Review Series: Iphone Apps

3 Apr

IphoneReviews

Another installment of my review series and this time I am going to review a few Iphone Apps that I have purchased.  I purchased these all on my own (and well most of them freee!) and this is not a sponsored post.  I recently cleaned up my Iphone and there are still Iphone apps that I have on my phone that just keep lingering on my phone (some for years!) for no real reason except I think one day I will use this precious app (isn’t that what hoarders say???).  I didn’t focus on the usual apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, and Instagram because I think most people are aware of these apps and commonly use them.  I always enjoy going to a blog and reading about a new app I can download and so I hope you can find at least one new app that might make life a little bit more fun..healthier…0r easier!  I will warn you that this post is a bit long! I figured I would do a good/bad app in each category of Iphone App that I review so here goes…

Foodie Iphone Apps

Fave: Grocery IQ (free): Now before I started using my favorite organizational app (a review down below) this was my go-to grocery list.  I could type in what I needed, scan what I needed, and even speak what I needed to add to the grocery store.  This was easier for me as I always had my phone with me and so if I stopped in the grocery store I could have on hand my grocery list.  There is a section where coupons is attached and I didn’t take full advantage of this aspect because I did more of the odds and ends grocery shopping rather than the full fledge grocery shopping that my husband does.  I can even email the list to my husband although he still prefers a paper list and so we didn’t use the emailing as frequently as I would like.  You can also put in your location and find all the grocery store/convenience stores in your area which could be helpful if you moved to a different area or were taking a roadtrip and wanted to see where you could stop. Overall I found this very useful and kept me organized when it came to grocery shopping (it also kept me on task with not buying outside items that were not on the list).

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Rant: All Recipes.com Dinner Spinner (free): This is one that I have had for a very long time and I sometimes go to it just to get new ideas for dinners and recipes and each time I leave without finding anything for dinner! I believe it is their scaled down recipes from allrecipes.com and so the variety is just not there and some of the recipes are a bit obscure.  I have had this app for probably 3 years and I think I have made 2 things off of this dinner spinner app.  They do have a pro version for $2.99 and so maybe that one would be better than their free version.  It has more recipes (40,000 recipes), can attach a grocery list (which then you wouldn’t need grocery IQ), share grocery lists, and view in a kitchen friendly format.  Since I don’t love the free version I am not sure I would spend the money to pay for the pro-version especially with having a computer that faces my kitchen I could just look up the recipes on my computer at home.  I love their website, but not a fan of their app.

 

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Photography Apps

Fave: PicFrame ($.99): For as many photographs as I take I rarely use a photography app as I am on the go and just click and share pretty quickly.  I was obsessed with this app for quite some time and I love using it (although never think to on a regular basis).  I think for the price it is a great collage resource and being able to share multiple pictures at once or even side by side pictures.  It is a fun tool and I think I don’t use it more because it is in a folder rather than it isn’t a great app.  I love you can shift the pictures to fit the frame and select how many pictures you want in a collage.  You can also change the style of the pictures and even share pictures! I really should use this more often! I am pretty impressed with this app and even though I don’t tend to spend time using photography apps this is the one I use the most over the year.

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Rant: Photoshop Express (free): For the caliber that Photoshop is on the computer I just had high expectations for this app when I downloaded it.  I thought it would have more tools like the regular Photoshop and one the main reasons it is on my rant is that it doesn’t allow you to add text to your picture.  I think this additive would do wonders for the app and I would use this app more frequently for sure! You can do most things on other popular photography apps and although I do like that you can share with FB it isn’t very user-friendly.  Some of the buttons are hard to use and overall I am just not as impressed as I thought I would be in the name of Adobe attached to this app.

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Music Apps

Rave: Shazam (free): Now I think most people would say Pandora for this category and I do have a love for that app–but I just loveeee what Shazam does for me and my music collection! Now that I have a little commute in the morning I hear songs on the radio that I really love and if they stick in my brain for about a week or I wish that during my commute I will hear the song again I know it is time to add it to my iTunes collection.  Most times I have no clue what the song is or the artist who sings the song so this comes in handy! I have used it for the radio and TV shows/movies for years and still to this day its my go to music app.  It stores the songs that I have “tagged” to find out who the artist is (first tag was on Sept 19th, 2009 for Make you Feel my Love by Adele-a little factoid) and with a click of a button you can add it to your itunes catalog! SO SO EASY! I LOVE IT! My last song I shazamed was just the other day (March 29th) and it is Next to Me by Emeli Sande’–check it out!

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Rant: Songza (free): Now this app is free so once again I shouldn’t complain too much because I didn’t pay anything for it–but I totally went out on a limb for Songza and then it burned me!  So I kept telling my husband that Songza was better than Pandora and he needed to make the switch and I tried for a good couple weeks to convince him (he is a Pandora die hard) and then finally on a weekend I convinced him to try it out on a roadtrip and IT WAS SO BAD! We had to skip most songs and it didn’t really go with the genre and since I had been listening to Songza for about a month at that point some of the playlists didn’t change from one day to another! The hubs looked at me like…THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN RAVING ABOUT??!!! Then I had to take a second look at it and then tried Pandora again just to see if Pandora was superior to Songza and….it was (hang head low).  I very rarely use this anymore because when I need to stream music I tend to head towards Pandora.  I will say though that their Workout playlists are really good and upbeat and help me keep a good pace of working out.  So it is free and if you are looking for some new workout playlists I say hit this app up! (I will also say that the hubs and I do gravitate towards certain genres of music so if you are more open to music choices you may like this app a bit more than what I am reviewing it as).

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Travel Apps

Rave: USAToday Auto Pilot (free): I will say that I don’t travel very frequently and I don’t have to travel for business so these reviews are for apps that travel more casually.  Whenever I am going to fly I always input my flight into this app as it gives me information about boarding gates and if we are on time/delayed and also a directory of hotels in case we do get delayed overnight.  It is a very simple travel app that doesn’t do a whole bunch of things, but if you are taking a flight I would recommend downloading this app as it has saved us some headaches while traveling before.  My husband is a bit of an anxious flyer so any and all information he can get about the flight put him at ease a bit when we do fly and this app has helped in easing some worries as well.  A great app to just have in your pocket if you are flying.

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Rant: TripCase (free): This is a very similar app to the USA AutoPilot as it checks for delays and gates and other items–but you can also check for other items like weather, money converter, trip directions, sharing itinerary.  Now most would probably think I would like this one more because it is still free, but has many more gadgets.  Well I think it just has too much going on in one app that it can get confusing to navigate and at times I can get lost in the app trying to figure out flight information.  I don’t use the app for really anything more than just checking to see if the flight is delayed so everything else gets in the way.  I love that the USA AutoPilot is quick and simple and I don’t need to type in a password and I can get my information fast.  For others who like all those additives this might be a rave for you and it is free so why not try both and see which one you like!

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Health App

Rave: Calorie King (Free): Now before I had a baby I enjoyed FitnessPal immensely because I counted calories and was being motivated to get healthy with my sister who was using the same app.  People love this app and I would highly recommend it as well I just don’t have the time/energy to count calories.  What I do like to do though is to make healthy choices when it comes to food.  With the Calorie King App I can look up almost any store/product to see what the calories and nutritional value is to the food.  I use this mostly when I am eating out so that I can make sure I know what I am going to eat and how much physical exercise I would need to do in order to burn off most of the extra calories.  It gives you the food by least amount of calories to most amount of calories and once you have the information it can be easier to make smart decisions in a restaurant/take out.  This has helped me out tremendously and it is quick and easy and something I can easily do right before I head out to eat.

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*Bonus Rave: Fooducate (free): I have been using this one more and more as I get away from only focusing on calories and really focusing on healthy foods that don’t have as many toxins in them (especially for my daughter).  This one isn’t my rave at the moment because it’s not on my iPhone at the moment (just my Ipad) and so it isn’t as readily available as Calorie King is and so I do need to fix that! What I love about this app is that you can scan a product or type in a product name and it will give its nutritional value, a grade A-D, and also give you alternative choices to increase the grade.  In one instance I was getting scan happy one day and I scanned our spreadable butter and I found out it was on the FDA watch list (YIKES!).  Now for individuals who don’t want to know what is in their foods then this isn’t the app for you–but it has helped us pick better choices for our daughter and gives me alternative items to feed her.  I had to add it in even though I haven’t used it as much as I should recently!

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Rant: Lose It (free): Once again a Rant that is a free app! I downloaded this app before I downloaded FitnessPal and I set it up and got ready to use it and then just…never did.  It sits on my phone not have been used since …I don’t even know! I think it was just too detailed and too much work for me to really keep up with it or even want to start “the program”.  I know a bunch of people who really loved this app, but in my opinion FitnessPal is so much more user-friendly and helps motivate you better than with Lose It.  It is an app that I was hoping to love, but just never kept me motivated to use and I think it lasted about 2 months of me using it and then I just stopped going to the app.  Once again it is free and it is a tool to lose weight, but I think there are better apps out there to help you achieve your goals.

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Fitness Apps

Rave: Sworkit (free)/Sworkit Pro ($.99): I have the Free Sworkit as this is more of a recent download in the past few weeks.  I really enjoy the variety of workouts that I have been getting with this free app! You get to choose a length of workout, type of workout, and even the exercise program you want! You can listen to music while you are doing the workout as well.  I am considering purchasing the Sworkit Pro because I do enjoy the Free version a ton! One of the main reasons is that in the Free version you don’t get any audio clues to when a new position is happening so you have to keep your eye on the screen at all times where as in the Sworkit Pro there are audio clues for the workouts.  You can on the Free version though see what the exercise is supposed to look like which has been helpful when the picture just isn’t doing the move justice.  On the Sworkit Pro there are bonus videos, goal setting, stat tracking, and an optional 30 second break (for those water breaks you need!).  I really have loved this app as you don’t need equipment to do the program, you can do them at home, and they have some quick workouts that are really helpful.

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Bonus Rave: RipDeck (.99): So I bought this when I had insomnia one night and wanted to add something more to my workout routine that I could do at home.  I found this app and decided to purchase it at 3am.  When I woke up in the morning I was like ummmm…what did I buy???!!! Well I am pleased to say that the couple of times I have done this workout it has KICKED MY BUTT.  IT HAS KICKED MY HUSBAND’S BUTT! The kicker…WE DID IT ON BEGINNER LEVEL!! Not even a full deck!! HOLY MOLY! It is fast pace (beginner took us between 10-14 minutes) and we were sweating and hurting at the end of the session.  It is definitely a strengthening/cardio routine.  I would say that it is also a HIIT (High intensity interval training workout) routine just by the quickness and different challenges we had to do.  I am really glad that I purchased this as it isn’t a full workout, but for little amount of time you can get a huge impact.  Our goal is to get to the full deck (that includes Jokers and when you land on a Joker you have to do 20 burpees. oh.em.gee.).  I have become a little stagnant in the weight loss department and I think this will kick-start it back up again! Well done 3am self!

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Rant: RunKeeper (free): I haven’t used this app in a while and so I am using old information on reviewing this app.  It may have updates that are better or maybe there is a Pro app that is superior to this app as well. Even looking at the picture of the app below my old version doesn’t have the mph/cal on it so that is an improvement to the one I used! I don’t run very option anymore, but when I use to I tried to find an app that would help me keep track of my mileage on the road.  I wasn’t ready to buy a GPS watch and so I was just looking for an app that would track my mileage.  This one worked well most days, but found it hard to use indoors and on cloudy days.  It would stop working and I wouldn’t realize it until I was mid way through the run and I didn’t know how far I went and so I found I had to guess at the length of my runs.  It kept track of the time, but I couldn’t tell the pace I was going for each mile which would have been really helpful.  The free version at least was very basic and didn’t give me all the needs I wanted in an app to use on a regular basis and the information was shotty when using the app.  It also drained my battery significantly when I had it running.  I never found a great running app and I think if I kept up with the long distance running I would have broken down and got a GPS watch to make life a little easier and my runs easier to track.  I was disappointed with the app, but it was actually one of the better apps I found out there back when I was running.  I still have it on my phone to look back at old runs I did in the past, but I don’t use this app at all anymore.

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Pregnancy Apps

Rave: Sprout (free): I must have downloaded a million apps when I found out I was pregnant and then I really only used 2 apps the entire pregnancy.  Most I found to be not very useful or the information I got from the app I could easily get from my two favorite apps.  This one was my favorite because I actually still use this app to keep track of my weight.  I was actually really sad when I did a switch over to my new phone because I lost weight loss data from July-March and I enjoyed looking at my progress and months that I may need to worry about with weight gain.  But I digress… I really enjoyed the weekly updates and seeing the baby grow and what it would look like each week.  I appreciated the technical information about the growth and quick information I loved to get from this app.  I actually used this app to track my contractions and to keep information about questions for the doctors and other information.  I utilized the to-do list and was able to keep track of most items through this app!  For a free app it was really well-rounded and definitely a favorite throughout my entire pregnancy.

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Bonus Rave: Baby Center My Pregnancy (free): I loved this because I was involved with the forums online through BabyCenter and so I was able to connect with the forums through this app.  I enjoyed getting to scroll down through the weeks and see what was happening with my baby/body and to see what I had to look forward to.  It was attached to a strong online presence so I used this app and website quite frequently through my pregnancy.  I think it would have won over Sprout for information and use because of the forum, but the fact that I still use the Sprout app to keep track of weight it won over this app.  Both are equally great and I used both apps for different reasons and glad that I had both of these on my phone.

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Rant: When doing a clean up of my Iphone I deleted all of my pregnancy apps because I just didn’t find them helpful at all pregnant and so I don’t have any specific ones that I wouldn’t recommend.  I would just say stick to the free pregnancy apps because I don’t think any would be worth it (although I haven’t been pregnant in over a year and so apps might have gotten increasingly better since then!).  Wish I had more specifics to rant about–but overall wasn’t overly thrilled with the pregnancy apps that were out there in 2011-2012.

Miscellaneous Apps: 

I had two additional apps I wanted to talk about, but didn’t really have a category for the last two apps.  They are both raves and thought that they should be talked about in this raves review.

Rave: Period Tracker Lite (free): No one likes to talk about periods or have a period for that matter. Flowers and butterflies aside I think this is a great period tracker. This will be a brief review, but I tried a couple different period trackers and I found this one to be the most resourceful for me.  It sends a reminder of when I will potentially get my period (hey I am a busy mom sometimes I forget!), how long my periods have been, and a calendar that I can track all sorts of data like mood and symptoms and sexual activity.  I can see people utilizing this as a way to get pregnant, but I use it more for keeping track and making sure that there isn’t anything irregular happening with my body.  It has been a great tool since pre-baby!  There is a deluxe version, but for what I use it for the lite version is enough for me.

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Rave: Awesome Note ($3.99): This app has a bit of a hefty price tag on it!  I really only buy apps that are $1.99 or less, but I made an exception for this app.  I read some reviews by bloggers–this one most helpful and then some information on their website.  At first I thought it was going to be one of those apps that I bought thinking I was going to use it to stay organized and then never use it, but I am happy to report I have been using it and it has been extremely helpful! I haven’t been utilizing it to its fullest capacity, but I now keep a to-do list similar to Andrea’s blog showed, my grocery list, to-do list(s), and the calendar (one of my favorite parts!).  I also keep a work to-do list separate from personal list that I check to make sure I am on track for some of those things I think about in the shower and then forget by the time I get to work.  Something I saw on Andrea’s was a gift idea list and I think this is an awesome idea! People are always asking me what Lexi wants/needs and if I have a running list then I can be more useful rather than staring at them blankly and being like ummmm… So overall I am really loving the ease of this app and glad that I got this app (even for the price tag).  I wish there was a lite version so that people could see if they would use it and implement it into their daily lives, but I say if you are looking for something to get you a bit more organized and you are on your phones quite frequently this may be the app for you!  I know I don’t use it to its fullest capacity yet, but I wanted to make sure I kept it simple so that I would continue to check and add to it every day and stay productive.  Hope I can learn more about the app and streamline more items in my life!

So there you have it! My roundup of Raves/Rants for Iphone Apps that I have been using/not using! Any you would add to the list? Do you have an all time favorite app?

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One Response to “Review Series: Iphone Apps”

  1. Ali April 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Hi! Thank you for including RipDeck – Deck of Cards Workout on your iPhone app blog. What an awesome review! You are such a good writer and so witty. We are thrilled by what you wrote. It is why we do what we do!

    Please send us a custom RipDeck workout and we will feature it and your blog on our In-App News and social media.

    Thanks again!

    Ali Wimberly
    ali@warmfuzzyapps.com

    Like us on Facebook and follow @ripdeck on Twitter.

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