1. cjvitek's Avatar
    Converter Plus for iPad, by TranCreative Software
    $1.99, ****1/2

    Pros:

    Multiple conversion options
    Landscape and portrait mode
    Multiple conversions at once

    Cons:
    No built in calculator

    As I continue to use my iPad more and more (and find it overtaking my iPhone in general use), I also find that staple apps that I had on my iPhone need to have their counterpart on the iPad. Some of these apps have universal binaries (which, note to developers, I would generally be willing to pay more for!) but many apps dont, so I need to find an equivalent app on the iPad. A converter app is one of the apps I use very frequently, and so I decided to give Converter Plus for the iPad a try.

    Converter apps are pretty straightforward you have a value, you want to convert it to something else. So the real distinguishing features for converters apps comes down to three key components usability, display, and conversions included. In all of these, Converter Plus does a fine job.

    The first thing to look at is the display. Is the information clearly, cleanly presented? For Converter Plus, the answer is a resounding yes. The app works in both landscape and portrait mode. I prefer landscape, which has a column on the left for the conversion type (area, currency, length, etc), a window on the upper right for the units, and a calculator pad on the lower right to input the values. In portrait mode, you only see the unit and calculator pad you need to hit the list button to get the list of conversion types. The display is large (as you would expect on an iPad) and easy to discern any information you would want.

    In the usability arena, one nice thing about this app (and this is due to the screen size) is that you dont need to choose a convert from or convert to unit. Instead, you simply tap the units that you have, and it will show ALL the conversion to any units you want. For example, if you fill in 10 feet, it will simultaneously show you how many meters, centimeters, yard, inches, miles, etc that would convert to. This is a nice little touch that makes full use of the iPad screen size (on the iPhone, with a smaller screen, it makes much more sense to choose to and from units). It is easy to switch from one conversion type to another, and the calculator style keypad make data entry a snap (I am glad they went with this instead of using the keyboard).

    The conversions included and numerous. There are over 60 templates to choose from. These include the standards (length, volume, time) and also include unusual ones such as velocity, cooking, entropy, moles, surface tension (to name a few). It also includes some useful calculators like a tip, sales tax, mortgage, inflation, and loan calculators. Unfortunately, it doesnt include just a normal, basic calculator which I would have loved to see (given the lack of this built in app on the iPad). But you should find just about any kind of template you would want.

    Within the templates, the units are just about as complete as can be. Each template has the default settings but you can add additional units if you like. For example, the default settings for area include acre, HA, square meter, square yard, square feet, square km, square mile but you can add nine other units (like square inch, square cm) including some I have never heard of (like perch, homestead, township. Did you know that one township is 36 square miles?

    All in all, Converter Plus for the iPad is a great conversion utility. If you find that you need one on a regular basis, you cant go wrong with Converter Plus, which includes a wide array of templates and units for conversion. Unfortunately it doesnt have a basic calculator option, although it does include templates like a tip calculator or interest calculator. The $1.99 price is very reasonable for what this app delivers. Four and a half out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = 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. 
    06-18-2010 04:15 PM
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