Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
iPhone Integration Rating:
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It's frustrating to come across an app that's a great idea, but not very well implemented. Unfortunately, that's the case with StackReader. It's a good idea that serves some purpose but it lacks a few too many vital features to be considered an essential purchase.
The app provides a way of interacting with the Stack Exchange Network, a group of question and answer websites that cover a multitude of different topics. This service is a handy one, crowd sourcing knowledge from around the world and answering everything from complex theoretical computer science questions to who starred in what film.
StackReader consolidates much of this in one iPad app. Users start out by picking out which stacks they want to access before browsing such sites. At first, it looks ideal if a little confusing to set up. Users can browse according to tags and other search queries, as well as by looking at the latest questions. Annoyances come from the limitations, however. The app will only download the 40 latest questions when browsing. Once a question is viewed and the screen refreshed, that question vanishes forever more. Worst of all, it's only possible to browse rather than comment or add one's own questions. A web view option opens up more comments but that requires an additional click and takes users away from the attractive iPad app interface.
It's frustrating to see as the wealth of content is potentially huge. Numerous different categories are available. I was able to browse Lego technique tips as easily as suggestions for how to photograph certain images correctly. Many different specialist needs are catered for, much like the Stack Exchange Network itself.
With a bit of tweaking and more interactivity, StackReader could become a useful app for many. As it stands though, it's only useful for looking at content rather than participating with it. At $2.99, it's quite a high price for just browsing capabilities. A lower price point might have made it a more appealing proposition.