Developer: Sophiestication
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.5
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Articles for iPad tries to take the Wikipedia reading experience and make it into something that’s iPad friendly in a separate app. The question I have is simply “Why?”

The app has two particular strengths: one, it reformats articles in a way that’s very similar to Readability and Instapaper. However, it makes sure not to abandon standard Wikipedia features and formatting. For example, page sidebars can be accessed by tapping the i circle below the title image. The table of content is accessed with the button in the top right corner.

The second strength is that it brings a self-contained Safari-esque interface to WordPress browsing. Switching between pages works similarly to switching between browser windows on the iPhone and iPod touch. Bookmarks can be added, pages shared via email, articles printed, and even copied to the clipboard in one press. It’s easy to switch between article languages with a tap of the globe icon. It’s all extremely slick, and a lot of work to make the interface work well was clearly done here.

The only real problem is that I’m not quite sure if this is worth the money for the utility it provides. The app is very well designed and aesthetically-pleasing, but the actual Wikipedia site works well enough through just the browser that I never said to myself “gee, it’d be nice to have a nicer-looking way to browse the articles!” Sure, the app renders pages really well, but why would an app be necessary for this service? The web works well, this app basically uses identical controls to a web browser, so why not just view in a web browser? Safari also offers the ability to tweet articles, which this does not.

So, Articles for iPad is not bad at all. It’s designed very well, and comes with iPad Retina Display support. But the benefit it provides seems limited at best.

Posted in: iPad Reference, Reviews

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