Friday, January 4, 2013

Tablets, phones, and app reviews

I have two different formats for apps (well, technically three if I count my work Macbook, but I haven't had a chance to play with it much). I have a Sony S Tablet (which is an android) and an iPhone. My phone is mainly used for texting and talking. I'm not one of these people who store their life on their phone...that's what a tablet is for (besides, I'm blind as a bat and have trouble seeing that little screen on my phone). I chose an android tablet because I wanted a flash-based system to watch videos and TV shows and such.

I also should point out, I worship Sony. When I need something electronic, Sony is the first place I go and most everything I have is a Sony. Granted, it doesn't always work out, things like DVD recorders, my all-region DVD player, etc, but even my speakers on my work computer are Sony. Yeah, I'm that it the Disney of the electronics world.

I also have to admit that I am an app snob. I don't just download every single new app that comes out, I'm very picky about the apps I choose and I don't just have apps for every single human function like some. I listen to peer comments and reviews, I read the online reviews, I demo the free version first...yeah, just a bit OCD (so what else is new). But when I find a good one, I pretty much use it almost everyday!

Some apps I love so much they live in both worlds, tablet and phone, but not all apps are available in both formats. Typically, apps just work better on my tablet, especially games. I will usually pay for tablet apps and just use the free version on my phone, since it doesn't see as much action. Paid apps usually mean no ads, but some you have to pay to get more functions.

If I would have known when I bought the tablet I would mainly use it to play games and watch TV, I probably wouldn't have spent the money, but now I can't live without it (or at least I think I can't). It is so much easier to pull my tablet out of my purse versus lugging the laptop out (Sony as well, in case you were wondering). But anyway, on to the app reviews.

First up, let's start with security. Yes, you need security on not only your computers, but your tablets and phones as well. Malware is everywhere and unfortunately, it's a product of our thieving society. I tried several apps from the get-go, AVG and Norton both kept crashing. Webroot completely drained my battery in 20 minutes flat! But in the end I ended up with Lookout Mobile Security and used it for a long time, but eventually started to feel like it wasn't doing anything, so I switched to Avast. It scans everything, doesn't harass me about getting the paid version (like Lookout), and I feel a bit safer.

Next up is the Kindle app. Yes, you don't have to have a Kindle to download Kindle books! There are hundreds of books you can get for free and thankfully for me they are mainly all classics - Austen, Gaskell, Bronte, Poe, Radcliff, Chaucer, Byron...well you get the point. And the good thing about the Kindle app versus a real Kindle...the screen is bigger on a tablet for us blind-folk. I don't have the Kindle app for my phone...can you imagine reading on a phone? Ugh! I also still prefer a real book (preferably a hardback..I hate paperback books!). I did try the Nook app, but I found the Kindle easier in both reading and shopping (LOVE the Amazon app store).

Then we have Hoops & Yoyo Sound The Alarm. This is quite possibly my favorite app on my phone (there is no android version as of yet). I've loved Hoops & Yoyo for years (and I'm always surprised when people don't know who they are). I'm a horrible morning person and it takes an act of the heavens to get me out of bed, but this app at least curbs the grumpys a bit more than your average clock alarm! GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! Hilarious!

Now on to the rest, which are games, of course! There are two things which I have always loved...sudoku and puzzles, and, as with everything else on the planet, there's an app for both. The sudoku's were the first apps I went on the hunt for and I tried many many different ones. I still haven't found a good one for my phone yet, but as far as my tablet goes...Andoku Sudoku 2 gets the prize! They have finally released a paid version and it was nice to have more options.

Magic Puzzles comes in many different variations, there is a general free version that is a bit glitchy, but you can also buy packs that tend to be a bit more stable. The 2000+ is a bit misleading because barely any of them are free. One thing you need to know about puzzle apps, not all are actual puzzles. Some, even labeled "jigsaw" are actually those slider puzzles where you move them around until they form a picture. I hate those. I want a real, honest to goodness jigsaw like you get from a box and Magic Puzzles delivers!

Angry who doesn't love Angry Birds! There is regular, Space, Seasons, Rio, and even Star Wars! I am so bad at starting a short little game and playing for hours! I don't care for Space or Star Wars much, the bird functions are just weird, I think the original will always be my favorite. Bad Angry Birds sequel is also not on my favorite list. As a side note, Zachary absolutely loves the Angry Birds dog toys! Like me, the bomb bird is his favorite!

The Haunt...basically just a walk-through with a series of puzzles along the way (and even a real jigsaw hidden), but the creepy music will end up causing you to sleep with the lights on if you play it at night! The graphics are really amazing considering it's not a full video-type game. There is a Haunt 2, and I have it, but have yet to play it. This is not the kind of game you play for a couple of minutes and then stop...plan to spend hours on it like a video game.

The only Disney game on my list (although I have a lot of them) is Temple Run-Brave. I got it before I got the original Temple Run, and I thought I'd love the original just as much, but boy was I wrong there! They are two very different games. Brave is also really the only game that I play on both devices...tablet and phone!'s a music game, similar to a piano (but without the piano). You download songs and tap the screen where the dots are to play them. This app has glitches get most songs, you have to have Smoola, and to get Smoola you either have to buy them (which I refuse to do), or download other games and demo them for points. I have also had issues with songs I worked hard to buy disappearing from my list which makes me doubly glad I didn't purchase them with money. Most "good" songs are 75 Smoola and it takes forever to get that many points. But that's the only downside. It's also not as easy as you would think because you have to hit the dots in the right places, most times using more than one finger!

Last, but not least, 94 Seconds. This is the only game I downloaded to get Smoola that I actually ended up keeping (and upgrading to the paid version)! There is a series of categories and you are given the first letter of a word from that category and you have 94 seconds to finish the word in each category. A category might be chemical and the letter is x (which was easy for me, considering I work in a lab...xylene!). I have yet to finish all categories, but it doesn't stop me from trying! Sometimes my brain just freezes and I end up typing xxxx to be able to move on.

And that's it for my favorite apps. Do you have apps you love? Tell me about them and I'll check them out. Coming up next...crappy apps not worth your money!

1 comment:

Clara Brooks said...

Listening to peer reviews and getting their thoughts first before actually buying is the best practice. It shows that you are a sensitive consumer, one that is really concerned with the product and the service offered. Also, apps are fun and can be helpful at times, we just have to be discerning which one helps us and entertains us most. Thank you for sharing some of your app reviews, some are still a thing of the present. All the best!

Clara Brooks @ Telco World