Review: Sketches, Native App-a-Week

Can’t wait any longer for Native Apps? Me neither. (Late) June seems too far away? I’m with you. So why wait, when you can jailbreak! Over the next couple months before 2.0 is released, I’ll give you guys a glimpse into the jailbroken world of native apps every week. Plus: let's face it, Jailbreaking isn't going anywhere. The SDK is awesome, but some people won't settle for anything less than full-on access to all the hidden bits of the iPhone.

Designed by the folks over at Nullriver, Sketches puts a modern spin on a timeless classic. The premise of the app is simple: it turns your iPhone into a 21st century etch-a-sketch complete with multiple colors, varying lines, shapes, and you got it, a little shake of the iPhone to erase. How does it perform? Is it more than just a gimmick program?

Read on for the rest of the review! (and remember you’ll need a Jailbroken iPhone to take advantage of this native app)

How To Install:

(need a refresh on how to work Installer.app?)

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  • Sketches is a ‘Featured’ program so it’ll be listed upon launching Installer.app. Just look for the icon that most looks like an Etch-a-Sketch!

Design

The overall design of Sketches is great. It looks very much like anything Apple would create themselves. The setup menu offers different stationery to use as your canvas and basic on/off switches. In the main screen there are buttons for: Camera, Camera Roll, Setup on the top row and Undo, Color Palette, Shapes, Export, and Trash on the bottom row.

The look of the program is minimalist clean and straightforward and the app has come a long way into looking seamless with the iPhone (previous iterations had red borders, ugh). The color choices are thorough as well, giving you an option of up to 24 different colors and a spectrum of brush sizes.

In all, the clean interface allows for all the magic to happen on whichever template you choose. The design is at your fingertips.

Usability

Sketches is a program where you are thankful that Apple chose not to include a hard keyboard with the iPhone because the fun is in your fingers. Even the greatest artists artwork might turn into child-like fingerpainting but hey who would paint the Mona Lisa on an iPhone?

To draw squiggly lines simply begin using your fingertips. Multi-touching creates two points where shapes and straight lines form. The canvas is quick and responsive and I have yet to find a glitch. I do have one complaint, it’s hard to draw tiny marks or dot i’s because lightly tapping the screen removes the menu bars instead of creating what you want. I think it would be better suited if only the top portion of the screen brought back the menus rather than the entire canvas.

The program is well integrated with the iPhone, you can use the camera to take a picture and immediately doodle on it or you can bring up the camera roll to find a picture to draw a mustache on. Exporting your sketches is also seamless, I found myself e-mailing some of my sketches to friends and starting a ‘Sketch Battle’. Folks who love Twitter also have the option of sending it to their Twitter accounts.

Final Thoughts

Though the program is simple, it is a joy to use. Every feature seems so polished and intuitive that you are left wondering how on Earth could Apple ship the iPhone without a program like Sketches? Sketches shows the iPhone in all its multi-touch glory. Sure, the program is theoretically limited in the sense that is a ‘kiddish’ app, but hey, we were all better when we were kids.

PROS

  • Extremely Fun To Use
  • Well Integrated With the iPhone's Features
  • Exporting is a Cinch
  • Perfect Interface
  • Great Icon

 

CONS

  • Hard to Dot i's 

 

FINAL RATING: 4.95/5

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Reader comments

Review: Sketches, Native App-a-Week

3 Comments

This program has come a long way since the first versions. It actually looks usable now. Hope they port this to the app store when that goes live.