As a musician, I’m used to seeing karaoke follow a set—particularly in bars, where the more drinkers drink, the louder they sing. The beauty of iPhone apps like Karaoke Now 2.0, by developer TriceraSoft, is that they’ve made it incredibly easy to turn any party into a mass sing-along with only a few cables and a good internet connection, minus the hassle of heavy karaoke equipment.
Karaoke Now 2.0, which is available for both the iPhone and the iPad, offers exactly everything you’d like to see in a karaoke player. Lyrics match perfectly with the songs, and the usual media-play options are present, too: Play, pause, stop, etc. The actual karaoke interface is a standard black background with gray lyrics, the words of course filling in with color as they’re sung. Essentially, if you have any experience with karaoke machines pre-digital download era, you’ll feel immediately comfortable with Karaoke Now 2.0, which is excellent.
The other great feature Karaoke Now 2.0 has to offer is its massive selection of songs: Well over 40,000. I did a quick run-through of the songs I hear most at karaokes, and every one of them was present, some in multiple remixes. The only problem is the sheer cost of getting tracks off the cloud and onto your iDevice. Karaoke Now tracks are expensive (no cheaper than $1.89 per song) and though the developers have included in-app purchase of song credits (starting at $3.99 for 12 songs) the cost of establishing a full catalog is extensive. If you happen to have a collection of CD+G or MP3+G tracks, all of your music can be imported to Karaoke Now 2.0, but you’ll have to be near a computer on the same wireless connection to get the job done. The price of the songs isn’t necessarily the developer’s fault, but it would have been nice to even include one free song—any song—to make the obligatory $3.99 price go down smoother.
Karaoke Now 2.0 felt underutilized on the iPad’s larger display, with menus off-center and slightly anemic looking. The design is certainly better on the iPhone’s smaller display, however. Hopefully the iPad version of Karaoke Now 2.0 will feature a few graphical updates in the near future, since the device’s larger screen is perfect for reading lyrics, especially in a party setting.
The price as advertised in the app store—zero dollars flat—seems initially appealing, but be prepared to cough up at least $3.99. What you’ll get in return for your app money is an excellent karaoke player that will add life to any party. And when the life of your event fits in the palm of your hand, Karaoke Now 2.0 truly is a party machine. Just a costly one.
Karaoke Now 2.0 iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 4.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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