Reviews

Quick Review: Bento for iPad

Bento for iPad [$4.99- iTunes Link] is a fantastic database option for users of Filemaker's Bento for Mac. It is a fast and simple database application for capturing just about anything from invoices to party planning to recipes.

I have been using Bento for Mac and iPhone for a while now. I was very excited to get the iPad version. Bento looks great. There are elegant themes that make Bento appear like a leather- bound book or clipboard. You can create a database on the fly from one of the supplied templates and sync it back to your Mac and iPhone. If you want, you can even make a database from scratch right on the iPad. When creating your database you have a choice of several fields including checkbox, choice, number, text and several more. Adding these fields to your new database couldn't be easier; click the pencil icon and drag the field to the workspace. Once placed on the screen, choose that fields properties. One of the more impressive features I found was the ability to add a Media field and insert a picture directly from Saved Photos on the iPad. There is a nice shadow effect behind the image and it looks really good.

Overall I am very pleased with the iPad version of Bento. The one feature that I would really like to see would be the ability to either export or send via email a record from Bento; there is currently no option to export data from Bento for iPad.

If you have an iPad and need to have a database with you, you will love Bento. Anyone from parents managing their kids schedule to a small business can use the portability and power Bento has to offer. For only $4.99, you are getting a huge value.  If you aren't the creative type, you can always download templates from Bento's Template Exchange.

Check out the Video and Gallery after the break!

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Quick Review: UNO HD for iPad

UNO HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes link] by Gameloft brings the classic card game to bigger, bolder life on that 9.7" screen. At first blush, UNO more so than something like NOVA feels like it could have been a universal binary, sparing existing owners of the iPhone version from having to buy it twice. However, Gameloft wisely upped the anti based on the iPad's-size, offering a 4 player option that makes it eminently more suitable as a true board-game replacement -- you can realistically sit 2 or 4 people around an iPad and start up the multiplayer version of the game, share the screen, and get your UNO on.

You can of course also use single-player mode, or multiplayer between devices either locally or online. The graphics look prerequisite-ly great on the iPad, though we did find the controls a tad challenging (choosing and playing cards weren't quite as buttery smooth as we'd like).

A side effect of the game being run on an iPad instead of with real cards is that it's almost impossible to make mistakes or (gasp) cheat. The game only allows you to play cards you're allowed to play, when you're allowed to play them. Whether that's a good or bad thing we'll leave up to you and your consciences to sort out.

If you like UNO and you want to bring a little bit of real world social interaction back to your family and friends, grab an iPad, fire it up, pass it around, and let us know what you think.

Video of me taking on a challenger, after the break!

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Quick Review: PCalc for iPad

PCalc [$9.99 - iTunes link] is one of the leading calculators for iPhone and now its computing power has been updated (as in universal binary) to include support for iPad.

PCalc is an (optional) RPN calculator that is great for scientists, engineers, programmers, and students. It includes a list of common constants, an ample amount of conversions, a paper tape that can be shared via email, and support for binary, hexadecimal, and octal calculations. You can also customize the look of PCalc with different themes and digit fonts.

The interface on iPad is rather beautiful in both landscape and portrait. The buttons are nice and big and everything is easy to read. Navigation between the menus is a much more pleasant experience than on the iPhone.

To see PCalc in action, watch the video after the break!

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TiPb Give-away: iMaxi iPad Case

Remember the iMaxi iPad Case from Hiphandmaids that we took a look at just before the iPad launch? Well, Hip Handmaids were kind enough to send out one for editor extraordinaire, Rene! How did we select between the white and red 'lived in' versions? Our Twitter followers got to choose!

So stay with us after the break to see Rene unboxing the iMaxi iPad Case, to find out whether your votes got him the white or 'lived in' red version, and to see how you can get an iMaxi iPad Case of your very own. (That's right, we're doing a give-away!)

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Quick Review: Epicurious for iPad

Epicurious [Free - iTunes Link] from CondeNet is one of the best cooking apps you can get on the iPad. It has almost everything you could ask for including over 28,000 recipes, with the number growing daily.

The interface is beautiful with the recipes neatly organized depending on main ingredient, health restrictions, nationality, what's new, and more. The cookbook section of Epicurious is even easier to navigate on the larger iPad screen. You can have the recipe instructions displayed on the side while looking at the ingredients, photos, user reviews, and nutritional information. There is even a little bookmark so you can keep your place as you look at other sections.

Finding what you want in Epicurious is also a breeze. It has a search tool which allows you to find your next meal by keyword. On the sidebar you can simply click or un-click ingredients to filter the results further and match any dietary restrictions or keep the choices narrowed to just the ingredients you have in the house.

Epicurious also has a wonderful shopping list button and if you want to share your latest recipe with your friends you can email it.

For screenshots and video of this must-have iPad cooking app, stay with us after the break!

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Quick review: Flight Control HD for iPad

Firemint's Flight Control HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes Link] let's you try your luck at setting the flight path of dozens of aircraft and getting them to their designated landing areas. Seems simple but as the number and variety of airplanes and helicopters increase so does the difficulty -- and the fun.

They say air traffic control is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and as we found out in our interview with Firemint at GDC, that's exactly where the idea for the game came from.

On the iPad, just like the iPhone, you use your finger to trace the path of the plane to its landing strip and ensure that it does not crash. You have 8 single player maps, 10 aircrafts and the choice of single play or multiplayer. Want to play a friend on the same iPad? You can choose between co-op or vs. modes. Have two iPads? Play over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The game also offers fast forward for those impatient types (me!) and even a 3D map (bring your own glasses!).

Flight Control for the iPad is the perfect game when you need a bit of distractions from life's stresses... by taking on the stress of air traffic.

Check out the video after the break and tell me if I should have made another career choice...

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Quick Review: Apple iPad Case

Apple debuted their iPad Case [$39.00 - Apple Store link] alongside the iPad itself, and had it available for sale the very same day. An elegant black folder with subtle Apple logo meant to cover your iPad like a book, let it stand like a picture frame, or prop it like a keyboard. An attempt at both form and function. Attempt being the key word.

The material is "soft touch" -- designed to make it tackier and easier to grip -- and it really does make the iPad less-likely to slip from your hands or off you lap. However, as much as it sticks to you, dirt seems to stick to it. Smudges, streaks, and light colored stains cling to the thing.

There are the usual cutouts for buttons and rockers, speakers and mics, but a curious ridge that runs along the side almost as though no trimming was done at the factory. It's obviously meant to be there but it's annoying and oughtn't be.

A small flap on the back lets you tuck the cover in to create the triangular structure needed to stand it up in picture/movie mode or raise it up in typing mode. It fits well and securely.

Steve Jobs has reportedly responded to criticism of the case with a quick "we like it", and I guess we like it too -- we just don't love it.

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Case-Mate Hybrid Case for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G

If you have been in search of a tough case that offers dual layer protection while keeping a slim profile the Case-Mate Hybrid Case for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G [iMore Store Link - $29.95] may just be the case you have been looking for. For the full review follow us after the break!

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Quick Review: Photogene for iPad

Photogene is one of the top selling photography apps for iPhone and now we have that same great editing power, plus more, in Photogene for iPad [$3.99 - iTunes link].

Editing images with Photogene for iPad is pleasurable. The big screen allows you to really see the changes and the tools provided by Photogene are easy and intuitive to use.

  • Enhance photos with multiple color adjustment: adjust color levels, exposure, contrast, saturation or manipulate the RGB.
  • Apply filters such as the sharpen or the pencil filter.
  • Crop, straighten and rotate your image.
  • Add fun effects like text balloons, frames or special filters.

I have encountered a few minor bugs when using Photogene for iPad, but I trust that these will be fixed in a future update.

To see Photogene for iPad in action, follow us after the break!

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Quick Review: LogMeIn Ignition for iPad

If you've been using LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone, prepare to be blown away by the iPad version. LogMeIn Ignition for iPad [$29.99- iTunes Link]has essentially the same functionality as the iPhone, but is much faster.

LogMeIn is a free service (with paid options depending on what you want) that works on a Mac or PC. It allows you to remotely control another computer. LogMeIn Ignition brings that functionality to iPhone and iPad. You have full right and left-click support as well as most all of the other useful key functions such as your "F" keys and arrows keys. If performance is an issue, you have complete control from the settings screen to change resolution and color quality. I tend to use Compressed; it is a step above Black and White and allows for a faster refresh. You can also change how you navigate on screen. You have two choices: screen moves or mouse moves. I lean towards screen moves as that gives me the most speed when navigating. Pinch to zoom works like a charm and is blazingly fast.

Ready for the bonus? LogMeIn Ignition is a Universal app, so you buy once and you can use it on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. For those that need a little extra power in their remote sessions, LogMeIn offers their Pro2 account which allows for even more flexibility such as copy/paste desktop sharing and remote printing between sessions. If you aren't sure which works best for you, there is a handy comparison chart.

I can't recommend LogMeIn Ignition enough. It's come in very handy when having to access my home computer.. and even my Mother-In-Law's PC for help. There are several VNC type of clients out there, but this one is fast, zero setup (compared to a VNC configuration) and has plans to meet your needs.

Check out the Video and Gallery after the break!

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