Travel guide apps are one of the most exciting developments in the world of iPhone apps. Condé Nast Traveller City Guides, a series of apps designed by Condé Nast, utilize a range of capabilities from GPS to augmented reality.
The first few minutes of browsing the app – in my case, the Barcelona guide – brought one word to mind: Sexy. The format is fantastic, with obviously a great deal of thought and care having gone into the way the app reacts, the intuitiveness of the design. In addition to Barcelona, these city guides are also available:.
There are several ways to search for what you want to do or see in the city. On the “Guide” screen, you can select categories like neighborhoods, places to stay, shopping, or nightlife, then filter them further by price, mood or attraction type. You can search by keyword as well. While viewing each point of interest, you get a great picture, along with the address, phone number, website, and in most cases, hours and transport advice. Add the item to your to-do list with a tap, or email it to a friend. The “AR View” and “Map View” are always available at the top. The map works great, and while I couldn’t technically use the augmented reality feature (not being in Barcelona, sadly), it does seem like a very slick feature.
The biggest problem I ran into was with the “More” icon, which brings you to a menu that allows you to view your journal, do the walking tours, view the photos you’ve taken, and other cool stuff. Each time I entered one – I tried the journal first – I couldn’t get back to that particular menu. I moved back over to “Guides”, to “Search,” to the main menu, then tapped “More” again, and it just brought me straight to the journal. So I removed the app from my phone then reloaded, and went to “More.” This time I chose the photo album – great feature, but again, I couldn’t return to to the main “More” menu to choose another feature. Because so many of the apps coolest features – namely the walking tours and your photo album, but also “Settings” – are located here, it’s a pretty big inconvenience to have to delete and reload the app every time.
I also had a problem with getting a blank page on some of the other sections the first time I ran into the issue with the “More” section. Again, deleting and reloading the app solved it and it didn’t happen again – however, that won’t do anyone any good when they’re wandering the streets of Barcelona without their laptop.
From my experience, this guide has a few kinks to be worked out that would make me hesitate on the $10 price tag, but with a great layout and exciting features, I’d keep my eye on it for the future.
Condé Nast City Traveller Guide requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.