Version Reviewed: 3.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Scout offers quite a neat solution to gaining new ideas and suggestions for enjoying various forms of media. It doesn't entirely work at all times and lacks a truly attractive user interface, but what is there has potential.
The app starts out by asking the user a few simple questions. They range from things like how you enjoy spending your evenings or time with friends, to a slightly unusual query about whether you use your phone during a meal or not. Each presumably gauging just what kind of person you are, and what things might interest you.
A series of apps, movies, music and books are then listed with the ability to assign star ratings or thumbs up or downs to represent how one feels about them. It's simple to get to grips with and throughout there are short descriptions detailing what the appropriate form of media is about. In each case, where possible, an iTunes link ensures users can go straight to the movie, book, app or music track of their choice. It's pretty seamless. It's just as easy to share a suggestion through the major social networks or text or email, also.
The suggestions appear quite accurate while covering a wide range of years and genres, rather than sticking to anything too exact. In my time using it, I found some great suggestions that I wouldn't have considered before, but also sometimes a slightly odd choice that didn't really match my viewpoint. There was also a tendency to recommend products not yet available, such as newly released at the cinema Brave, and music set for release in 2013.
Further ideas come in the form of the packs section, offering groups of apps, books, movies and music together, depending on a theme. Current themes include Mum and Dad sections, along with the Olympics and Back to School. It's a nice touch and adds more ideas quickly. The 'Surprise Me' button provides similar results and is great for random suggestions.
An Experts section could have reinforced this but I struggled to figure out the purpose behind them as the only information available for each appears to be just a profile of their interests, rather than any suggestions.
The foundations are clearly there for something useful and helpful, Scout just needs to tighten up a few bits and pieces. A more attractive appearance and more useful experts section would go a long way to ensuring that Scout is one of the first places to consult for ideas. For now, it's a little simplistic.