Developer: Banzai Labs

Price: $1.99
Version: 4.1
App Reviewed on: iPad

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Beautiful Planet HD is an interactive journey around the world that features some very nice photography by Peter Guttman. Upon firing up the app, you are presented with a map of all the continents. You can slide around or pinch to zoom in on various thumbnail pictures that dot the globe. If you click on a point of interest a slide show of pictures relevant to the geographical area pops up in full screen. The slideshow interface offers some nice options such as music controls, the ability to share or save the photographs (to your iPad’s photo library), and an information panel that explains a bit about each picture. There are several locations to view, and each location has a handful of photographs tied to it. All the photographs are great resolution with interesting subject matter, but I was a little upset about not being able to zoom or pan the photos. The app description also mentions that the app is a travel planner, but I couldn’t find any features conducive to preparing for a trip (other than looking at some of the pictures and saying, “I’d love to go there!”).

The app has a relatively limited scope considering that the content is all from one source. I actually finished viewing all it had to offer in a very short amount of time. It is almost as if the whole app was designed to be an art opening for a single photographer. I can see it being appealing as a form of coffee table entertainment because it could easily replace a travel photography book, but I would’ve liked to see a higher level of interaction and connectivity. Perhaps routine app updates could provide more content and keep the experience fresh, but an in app connection to the featured photographer’s escapades would’ve been more appealing. I know you can access his website via an in app link, but I think it would be cooler to be surprised by new thumbnails popping up on the map. As it stands, purchasing this app will net you a nice collection of travel photography, but if you don’t plan on showcasing the images to friends and family, you will probably be finished with it within an hour.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Travel, Reviews

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