Zensorium Tinke heart rate and respiratory rate sensor review

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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Whether it be a pedometer, an exercise tracking app or something else, health related apps and accessories are becoming a part of our everyday lives. Tinke is yet another one of those devices that would like to help you assess your current level of wellness. It can measure your heart and respiratory rates just by placing your thumb on the Tinke dongle for iPhone and breathing normally. The Tinke is available now for $119.99.

The Tinke device is a small dongle that connects to your iOS device via a 30 pin connector. If you have a recent iOS device, you’ll need to buy a 30 pin to lighting adapter. More about that later. Then all you need to do is download the Tinke app and plug in the dongle.

Zensorium Tinke heartrate sensor

After some guidance, the Tinke app asks you to put your thumb on the sensor and apply constant pressure to ensure accurate readings. The device works similarly to other apps that attempt to measure your heart rate through the use of the LED on the iPhone 5 and camera. Essentially, it’s shining a light into your finger and looking for tiny changes that correlate to heart rate and respiratory rate.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to get this thing to work than it should be. For instance, even if you apply constant pressure, your readings may be unsuccessful, in which case you’ll need to try again. Sometimes the app even says the readings were successful, then quickly retracts that statement and asked for you to try again. At times, this app can add to the stress level it’s trying to measure.

When you do get a successful reading in Vita mode, the app breaks it down into a few metrics: breaths per minute, heartbeats per minute and blood oxygen levels. Tinke claims it measures the saturation of peripheral oxygen and that this is a relative measurement of your overall blood oxygen levels. I’m not sure I believe that last one, but the respiratory and heart rate measurements seem pretty good. Zensorium claims the device is accurate to +/- 2 breaths or heartbeats per minute and +/- 3% blood oxygen levels. The app will even do a calculation to figure out your heart rate variability, which is a measure of the stability of heart rate over time. I’m not sure if that correlates to much of anything. Finally, it presents you with a Vita score. This is out of 100, and a higher score is better. This score can and does fluctuate wildly on short time scales, which concerns me as to the usefulness of the score itself.

The other mode is called Zen mode. It instructs you to follow one of the displayed breathing timing guides and time your breaths accordingly. It then measures your Zen level by how in sync your breathes and heart rate are. Presumably, if you’re frustrated, your heart rate will not sync up all that well with your breathing. Or something like that.

The Tinke app itself is both pretty and frustrating to use. It keeps track of and displays your results over time. It also compares them to world rankings to make you feel good (or perhaps bad) about yourself. However, the interface is a pain to use because it has what look like buttons that can be tapped like normal. Instead, they are actually buttons that need to be held, then a drawer with more choices pops up. You drag your finger to what you want to access, then let go. I’m not a fan, to say the least.

I’m also not a fan of the way this dongle doesn’t support recent iOS devices via it’s connection type. The app also hasn’t been updated to support the taller screen of the iPhone 5. In short, I wouldn’t say this product’s own Vita score is anywhere near 100. It needs to work on some things.

Unfortunately, the Tinke costs too much for what it does. While the heart and respiratory rates are accurate and useful, there are apps that can measure your heart rate without the need for a dongle that doesn’t directly support a recent iOS device in the first place.

Appletell Rating:
Buy the Zensorium Tinke

Provides: Heart rate and respiratory rate monitoring
Developer: Zensorium
Minimum Requirements: 30-pin iOS device (compatible with Lightning devices with an adapter)
Price: $119
Availability: Now

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  • Juliana

    – Response from Zensorium –

    Hi Jake, we are sorry to hear that you are not fully satisfied with your experience in using Tinké.

    Our device measures your (1) heart rate but also your (2) breathing rate, (2) level of oxygen in your blood and (4) rhythm of your heart rate by using dual light paths. The developed optical algorithms built into Tinké are very unique, and unlike what was mentioned, Tinké does not require a camera and the measurements by Tinké are not possible to measure by an iPhone LED/app alone.

    We perform a high consistency check with our quality control. Unfortunately the pressure issues that you are facing has to do with the ambient light conditions of the environment. You will see in our quick guide, user manual and in-app screens advising how to take a measurement. We always try our best to communicate via all platforms, please let us know how you think we can improve. I have placed on alert our Support team ( to attend you so that they can identify specific areas required. Do let them know when is best to get in touch.

    Regarding the VITA measurements, our developed VITA matrices goes to represent for your level of Fitness whilst the ZEN measurements evaluates your level of Relaxation via Heart Rate Variability (HRV) after taking through a deep-breathing exercise. I see that you may have misunderstood that the VITA measures for HRV, which it doesn’t.

    Our VITA index however is a blend of (1) Heart Rate, (2) Breathing rate and (3) Levels of Oxygen which are all highly correlated in combination to define your Fitness Level. Because the knowledge of knowing simply your heart rate is not sufficient to help comprehend how your lungs, heart and oxygen are working together to create energy for your fitness, we have thus created VITA and enabled it to provide a quantified indicator at any point in time.

    Finally, we have observed that the Tinké designed app navigation is not for everyone and we will be releasing very soon an improvements to address this matter. The taller screen for new iPhone as you have mentioned is also in the final development stage. Do rest assure that we are continuously making changes to improve your experience.

    Once again, I am sorry to hear that this has been a difficult experience and I hope we can move forward to help you in ways as well as to integrate your feedback into our development.


    Note: Tinké retails for 119 USD at