App v. App: Sportacular and SportsTap
Ahh, sports. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. If you are old enough, you probably remember the "agony of defeat" guy - painful on more than one level (for him, and for you if you are old enough to know what I'm talking about). I love me some sports, and thankfully there are some great sports apps for the iPhone. Two of my favorites are freebies - Sportacular and SportsTap. Which one has the edge? Who comes out on top as being more competitive and "sportier?" Who hits the shot at the buzzer FTW?! Check out the App v. App after the break!
How Do They Compare?
I will say up front that I carry a little bit of bias here. I've been using Sportacular for quite a while now and it's become a personal favorite of mine. Brought to us for free via the App Store by Jeff Hamilton, Sportacular is packed with useful features for the sports enthusiast while still maintaining a simple, clean interface.
Sportacular offers regular updates to scores, team standings, stats, and news covering several of the major professional and collegiate sports. Updates come every 30 seconds so you know what's going on as it happens. The major sports that are covered are MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, PGA, LPGA, and NCAA football and basketball. Season and game stats are now available for MLB, NFL, NBA, and the NHL.
It gets even better - Sportacular provides access to league and conference standings, the NCAA Top 25 updated daily, team schedules, NHL scoring and penalty details, NBA latest plays, and even BCS standings. There are other user features available for the sports diehard. If you are into fantasy sports and need to keep track of your favorite teams and players, Sportacular provides a means of creating custom groups for tracking teams and players so you can make important decisions for your fantasy team. Sportacular is now also part of the Citizen Sports network for even MORE access to all things sporty!
Having so many features and tools are just half the battle. The other half is won with a good user interface. Along the bottom of the screen you will find Scores, Standings, Schedules, Stats and More. All are self-explanatory, and More gives you access to News, a Featured Product (as I write this, my current Featured Product is a 49ers shower curtain on sale at Amazon.com - woohoo!), the Sportacular Blog for updates about the app, the list of Sportacular-related web apps, and App Info.
For me, ease of use and having access to updated sports information that I want with a clean, attractive, and efficient interface wins the day. If you don't have Sportacular already, I highly recommend it.
The other favorite sports app on my iPhone is SportsTap by Mobile1Sports, LLC. Like Sportacular, it provides access to scores and stats for the major sports but also goes a bit further by offering even more: MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA, NASCAR, Formula One, IndyCar, AFL, CFL, PGA, LPGA, ATP, WTA, MLS, and top futbol leagues from around the world. If sheer number of sports alone is used to determine a winner here, then SportsTap would come out on top. However, it's much more than how many sports a sports app provides access to - it's HOW the information is delivered.
In addition to scores and stats for all the aforementioned sports and leagues, SportsTap also provides detailed box scores, in-depth team and player statistics, season statistics, and even league transactions for many of the leagues. The information can still be considered "real time", but is updated slightly less frequently than Sportacular - 60 second vs. 30 second updates.
I do like the main screen for SportsTap. It is very iPhone-esque with icons for each of the sports along with notifications in the upper right-hand corner of each icon for any new news items or events. The interface for SportsTap is also pretty clean, but I think it lacks the same intuitiveness that Sportacular offers. For example, to return to the home screen, you tap the SportsTap icon in the upper right-hand corner of whichever screen you happen to be in at the time. There is also a tiny "Home" icon in the lower left corner of the screen. Instead, it would be nice if there were "back" arrows to return to the previous screen rather than have to start from the Home screen again. The devil is truly in the details.
To SportsTap's credit, I do like the "Feedback" option on the Home screen. From here, you can contact the developer for questions or comments. Although well-intentioned, it's a shame that a Feedback icon takes up space on the Home screen because, really, how often will you provide feedback?
Like Sportacular, SportsTap also offers the option for setting up Favorites to track your favorite teams, regardless of sport or league. I also give SportsTap the edge for providing more detail for upcoming games - not only can you access the spread and see who is favored, but scrolling down reveals the past history between the two competing teams and a very detailed game preview.
It's truly hard to go wrong with either Sportacular or SportsTap if you are a sports fan and want all your sports goodness on the fly, conveniently on your iPhone. Given that they are both free and take up little memory space, it's not a tough decision to make to keep them both on your iPhone. However, this IS App v. App, after all, and THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! So, even though it offers fewer sports by focusing on the more prominent professional and collegiate sports, I have to give the nod to Sportacular as the winner here. The simple, clean, and efficient interface and ease of use makes Sportacular a more enjoyable app, in my opinion. But hey, don't just take my word for it. Try them both out and tell us what YOU think!