screen is a series of buttons and text. The biggest button on the left is the Play button, which begins playing the sound once you press it.

To the right of that are the words "Timer" and "Sounds," and just below that are a volume slider and the button that locks the background from moving.

The problem is, the way the text and the buttons are lined up, the first impression I had was that the slider was actually a means for adjusting the timer. I discovered this wasn't the case when I attempted to slide it all the way to the right in order to increase the timer, resulting in my headphone volume going from low to extremely loud.

Similarly, the text "Sounds" is sitting right above the motion lock button -- an icon of a smartphone, with two arrows to indicate rotation -- confusing me as to what the button's purpose was. After some trial and error, I figured out that Sounds is a separate button that takes you to the main menu

In other words, it took me a few minutes to realize the words Timer and Sounds are actually buttons, and not text labels. By adding a bit of space between the buttons, this confusion could have been prevented (and my ears spared a blast of imaginary rain).

Conclusion

Celestial does exactly what it's supposed to do. It plays soothing sounds without presenting you with too many features or unnecessary options. You simply launch it, select the sound category and tap Play.

The Play screen would benefit from a redesign, as the current layout is confusing. Also, the panoramas that accompany the sounds are nice to look at once, but it seems like this app should be more about the sounds than the sights.

Still, if you're looking for an app to help you concentrate on a task, or fall asleep and stay asleep, Celestial is worth a shot. And the advantage of there being both a paid and free version is you can try before you buy.

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