Price: $3.99 (Intro sale: $1.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
iPhone Integration [rating:4/5]
User Interface [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]
As an admitted bibliophile, I'm constantly trying to expand my vocabulary. Unfortunately, by middle school I ran into an unexpected roadblock: the books I was reading had words that weren't in our family's (admittedly small) household dictionary. Frustrated by the limits of printed materials, I started relying on the internet for definitions, scribbling words on my bookmarks and looking them up whenever I got the chance. When I first began reading books on my iPod, I expected to have the luxury of an internet database at my fingertips. But most of the free dictionary apps just weren't as full-featured as I wanted, or they had spotty definitions; looking things up through Safari was too tedious. I needed a paid dictionary app.
WordDigest, thankfully, is a feature-packed dictionary with a ridiculous number of words and phrases packed into one little icon—over 147,000, according to its description, and I haven't managed to stump it yet. There are five tabs at the bottom of the screen: Search, Dictionary, Spell Check, Web, and More. The Search function is your basic dictionary lookup. Start typing a word, and WordDigest automatically pulls up the closest (alphabetical) match as you punch in letters. You can also scroll through the entire list. Once you click on a word, you're taken to the Dictionary tab, which is pretty self-explanatory. The dictionary functions just fine, and that was all that I really needed; it also includes a thesaurus.
But where WordDigest really shines is in the extras. In Spell Check mode, it'll suggest alternatives to your misspelled word (though it only checks singular words; you can't dump in a whole paragraph). In the Web tab, you can look up definitions from specific online sources such as Wikitionary. Included in the Dictionary tab is a thesaurus, and there are also pronunciation guides. My favorite features, though, are tucked under the More button.
See, here's what I liked best: WordDigest keeps track of your browsing history. You set how many words you'd like it to keep track of (twenty-five to a hundred), and it automatically keeps a log for you. And, if you're trying to learn some new words, you can add a word to your favorites...or, you could favorite it just to show it some love. It's basically a bookmark feature. You can even delete items from your history and sort it alphabetically.
I have a few complaints about WordDigest. It can lag when you're scrolling through the massive word list using the letters on the side, but it's not a huge deal; the iPod Music app does the same. Also, I would love the inclusion of audio pronunciations for each word&8212;I have a bad tendency of learning words from books, and then trying to apply them in actual conversation only to butcher the pronunciation. The pronunciation guides (the phonetic spellings) are great, but I'd still like audio samples. And, finally, if the I could replace the Web tab with my favorite words or my word history, that would be much appreciated—I rarely need to resort to the web lookup, since the main database is so enormous.
If you're a bookworm, it's incredibly convenient to have a dictionary with you at all times, especially if you read eBooks on your iPod or iPhone. I love the bookmarking/history feature in WordDigest, but I can't say whether or not it's unique, as I haven't tried most of the paid dictionaries in the App Store. Still, I haven't found anything major to complain about; on the whole, this app does its job better than any paper copy ever could. If you're looking for a plump dictionary app with a solid featureset, WordDigest might be the one for you.