Developer: MEDL Mobile, Inc.
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Controls Rating: ★★★★½
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Pocket Reference is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” apps. Its premise is simple: It’s a comprehensive list of alphabetized reference topics containing links to more than 500 reference websites. It allows users to find information regarding virtually anything and is alphabetically organized, giving users quick and easy access to its content.

Pocket Reference advertises the following features:

  1. In-app links to more than 500 references, how-to, news-feed, time-waster and information websites, grouped into 50 categories.
  2. More than 185 mobile-friendly websites.
  3. The option to bookmark favorite or most frequented sites for quicker access.
  4. The ability to suggest a link/website to the app’s developer for inclusion into the reference link library.
  5. Links to language formatting guides.

Pocket Reference was created using MEDL Mobile’s App Incubator. I have the App Incubator app, but apparently a Benny Hill first aid reference is not an appealing idea to its developers.

Anywho, the idea was submitted with the intention of creating one application that consolidates as many possible stand-alone reference apps into one.

Pocket Reference is certainly the most comprehensive and efficient reference app/research tool in the app store. As stated earlier, it contains 500 reference websites, 185 of which are mobile/Safari-friendly, sorted alphabetically into 50 categories. To aid in the efficiency process, users can bookmark their favorite sites.

Also, the developers of Pocket Reference added a feature which allows users to request the addition of a new/additional reference site; so expect this app to grow even larger!

Pocket Reference’s main screen is as simple and straightforward as it gets. The top of the screen contains a search box, upon which the alphabetized category list rests (there are actually 51 categories). At the bottom of the screen is a menu option and “info” icon:

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Opening the menu options brings up the following features:

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“Home” brings you to the home screen, “Favorites” is your list of preferred sites, “About” allows you to suggest a link and “Extras,” like the “Info” icon on the main screen, pulls up the following screen:

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After choosing a category, in this case “Dictionaries,” the reference sites are listed in alphabetical order. The “M” stamped entries indicate sites that are mobile-friendly:

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Obviously, mobile-friendly sites load faster and are easier/quicker to navigate than their regular-web counterparts. Here’s a screen-capture of mobile-friendly Dictionary.com (the “+” in the upper, right corner gives you the option of adding the site to you “Favorites.”):

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Here’s a screen-capture of non-mobile-friendly AmericanHeritage.com:

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It’s much busier and, although the information is there, you have to pinch, flick and swipe your way to the information you are seeking. Further, because it relies on 3G/WiFi, it’s not as fast as its individual counterpart apps. However, those apps only contain a fraction of what Pocket App offers, so this is easily overlooked.

One other thing worth mentioning is that I found when selecting a topic/link which brings you to a webpage (excluding mobile-friendly links), the resulting page is not opened in Mobile Safari (future request alert). It’s opened using the app’s built-in browser. As a result, I was unable to advance and backtrack within the site, as there are no forward/back buttons. I had to exit the site and re-enter to get to a previous page/location.

All things considered, it’s hard to find any meaningful fault with Pocket Reference. Considering what it does and how much information it gives you access to, it’s an amazing app and well worth its asking price of $1.99.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reference, Reviews

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