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iPhone Application Review: CompareMe

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Are you one of those people who are always looking for the best deal? Do you cut the coupons out of the Sunday morning paper? Do you try and haggle with anybody and everybody just on the off chance that they might break down and give you a deal? If so, then this application from Codedifferent is perfect for you.

CompareMe is an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that is essentially a price comparison guide. You can take two measurements, prices, and discounts/premiums and compare the two. Basically, you have a small program that tells you what to buy. It also tells you how much you save (or how much more you spend) overall. Oh, and for those of you who forget basic math, it also converts units for you.

Now, before you start thinking that I am a price-conscious American, I want you to dig a hole and bury that idea six feet under. I go through my money like there is a hole in my pocket, and I rarely am concerned about price-difference. Sure, I will check the per-ounce price, but I really don’t care that much. CompareMe is not made for people like me. No, it is made more for those who buy in bulk.

Say you go out to the lumber yard and buy a pile of rocks, or a bundle of lumber. Those do not have a per-pound comparison so it is harder to judge. Plus, if some are on sale and others are not, it gets even tougher. Or say you went to Home Depot and were buying some nails; same scenario and issues apply. This is where CompareMe steps in and saves the day. The application is designed for exactly these sorts of situations, ones where it is hard to tell the price differentials. Plus, if stores offer price matching, you can use this application to show the actual prices per unit.

CompareMe is an interesting application. Most that I review and try out happen to be either flashy or expansive. CompareMe is neither; it is a small application, with one screen, that performs only one function. There are no nifty graphics and no interesting menus. Nope, this application is pretty simple. Yet, in simplicity comes usefulness. An application that performs its one duty, and does it well, is hard to come by these days in the App Store. CompareMe does its job flawlessly, and that deserves commendation.

One of the nice things about CompareMe, besides it simplistic style and perfect function, is the fact that everything is easy to use. Using wheel-based menus, I can alter any data that I need to so that I can quickly come up with the comparisons. This will work well in quick-paced haggling, where delay time harms your chances of a better price. Furthermore, the actual interface is easy to use and everything responds quickly to my touch. Sure, this application might not do much, but it does what it does well.

There are, however, a few problems with CompareMe. The first is the fact that there is no database of typical pricing. With an application that is designed to be used for haggling and the like, this database, which would be stored on a server and updated daily, based on your location, would be a perfect addition. In fact, it would cause the application to be used by anybody who is comparison shopping, not just those looking to haggle. I know that they are planning on adding some location-specific features, and I truly hope that one of them is the addition of this sort of database.

My other issue is the price of CompareMe. At $2.99, CompareMe is an expensive application for something so simple, especially because it is designed to save people money. I think that cutting the price to $.99 or even $1.99 would make the application worth it. However, if they incorporate the above mentioned database, I feel that $2.99 would be a steal.

Overall, I feel that CompareMe is a good application for your iPhone or iPod Touch if you are a businessperson or do a fair bit of bulk buying. The application is really geared towards that demographic, and I think that they could find good use for it. If a database is added, then I would think that CompareMe would be good for a vast majority of Americans, but as of now, it has a limited scope. Overall, I believe that the simplicity and the fact that the program does what it is designed to do, with no annoying extras, merits 4/5 stars.

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About Robert M. Barga