Developer: Think Buzan
Price: $32.99
Version: 1.0

Design Rating: ★★★★★
Features Rating: ★★★★☆
Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

One of the many appealing aspects of the iPad is that it isn’t just limited to excelling in one area – like games or entertainment – but in many areas like news, utilities and productivity, thanks to the hard work and determination of developers around the globe. ThinkBuzan, a long-time established developer of mind-mapping tools, brings its latest creation to the App Store in an attempt to show just how powerful yet easy the iPad is when it comes to productivity and thought-gathering.

The first thing that struck me about iMindMap Mobile HD was just how similar the directory design looks in comparison to Apple’s iWork for iPad suite. The result is that the integration to the iPad appears strong. The application looks like it was built especially for the iPad, making use of its exclusive features and designs.

iMindMap does things a little differently than its rivals. Rather than generic text to begin the mind map, you set a central image in which the title of your mind map is enclosed. There are three categories to choose from – Objects, Abstract and General – providing a total of 42 images. As a minimalist I would have preferred a text-only option, which is lacking, but a number of the images are non-intrusive and work well.

A mind map is created with the help and co-ordination of two colours. A red circle signifies that you can draw a new branch, and once that branch is built a blue circle then appears, which allows you to amend and adjust the settings of that particular branch. Such settings include: editing the text of a branch, adjusting whether the branch is collapsed, and adding an icon / URL / note to the branch. The collapsable branch feature is particularly useful, allowing you to focus attention on particular branches. The menu bar along the top provides a quick way to edit the title of a branch, add a picture and to change its colour (40 different types, if you’re wondering). Disappointingly, given the image integration, you can’t add your own pictures from the iPad’s photo library. There’s also a button to automatically sort and organize your mind map, so that everything is aligned correctly and smoothly, which adds significantly to the overall feel of your creation.

Once you’ve watched the getting started video (also available below), iMindMap is very easy to use. There’s not much to learn and what is to be learned can be picked up quickly. A focus has been placed on actual usage of the mind map rather than how pretty it looks, meaning precedence is given to your work. Mind maps can also shared, through exporting as an image or PDF, sent by e-mail. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support DropBox or exporting in other formats like a number of its alternatives do. A mind map can also be presented through a specially designed Presentation Mode, visible in the video below, that works through a VGA connection to the iPad.

The application is certainly more expensive than its rivals. This is certainly the only mind mapping application that I’m aware of that features a presentation mode, which perhaps justifies its cost to some users. For others, a cheaper alternative may be all that’s needed.

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

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