When I check out a new productivity app, I have to ask myself honestly – is this just a cool concept that I’ll never actually use, or will it really help me be more productive and organized?
In the case of infoBox, my personal answer is absolutely the latter. Of course, like any organizer or productivity tool, its usefulness is pretty dependent on the user. What I do know is that infoBox offers a unique service apart from your average to-do lists and planners.
Designed by No Cheesy Name, infoBox is described as a “personal product information manager.” In other words, when you’re in the market for a new car or phone (not that you’d ever get rid of your iPhone!), or maybe doing a little bargain Christmas shopping, infoBox helps you keep all the info and prices organized. It also automatically tracks locations for you, and allows you to attach pictures to help jog your memory.
At first I thought it was a cool concept, but I wasn’t sure how I could really use it. I played around with the app for a few minutes before it dawned on me – apartment hunting. It’s something I’m going to be doing in a brand new, unfamiliar city in just a few months. And I’m absolutely certain that infoBox is going to help me in the process.
infoBox opens to the Groups page, so I created a group called “Apartments.” Inside this group, I can add as many apartments as I want, each with a picture attached from my photo album. I started searching for my ideal apartment online, and began adding them to the group. You can tap “quickshot” at the bottom to just create a title and price, or go all out and add all the notes you want.
I kept track of things like square footage, location, and pet policies under “Costs and Info.” infoBox also has a pros and cons list, where you can not only enter those aspects, but rate them according to how positive and negative they actually are. In my case, a high deposit was more negative than a particularly small apartment. It simply allows you to prioritize according to your own preferences.
The Location feature is pretty cool as well, allowing you to label the place while your iPhone (Touch’s must be in a wi-fi zone) pin down your location and map it. Once I entered all of the information on my first apartment, it was easy to scroll through and quickly see my pros and cons, the rent, my notes, a map, and a picture. After a few days of apartment hunting, I imagine this is going to really help keep everything straight.
I only have two critical comments, one of which is that I can’t seem to map a location if it’s not where I actually am. In other words, I can’t map an apartment I see online and save it for future use. But I do love the fact that, when I am actually out apartment hunting, it will automatically save the location for me. Also, while it’s easy to delete groups, I’m unable to delete sections within a group, like (in my case) one particular apartment.
On the plus side, Autopilot is a pretty awesome feature. When you’re in a group and viewing all of its items, simply tap the autopilot button in the lower right corner. According to the developers, autopilot will “crunch every detail in its calculations and use statistical methods to determine the best result. Swiftly and objectively, it’ll always choose the best alternative for you.”
I entered three apartments with similar rent and a detailed pros and cons list. In my mind, I knew my first choice of the three, so I tested out autopilot. We arrived at the same conclusion. I’m not saying I’d let an app pick an apartment for me, but it’s a pretty cool way to see what the best choice is, statistically speaking.
Do I recommend infoBox? Depends on what you need it for. If you’re preparing to make a big purchase, be it a computer, a house, a trip, or anything, I’d say this is a truly useful app for keeping your options organized and clear.
infoBox is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch (2nd Generation) and requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later.