Developer: Matt Wiechec
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Phones go missing quite easily. I don’t mean when out and about or stolen by unscrupulous types; I simply mean when at home. In a cluttered house or even a minimalist house, whether populated by children or not, it’s easy to misplace one’s beloved iPhone. After all, it’s small and easily grabbed by young children or even pets, and it’s easy to totally forget where it was last left. Enter Marco Polo: a fun and useful way of ensuring that it’s always relatively simple to track down that phone.

It’s a simple app that runs in the background at all times. Shout “Marco!” at it and the phone will respond with an enthusiastic “POLO!” – meaning one can make their way towards wherever the phone is located. It’s as simple as that, mostly.

The app is a vivid red, not that one has to look at it often. Given that Marco Polo runs in the background, there’s always going to be a red bar on the top of the home screen, much like when recording a voice memo, and it does drain the battery, but it works pretty well – assuming that one shouts Marco in an American accent.

marcopolo4marcopolo3As the app’s description explains, Marco Polo use an acoustic model for North American accents. As a softly spoken English person, I found I had to put on a slightly different accent for Marco Polo to recognize my voice. That actually added quite a funny twist to things as I no doubt murdered an American accent, albeit effectively enough that the app recognized my voice.

That’s no complaint by any means, and given Marco Polo‘s relative sensitivity towards an American accent, it was actually quite convenient to have to put on a different voice to be recognized. That sensitivity comes in handy though as Marco Polo does work across quite a distance, making it very useful when trying to figure out what room the phone is in.

There are further options available too, such as push notifications that are convenient when trying to spot an iPhone in a darkened room. It’s also possible to choose from 30 different voices with some more silly than others. My personal favorite was the Clinton drawl. And for those wanting to be a bit more serious, it’s possible to change the given word from Marco to anything that the user can imagine. So, yes, shouting ‘phone’ can work, even if it’s less fun.

The battery life issue is a bit of an important one for Marco Polo, but for those who keep misplacing their phone and who possess (or can fake) an American accent, there’s no denying that this is a very useful tool. It’s impressive how effective it is.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Utilities

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