Review: Pocket Check-Up, by iHealth Soft (iPhone app)
Pocket Check-Up, by iHealth Soft
• Fun “gimmick app”
• Possibly might identify some serious problems
• Not sure about reliability or accuracy
• Needs more reference material
Recently, an app called Pocket Check-Up caught my eye. The app describes itself as nine tests to protect your health. Not having seen something similar before, I thought I would give it a try.
Pocket Check-Up has 9 built in “medical” tests which you can complete on your iPhone. They include a heart rate monitor, vision test, speech audiometry, color testing, astigmatism testing, memory, intelligence, personality, and body mass index. With each of these tests, you either complete the required “exam”, or in the case of the BMI, you simply put in your weight and height. When finished with each exam, you then get a description of your results, how you compare to others, and a couple of sentences about what it means.
The tests themselves are straight forward. For the vision test, you hold your iPhone a distance away and try to recognize letters. For the intelligence, memory, and personality quizzes you simply answer questions or solve puzzles. For the color test you look to see if you can see certain numbers in a color field. That sort of thing.
Once finished, it is sort of interesting to see the results. For example, I have horrible vision, and so as expected I did really poorly in the vision test. I have a pretty good memory and scored perfect on that. But in some cases I am not certain about the results. I actually got a message saying there was a problem with my color vision, when I have never been told that before. In addition, for something like that vision test, if you aren’t hold the iPhone the exact correct distance away, then you might get incorrect results. The test I am most skeptical about (although it seemed to get a reasonably accurate reading) was the heart rate test. You put your finger of the camera, and using the camera lens along with the flash, it somehow detects your heart rate (the flash is bright enough to highlight blood movement? It detects slight changes in shadows due to a pulse? Who knows?).
The result should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt. You are never going to be able get a true personality test simply by answering 40 questions, nor will you get an accurate memory test simply by repeating certain number patterns. I do wish the app had more reference material so you could find out about potential issues and concerns (for example, I wish they the app had told me what dyserythrochloropsia was...I looked it up on Google, but there was no information!!). Funnily enough, anytime you get a test result less than “normal”, there is a button to find the nearest hospital. There is a free version of this app, so if you want to check it out first, you can download the "lite" version.
All in all, this is an funny app that might be useful just for a laugh. It is possible that if there is a person with a serious issue or concern, the app might be able to detect it, but I certainly wouldn’t rely on Pocket Check Up as any medical, psychological, and intellectual authority. At $2.99, it might be fun to download and try out with some friends, or if you just quickly want to check your vision or memory, but it is more of a novelty act than anything else. Three and a half out of four 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.
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