06 Apr

Zen Viewer HD is a file manager / viewer released by The Skin Factory Inc.

This application is a beautifully designed file management and reader for the iPad. It allows you to import files onto your iPad and supports a large number of file formats, and will allow you to view and play them within the application.

There are a number of ways to get files onto the application, as well as SYNC with iTunes, you can add files from a URL, images from your photo album, web servers (like mobileme and dropbox) and WiFi transfer. 

The application supports PDFs really nicely, Movie files play well (but do rewind if you press stop), Audio is also dealt with well both with recording and listening to files. You can even view some other file formats. Images was the only side I really had any issues with.

The file management side is also very good, allowing to easily add folders and move multiple files between them. I did have an issue with deleting an issue once, but this may have been a glitch as it was not repeated. You can search your files by type, file extension and by name, this is excellent if you have a large number of files imported.

The user interface is excellent with and is easy to use (one of two functions are no clear to start with, but a quick guess sorts this.). There are also some pop ups to show helpful tips and you can hide these as soon as you wish. There are several templates to select from (six for free) and some in app purchases.

Immediately on opening this application I began to compare it to GoodReader, which is my current file management system within the iPad. I must say the in all but the image viewing department it outshone GoodReader, and this application is also cheaper.

On the upside:

  • Well designed user interfaces.
  • Lots of file format supported.
  • Easy to import files

On the downside:

  • Some issues with pinch to zoom on images, causing black blocks to appear. [**]
  • Slow to move between images (small images files 1MB – taken on iPhone) [**]
  • Minor glitches with file management.

Overall, this is an excellent application, and if the issues with photo viewing was fixed then I would remove GoodReader from my iPad altogether. I think this application could become the top file manager application for the iPad soon. It is probably the best application for the price right now.

[** UPDATE: The Image issues mainly happen in the iPad 1, when low memory or after app switching **]

Rating: 84%

Size: 17.3 MB

Price (at time of review): £1.79

Link: Zen Viewer HD – The Skins Factory, Inc.


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