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Review: (Not Boring) Vibes is a stylish, razor-sharp focus app

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Developer: Andy Works LLC
Price: Free [$4.99/£4.99 a month Super plan]
Size: 252 MB
Version: 1.7
Platform: iPhone & iPad

(Not Boring) Vibes

(Not Boring) Habits and (Not Boring) Weather provided stylish twists on the habit tracker and weather apps respectively. Now, developer Andy Works has turned his attention to the focus app.

Open the app and it’ll provide an instant peaceful ambient soundtrack to help you zone in on what you’re doing – or else zone out entirely. This is accompanied by a perpetually rolling landscape visualization, which can be interacted with by tapping the rocks and plants out of existence.

Pinch to change your ‘Presence’

You can pinch to change the ‘Presence’ of the music, with the perspective panning out accordingly. Normal is up close and personal, with the sound very much brought to the fore. Distant mode makes the sound spacier and echoier, as if the music is being played further away from you (and thus easier to ignore). Interstellar is even further away and more muffled, as if the music is being played in an adjacent room.

You can also raise or lower the ‘Energy’ of the sound with a downwards or upwards swipe, going from a barely-there burble to a pumping, almost club-worthy groove.

Swipe to change your ‘Energy’

Tap the clock icon to set a timer, after which the vibes will end. Perfect if you want to set a little oasis of peaceful reflection during a busy day, or if you like to nod off at night with a little white noise.

Depending on what exactly you want to achieve, there are five different focus modes you can flit between that will change the nature of the experience. Rise is warm and sleepy, with the odd chime and water sploosh. Focus brings things down to a meditative murmur, Relax is even more sparse, Sleep is restful and twinkly, and Move ramps up the beats for walkers and runners.

Set timers when you want to fall asleep

In a nicely organic flourish, (Not Boring) Vibes can adjust its vibe according to your circadian rhythm and your activity, taking into consideration the time of day and your movement data.

However you configure things, headphones really are recommended here for the full effect. Not only is there the matter of true isolation and focus that you simply can’t get from a pair of iPhone speakers, but the sound design itself is exquisite, making full use of the stereo channels. There’s Spatial Audio support too for that full immersive effect.

There are five core vibes

Besides the aforementioned interactive visualization element, (Not Boring) Vibes adds further gamification with achievements as you reach various goals, which steadily release spirits into the endlessly scrolling virtual world.

The app is free to use, though the $4.99/£4.99 a month subscription tier – which removes ads, unlocks a few extras, and grants access to all five apps in the (Not Boring) series– seems more in keeping with the blissed-out vibes. It would have been nice to just be able to subscribe to this one app for a lower fee, though.

Whether you use (Not Boring) Vibes as a focus tool, a low-key exercise assistant, or a glorified fidget spinner, it’s a classy way to set a calm mood.