Flipboard Review

In a world filled with misinformation, Flipboard is a necessary change of pace. Most news sources do not cover the topics tha i would consider to be well news. In my opinion, celebrities and sports should not be idolized as they are in our media, because their impact on society is minuscule. This is where Flipboard comes in clutch. It is an app available on Android marketplace as well as the itunes app store. This app allows you to choose the topics that fill your news feed, so there is no more sifting through articles that i have no interest in. The articles that show up on Flipboard come from a variety of different sources. If you were looking for an app that gives relevant up-to-date news, then look no further than Flipboard.

 

iAR: Champions Live 2014-2015

I can’t be the only one that’s excited for another year of Champions League soccer [or Fútbol, whatever suits your fancy], and with good measure too. Barcelona still in a reconstruction phase, the return of Altético Madrid as a power house, Manchester United’s revenue drop, and all the other drama that comes along with the world’s most popular sport. But anyways, this is not a sports review, but a sports app review. If you’re as excited for the Champions League as I am, then you’re probably just as excited to download an app companion to soak in all the joy of the league. Unfortunately,  this is where the excitement ends, like being knocked out of league’s final game, you’re going to feel some disappointment with Champions Live 2014-2015.

Presentation:

Main Home Screen

Screenshots taken by me, I claim no ownership of the app or anything within the app.

At first glance, this app is ugly. At second glance, it still is. The home screen is unimaginative, even worse there’s a micro-transaction that’ll allow you to customize the home screen with your favorite team’s wallpaper… considering how horrid it is to look at the home screen, you may actually put up the $0.99. You shouldn’t however, because lazy development shouldn’t be rewarded, you should be able to add something of your preference without paying money for it. The app is loaded with ads (removed form the screenshots), pretty standard stuff, if you’ve used an app in the last five years you’ve seen the ads in here before. There’s also ads with a pretty blonde in medieval attire, (give it a minute you’ll figure it out) these ads are actually pleasing because the pretty blonde is a nice distraction from the ugly presentation. You can remove them for $2.99 but even with Bill Gates’ credit card I wouldn’t pay the lazy devs. Some team logos are edited beyond recognition if you’re not a soccer fan, at first I thought this was because of copyright issues, but other teams’ logos are in tact, so go figure.

There’s not much else to say about presentation, look at the screenshots, I know you’re not impressed

Usage:

Not only does the app look bad, but its also clunky. Really clunky. The app feels like you’re using an app not meant for a iPhone 3GS and the only reason you can run it is because you’re jailbroken. Yeah its that bad. At the very bottom of the app you’ve got four tabs, Home, Group Stage, Knockout, and Game. Let’s break down each one.

Main Home Screenimage_6

On the Home screen, you’ve go six buttons. The one furthest to the top left is just a link to the app store to rate the app… I’ll be sure to post mine. Right next to it is a settings button with the only useful setting being turning off match reminders. On the top right, you’ve got a Facebook button that allow you to share and like the app and its developers, as well as a Twitter button that you can use to tweet about the app and follow the developers. God knows why anyone would do that. On the bottom left there’s a surprisingly attractive looking soccer ball icon that will link you to other apps from the developer. On the bottom right there’s an equally nice Admitted Teams ticket icon that will bring up a screen with all the teams who’ve made it to the Champions League this year. I wish the rest of the app was as nice looking as these icons.

Team Standings

The Group Stage tab shows you the current group standings. To navigate groups however, you must use the arrows on the top left corner. No you can’t swipe left or right, but you can bounce the current group up and down by sliding up and down… On the top right you’ve got a help button that’ll display what’s what, this feels unnecessary. To the right of that button you’ve got a little flag icon that’ll show you match results but it’s only the Game tab, more on that later.

In between the Group Stage and Knockout  tabs there’s a big refresh arrow, it’s greyed out but is still functional. Interesting design choice… normally when something is greyed out like that it indicates a lack of ability to preform the tied function. Why a scroll down to refresh like that of the Twitter app wasn’t done is baffling.

Previous GamesTeam Predictions

Next the Knockout tab. This is actually where the app shines brightest. This tab shows you the current round and upcoming games. There’s only one icon at the top this time, it’s in the upper right hand side, it’s another little help button. Upon slightly scrolling you’ll be able to see a comment button which will open up a Facebook comment thread with other users. This is actually not a bad idea, however it takes more than a few seconds to load it. This would be even better if the developers had their own service and you didn’t have to sign into Facebook. You can also tap on a game to open up details about it, here you can enter a prediction for the game, which is neat. There’s an “upload” button for the scores that will put them in the Game tab, more on that later. Tapping a teams icon in the screen will open a news feed about that particular team, not bad although it takes more than too long to load. The icons near the top left of this screen don’t seem to do anything, and to the top right you’ve got another help button and an “x” that will return you to the previous schedule. Lastly you’ve got an info button for the stadium the game is being played in and will open the Wikipedia page about the stadium and a comment icon that will bring up the same thread previously discussed.

Upcoming Games

Lastly, the Game tab is a table of every single game where your predicted scores are posted against the real scores. There’s Apple Game Center integration which will give you points if you guess the correct score. You can also open up the your score and view other people’s scores.  Tapping on the games in the tab will do the same as in the Knockout tab, why these to tabs were not combined into one is beyond me. You’ve also got yet another help button in the top right corner. The structure could have been better.

Final Thoughts:

Despite all the negative things I have to say about Champions Live 2014-2015 it is not a terrible app. Sure it feels and looks like it’s stuck in 2009 but I will still be using it for the sake of keeping up with the Champions League. There’s some good ideas here, particularly the social features, but the developers need to work on its presentation and usage, it definitely leaves something to be desire from an app available in 2015. I reviewed this app on an iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 and I give Champions Live 2014-2015 3 out of 5 stars  for its lack of presentation but its creative social integration. Sound off in the comments about what you think! If you care more about the game of soccer than an app’s essence, you can download it here: Champions Live 2014-2015

iAR: Tweetbot

We can all agree that the official Twitter App isn’t the best. That’s not to say that it hasn’t come a long way, the most recent update (5.8.2) is definitely an improvement of where the app was months ago. This is expected of course, most developers aim to fix bugs and what not. Yet the official Twitter App still falls behind other Twitter client applications and even its own Android counter part. Dissatisfied with the official Twitter App, I began the search for another Twitter client, and so I came across Tweetbot by recommendation from AnG’s own Gerardo. Let’s dive into it.

Presentation:

Twitter Feed, Expanded TweetComposing a TweetTweet DeatilsProfile Viewer  Direct Messages

images acquired from Apple’s App Store’s Description of Tweetbot, ownership is not claimed

At first glance Tweetbot can be resembles the interface of the official Twitter App. It doesn’t look like a cheap knock off, it doesn’t feel like one either. It gives Twitter a distinctive look, and with a bit of getting used to, one can even feel as if they are using a more advanced and exclusive version of Twitter. To a certain point you kinda of are. Scrolling through your feed is as easy as ever, it feels smooth and there’s no lag when it comes to the scrolling and refreshing animations. [At least on the iPhone 5] Viewing profiles is a snap; they also have a cleaner look than in the official Twitter App, with a person’s banner up top and their description below their profile picture. [Note the profile in the image above lacks a banner, if a banner were in place, it could appear about their profile pictures]

Albeit, Tweetbot does not refer to your feed as a “feed.” In Tweetbot it is a “Timeline.” When you scroll to the top, you can search the Timeline simply by typing a few letters or words in. Next to the search bar, you also have the option to view all tweets, or just media based tweets. These media based tweets include pictures and videos that have been shared as tweets. If you visit your own profile, or a friend’s profile, and tap to view your or their tweets, the list of tweets is also considered a Timeline, with the search and media functionality at the top as well.

Composing a tweet is second nature to anyone who has used the official Twitter App. You simply tap the compose button in the top right corner and an composition box and keyboard appear. You also have a few options below the composition box and above the keyboard. A little “cog” which is tapped will give you options to add a location, bring up any drafts, or add a note. More on the note later. Next to the cog is the blacked outline of a person, this is basically an “@” button for mentioning some one quickly. And next to that is a tag, this one is for a “hash tag.” Last is a camera icon, which is of course for uploading an image either from your camera or library of pictures.

Personal messaging is also here. In Tweetbot it has more of an SMS look and feel, but this isn’t a bad thing. SMS are personal messages right? Hence this is very welcomed.

Usage:

If you come from using the official Twitter App, learning this app will take you no longer than a few minutes to get acquainted. If you’re new to Twitter and never used official Twitter App, do not fear learning this app is a snap!

On the official Twitter App if you would like to view a conversation, for whatever reason it took forever or never even loaded. In Tweetbot sliding a tweet to the right brings up the entire conversation in a blast! This is really welcomed as sometimes view conversations on my phone was sometimes impossible. Sliding a tweet to the left brings up a detailed version of the tweet, numbers of retweets, favorites, where it was tweeted from, date and time, as well as options to visit the tweeters profile, reply retweet, favorite, copy the tweet link, the tweet itself or email the tweet. There is also an option to “view retweet” which will show you who has retweeted the tweet, “view in favstar” which will show you who has favorited the tweet and even a translate option!

Tweetbot also shows you pictures uploaded from Instagram that are shared with Twitter without opening Instagram, the official Twitter App has long gotten rid of this feature. You can also view videos from Instagram and Vine without opening those apps straight from Tweetbot! If a link is shared, Tweetbot will open it in its own browser, without opening Safari! (You do have the option to open it in Safari if you wish) If media is shared with Twitter, if can be opened in Tweetbot, I can not say this will happen 100% of the time, but I have not come across media that I’ve had to open elsewhere than on Tweetbot.

Regarding personal messaging,there is no lag time when sending/receiving personal messages in Tweetbot. I’m sure it wasn’t just me, but in the official Twitter App I found that when personal messaging, I would receive a message a few minutes later after it was sent, not within a few seconds as it should be. If I sent a message, I was told the other person wouldn’t receive it until a few minutes later  as well. I was very happy to see, that this was not a problem in Tweetbot.

Final Thoughts:

Tweetbot is the most pleasant and premium experience you can have with Twitter on iOS to date. It does everything the official Twitter App does and does it better. You can not find a better Twitter client on iOS! That being said the only thing that turned me off about Tweetbot was its price. At $2.99 , many people might be thrown off by its somewhat high price for just a Twitter client; me myself I was skeptical about purchasing it at first. I am happy to say I took a leap of faith, upon purchasing it I found this app was easy to use and to love. If you’re looking for the best Twitter client for iOS out there, Tweetbot is you choice. You won’t be disappointed, the one time $2.99 fee will be the best $2.99 you will ever spend on the App store. I give Tweetbot 5 out of 5 stars  for its great design, feel, features, and capabilities. You can purchase it and download it here: Tweetbot