iPhone App Review – Wikipanion
Last Updated: July 09, 2011
Designer: Robert Chin Price: FREE
Category: iPhone | iPad | iPod Reference
The other day I was needing to know what the capital of Chile was, so I downloaded the Wikipedia iPhone app and discovered that it was painfully slow and randomly crashed on me. I put wiki into the iTunes search engine and came up with a whole host of third party Wikipedia iPhone apps that all claimed to be better than the real deal. I decided to give Wikipanion a try and I’ve got to say I am more than impressed. Out of all the Wikipedia iPhone apps I believe it has the most features and more importantly the quickest smoothest interface of all the wiki iPhone apps out there. Some of the features that I particularly liked were:
Quick and Easy Searching: Wikipanion makes searching easy for three reasons. First of all it has the auto complete, so most of the time all you need to do is type in the first few letters of what you’re looking for and it’ll pop right up. Secondly, when it displays the search results, it gives you a preview of the entry to make it easy to quickly determine if you’ve found what you’re looking for. Finally, if it doesn’t find anything you’re looking for, it will put your query inquiry into Google to begin helping you find what you’re looking for.
Quick and Easy Dictionary: This feature alone makes Wikipanion stand above the rest of the iPhone apps: The dictionary takes place in a separate window so you can look up a term without having to leave the article that you’re reading! The Wikipanion dictionary is also the only dictionary that I have that will pronounce not only the word, but the definition and more! Also has a thesaurus that is convenient enough that I find myself popping it up when I’m looking for the right word in an email.
Multilingual and Translator: Wikipedia is available in over 50 different languages and Wikipanion? Well, 15. But it’s multilingual and translating capabilities are pretty spot on and I’m easily able to read Spanish translated pages without any problem. My only gripe about this feature is that sometimes special characters don’t display right – which is slated to be fixed soon.
Print Reformatting: Wikipanion re formats each of the Wikipedia pages so that its a lot easier on the eyes and easier to see on the phone. The print becomes larger and it allows for easy scrolling so you can easily get around the article you’re reading. The print reformatting is particularly nice because one of the main issues I had with Wikipedia’s own app is that the text was sometimes hard to see. Other iPhone apps have a zoom function that I’ve found annoying at best.
Keeps a history if you want it too: Wikipanion keeps track of where you’ve been and lets you easily go back, keeping up to the last 100 visited entries for future reference. For privacy, the iPhone app makes it easy to clear your cache at the click of the button. The Wikipanion iPhone app also have the option to reduce or turn off tracking completely.
Bookmarking made easy: The Wikipanion iPhone app has one of the easiest bookmarking systems of any of the wiki apps. Two clicks and the bookmark is set so you can easily recall that article you need to prove “Know it All Bob” at the water cooler that a zebra’s tongue is indeed black! Speaking of proving “Bob” wrong one of my favorite features is…
Prove it: The feature for when you just have to prove that you’re right! Wikipanion includes a quick mail link that allows you to quickly email anything with two button pushes. The multi-tasking capability that was just added also allows you to quickly stop anything you’re doing and whip out an article. Take that Bob!
Pros and Cons
~ Small and Compact – At less than 3 megabytes in size, this iPhone app adds a lot of features to your iPhone without taking much space. Being so small, it also downloads in just a few seconds.
~ Full of Features – If all my hype above wasn’t enough for you I’ll sum it all up. It’s a encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, and official wing man for your iPhone.
~ Free – The other Wiki iPhone apps that have this many features require at least a payment. This is the best free reference iPhone app available.
~ Random Errors – Every so once in a while I get an error that causes the program to crash. I’m usually able to bring it right back up and keep on going but its still annoying none the less. This happens very infrequently, I’ll go days without having any problems and when I finally start to think they fixed the iPhone app, poof!
~ Pictures display funny at times – Common problem with many iPhone apps but it happens here too; sometimes the picture won’t display or will only display half way. Refreshing often helps.
~ Paid features – A couple of the features that I thought would be nice such as offline viewing are available, if you buy the upgrade. Don’t get me wrong, a guy has to make his dollar, but I hate it when I think of a good idea for an app only to find out that its such a great idea I have to pay for it!
There’s not else I can say other that I use this app all the time. I wouldn’t leave home without it and I am now a feared upholder of truth at the water cooler! Here my iPhone app roar!
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