Review: Home Inventory Manager, by John Sverin
Home Inventory Manager HD, by John Sverin
• Detailed information fields available
• Easy to view summary of values
• Missing some obvious (to me) features
• Limited customization available
• HD version is not a universal binary (see below)
The other day I was thinking to myself about the importance of having a home inventory of personal belongings, in the event of some loss due to fire, floor, theft, hurricane, etc. I looked through the app store for an app to help with this, and found Home Inventory Manager. While useful, I found the app also lacks some key features I would expect or hope to find in a home inventory manager.
The app is very cleanly laid out, with a table on the left side showing the total value in various categories (furniture, electronics, etc), while the table on the right goes through the list of items you have put in to the app. Entering something you own is very easy – hit the plus button, then fill out the various categorical fields – brand, cost, where purchased, serial numbers, condition, current value, etc. Tapping on any of these fields allows you to input the information. If you have entered something already (say you are entering a second TV from Samsung) you can choose from an existing list of values for that field. You can add photos for the item as well. Once finished, hit “done”, and the item will appear in your inventory list.
That’s it, nice and easy. And those are the basics of what you are looking for in a home inventory app. However, when I was coming up with my “ideal” app in my head, I have some more features in mind that would be available. It would be nice to categories the photos, for example – so you can take a photo of the serial number, the receipt, the warranty card – whatever you like. While you can do that now, there is no way to “tag” a photo.
It would also be nice to be able to add custom fields – or at least add notes about an item. While the basic information is there, maybe you want to add some personal information about an antique that you have, who may have appraised a specific painting, or about the specific circumstance where you received a gift. It would also be nice to have additional methods of sorting your belongings – currently you can sort based on “incident” (which presumably means if something was lost or replaced due to some event). But what about sorting by room? Or by value? Maybe sorting by where you got things, or how old they are.
You can export data via email, dropbox, or iTunes (which presumably means you have to connect to a computer to download a file). No options for iCloud or printing, which would also be a great feature. Lastly, the HD version (for the iPad) is not a universal binary. There is an iPhone version, but it would be great to have one copy that contains the same information for the iPad and iPhone – you can use your phone to walk about taking pictures of everything, and then edit the data on the iPad.
All in all, this is a nice, basic home inventory app, but it lacks some of the bells and whistles that I would hope to find in a more developed inventory app. If you just want to categorize some basic items (maybe the most valuable things in your house) this might do the trick, but if you are looking for any detailed features, you probably should keep on looking. The price is a little high ($4.99) for the app with such a limited feature set, especially since you can’t use it on both the iPhone and iPad. Three and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.