Last year I reviewed a techy innovation out of France called the Morphée. It’s an offline, low-tech tabletop meditation device, designed to help you relax, feel more calm or help you fall asleep.
This year, Morphée is back with a refreshed, pocketable version of this device called the Morphée Zen. So now, you can carry some zen around with you.
Surely it’s not just me, but these days, I don’t think I’ve ever been more easily distracted. With short-form content on the rise and the brilliance of endless information and entertainment available online, I’m now rarely offline. I love it, but at the same time I’m feeling frequently overwhelmed and overstimulated by the amount of content I’m consuming.
The Zen is a stand-alone, offline product with no screen, which aims to help you manage your stress without any distractions.
The Morphée Zen looks like a large Pebble. It’s a simple palm-sized piece of tech that comes with a pair of white, wired earphones (with a 3.5mm headphone jack), an instruction manual and a USB-C charging cable. There’s no charging wall plug in the box. It’s essentially an old-school MP3 player, with no screen, and all the music and relaxation content is built-in.
To use the device, ensure it’s charged up, plug the earphones in and hold down the Morphée Zen logo to turn it on. A voice will then greet you with a “welcome” and tell you to “choose a theme”.
Around the edges of the Pebble you’ll notice there are six different icons, such as a leaf or music note. These represent the different kinds of meditation and relaxation audio sessions available. Some of the options include guided meditations with a masculine or feminine voice, sounds of nature (aka white noise) or relaxing music.
Once you pick a theme, a five-minute session will immediately begin. There are volume up and down buttons and the option to pause and play by pressing the Zen logo.
And that’s about it. The device is incredibly simple and offers the same experience as the previous, larger version, with golden physical turnkeys. I’ve personally really enjoyed using the previous model and the Zen is much the same.
The experience is great, so the only thing to note is its battery life. It takes one hour and 30 minutes to charge the battery fully and, unfortunately, only offers two hours of audio playback. On one hand, this should be plenty of power for a few short five-minute sessions throughout the day, or even a few back-to-back sessions during a restless night.
But personally, I would love more time between charges, especially because I can be forgetful.
I would hate for the Pebble to run out of juice while I’m on the go.
However, in the device’s defence, even with no screen, it has a small battery light indicator and if it blinks red it means the battery is low. So, it’s unlikely I’ll ever be caught out, and I suppose I’m never too far from a USB-C charger.
Should you buy it?
If not for everyone, I can really see this device being perfect for kids, people with sensory sensitivities, or disabilities. It doesn’t weigh much so it could easily be slipped in anyone’s pocket, who might be needing some time to tune out.
Otherwise, if you’re simply using the device to relax before bed, it’s perfect, but note it does not have a built-in speaker so it cannot play audio out-loud. If you want this ability you’ll need to buy the slightly more expensive Morphée, which is designed to play content aloud but also has a built-in headphone jack.
Although these are well made, high quality products, I’d love to see Morphée bringing down the price on these devices.
I don’t know enough about their production costs to judge, and I suppose this product has niche parts due to its unique design, but seeing as the audio playback technology is quite ‘old’ I’d think it could be at least under $100. At a $50 price point, I could see this product in a lot of different pockets, doing so much good for a range of people. However, at $119.99, it’s still something I’m happy to recommend.
Originally published as Genius new French gadget to reduce screen time
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