Reviews

Todo for iPad - app review

Appigo's Todo for iPad complements their existing Todo for iPhone app very well and if you already use Todo for iPhone, you will be quite pleased with the iPad version. If not, you'll certainly appreciate Todo for iPad on its own merits.

One of the first things you will notice is the aesthetic; Appigo went for a traditional three ring binder look and feel. You can change the color of the binder, paper and rings in the settings menu. Appigo promises more themes in a future update.

Outside of looking pretty, Todo gets the job done just like its iPhone cousin. You can create a your standard task, project, checklist, contact or website. If you are a Getting Things Done (GTD) user, you will be happy to know that @contexts as well as tags are supported. Holding the iPad in landscape gives you full view of all your task information. On the left side you have your lists, Inbox, Starred and Focus list. Let's discuss this in a little more detail.

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BabyBump pregnancy tracker for iPhone - app review

BabyBump is a pregnancy tracking application for the iPhone, and excellent for both mothers- and dads-to-be or anyone interested in following someone's pregnancy.

The home screen of BabyBump displays your chosen avatar, name, how many weeks and days you are along in your pregnancy, what trimester you're in, and how many days left until your due date. BabyBump is divided into 8 different sections:

  • Weekly info - This is my favorite section. BabyBump gives the approximate length and weight of your baby and compares his/her size to a fruit or vegetable. It also provides information about your Baby's developmental stage, what to expect with your body, and a health tip.
  • Journal - Here is where can record your weight, waist size, moods, and appointments. You can view charts of your weight and waist changes.
  • Photos - A place to store photos.
  • Birth - This is an excellent section of BabyBump. There is a very tasteful and informative video of the birth process, a list of newborn essential items that you need for Baby's arrival, and a checklist of your birth plan. When your baby is born, come to this section to create a quick birth announcement and send directly to Twitter, Facebook, and email.
  • Kick counter - A nice timer to record kick sessions.
  • Contractions - A similar counter to record contractions.
  • Baby names - An organized list of 1000 boy and 1000 girl names. You can store a list of favorite names and add any names that aren't on the list.
  • Community - This is a forums board. There are many different forum categories including a section for dads!

I have been using BabyBump since December and have seen multiple updates and improvements in the past months. BabyBump is an excellent iPhone companion for pregnancy; in fact, it's a must-have app for anyone pregnant.

[$4.99 - iTunes link]

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Fieldrunners for iPad - app review

Fieldrunners for the iPad, from Subatomic Studios, LLC, is a tower defense-style game, where the object is to obliterate the fieldrunners before they get to your base. To do this you place weapons on the field so that they will take out all fieldrunners before they get to the other side.

You start the game with 20 lives, which translates into 20 enemies that may pass through your defenses before the game ends. The placement of your defences is in real time, though after each level you do get a small amount of time before the fieldrunners start their attack. Strategy is paramount, as the towers you set up early in the game are still in play for later levels. You do not want to have to sell and move around towers as this will use up valuable resources (arms sales are not as profitable as they once were).

A large green ring indicates where your tower can be placed, a red ring indicates a illegal placement. The size of the ring shows you the range of the weapon which is very important for game strategy. Just clicking on the weapon will bring up the upgrading/sell options. Fieldrunners allows you to choose what difficulty you want to play in. So for veteran tower defense players starting on easy may be quite a bore, however as the game progresses each Fieldrunner you obliterate gains you more funds to purchase weapons.

The controls are very simple -- just point click and drag. You place your finger on the tower you want and then drag it to the location you want. All of the game options are also accessible through the game with a touch of your finger. You can also choose to put Fieldrunners into fast forward to accelerate the onslaught.

The game graphics are very clean and cartoonish yet not childish. Even the background of the game is beautifully rendered along with little bugs and flowers (not girly, I promise!).

Fieldrunners is really fun game for anyone who enjoys the tower defense genre. The increasing levels of difficulty keep Fieldrunners enjoyable and challenging. Well worth the price tag.

[$7.99 - iTunes Link]

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QuickReply for SMS on iPhone - Jailbreak app review

QuickReply for SMS functions basically as an expanded plug-in to the built-in SMS app.  There is no icon for QuickReply and it just interacts with built-in functionality.  QuickReply attempts to solve a lot of the problems that the native SMS app still has.  The major one being when you get a text, you have two options, either close the text or view it to respond.  If you're in the middle of doing something on your phone, it'll close you out of it in order to take you to the text app.

QuickReply solves this problem by adding another button.  In addition to the traditional close and view buttons, you'll see a reply button to the right.  When you click reply, it'll simply bring up a keyboard and you can reply to the text without interrupting the app you are currently running.  When you're done, tap send and you're done!  The keyboard disappears and your text sends in the background. In settings, you have the option of changing the traditional keyboard to a transparent type keyboard if you'd like as well.  You'll also see an option to replace the view button with a call button.

With the latest update to QuickReply, contact pictures were added. I thought this was a really neat addition. If you have a picture set for a person in your address book, it'll pop up in the right hand top corner of the text on the homescreen. Speaking of the homescreen, QuickReply also allows you to reply directly from the homescreen. Enabling the lockscreen option in settings will allow you to double-tap a text off the homescreen and bring up a keyboard to respond without even having to unlock your phone.

QuickReply is definitely one of those apps I'd sorely miss on a stock iPhone. For anyone who's jailbroken, it's definitely worth the $2.99. And if you'd like to try it out, they have a trial period available.

[$2.99 - Cydia Link]

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FlickStackr for iPad - App Review

FlickStackr for iPad is a Flickr browsing application. The interface is beautiful, intuitive, and a pleasure to use.

With FlickStackr, you can browse photos on Flickr, even if you don't have a Flickr account. If you do, then you can also browse your photostream, sets, favorites, groups, and contacts. FlickStackr also displays EXIF data, tags, and comments. The main feature that is missing from FlickStackr is the ability to upload photos. However, iPont promises to bring that ability in a future update.

In addition to the wonderful online photo viewing that FlickStacker brings to iPad, it also allows you to save photos locally for offline viewing. iPont calls this feature a "Stack". You can choose any photos from Flickr to save to your stack. It only saves the actual images, however, not the EXIF data that's associated with them.

FlickStackr is an excellent app for experiencing Flickr on the iPad, and for only $0.99, it's quite a steal!

[$0.99 - iTunes Link]

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Smartphone Experts S&C retractable cable for iPhone and iPad - accessory review

The Smartphone Experts S&C retractable sync and charging cable for iPhone and iPad [$4.95 - iMore Store Link] is for those who abhor long cables that always getting caught, tangled and the imposing clutter, the SmartPhone Experts S&C Retractable Cable for iPhone is the way to go. Small and lightweight, you can take it with you everywhere and charge/sync your iPhone through the USB connection on your laptop or computer with ease.

The Smartphone Experts S&C Retractable Cable for iPhone expands to a length of 2 ft. and has a locking feature which allows you to choose which length you would like the cable locked at. A light tug on the cable and it retracts back to its wound state. When wound, the Cable is only 4.5 inches long, making it very easy to bring with you. My regular usb S&C cable was always a tangled mess when I carried it loose in my briefcase. A good deal of time and effort was spent on untangling the cord from whatever it had become attached to. With the Smartphone Experts S&C Retractable Cable for iPhone, charging and syncing my iPhone is a snap, just take it out of my briefcase and plug it in and when I am done a quick tug and is thrown back into my bag. The cable is quite well constructed and after a month of use it is still working like new.

I would recommend getting this for everyone who charges and syncs their iPhone. I absolutely love this Cable and at $4.95 it is practically free (appeals to my Scottish side).

Pictures and video after the break!

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Panda Hero for iPhone - game review

Panda Hero from Barefoot Explorers LLC is a cute iPhone game with a cuddly eco-friendly message where the objective is to free your animal friends from poachers while you avoid poisonous mushrooms, pits, and other dangers. After you complete a level you also get to have your own virtual panda to take care of and enjoy.

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Gowalla for iPhone - app review

Gowalla for iPhone is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. For those of you not familiar with the whole "check-in" craze, the idea is you travel around town, land at a "spot" such as the movie theater, gas station or restaurant, and then tap the Check-in button. When you do this a couple things happen:

You can...

  • Post to Twitter and Facebook
  • Add a photo
  • Add a quick post
  • Leave an item

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Gowalla for iPad - app review

Gowalla for iPad is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. Gowalla for iPad is available now in the App Store for free [Free- iTunes Link]

Gowalla is the newest entry into the whole "check-in" craze. Why check-in? With Gowalla the main goals are to see where your friends are and to collect items. However, this process is mainly reserved for the iPhone app. The iPad version of Gowalla provides beautiful access to view your activities (where you and your friends have checked-in), see what spots are in your area (spots are places to check-in) and your Passport (a summary of where you have checked in, stamps, pins and items collected.

This app is an excellent companion app to its iPhone cousin. The large screen really gives you great access to view where your friends are in real-time across the world. You can pinch and zoom from your city to the whole world in a breeze. You can learn more about a location or friend by tapping on their name on the map. Spots also dynamically appear when the map is moved to a new location, very slick.

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Quick Review: Dashboard for iPad (Jailbreak)

Dashboard for iPad is a Jailbreak app that will appeal to anyone who likes having widgets -- like that little tiger puzzle -- on their desktop computer.

Since Apple won't allow widget apps on the official App Store, it's Jailbreak only. You can get it free through Cydia and is a decent tweak for being in it's beginning stages.  As of now, you're stuck with whatever default widgets are at the bottom. Actually, a user in our comments section brought to my attention you CAN install new widgets through SSH.  If you plan to SSH, as always, approach with caution.  Not recommended for beginning jailbreakers! I'd assume we will see some start popping up in Cydia and Rock soon.  Video after the jump!

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