Features & Use
Test device:Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android version: 4.2.2
The basic principle can be explained in just a few words: whether you're a regular commuter, going on a business trip, or a student on the way back to your studies with a few free spots in your vehicle, you can post a lift offer on carpooling.co.uk, save money and get to know new people.
This works just as well the other way around and all parties involve benefit.
But, before I discuss the app and innovations, we should first take a look at the required permissions.
Although some sensitive permissions are requested (which should definitely be thoroughly scrutinised in advance when it comes to certain apps), those requested by carpooling.co.uk can be traced back to all of their own internal functions.
Right from when the app starts up, you'll recognise the same search interface from the old app. This offers a whole range of different search functions and allows the user to refine their information in order to find a specific journey. The user enters a date and the start/destination locations, which are found via GPS. You can even determine how far you want to be dropped off or picked up from the posted start and destination locations. There are also additional filters that will help you refine your search, like smoke-free or lifts for women only.
In the list of search result you can see right away if there are any offers or requests that correspond. Here, you'll also be able to see how much money the driver wants for the trip and where the ride takes place. Further details and the option to book the lift or contact the driver can be found in each offer’s description. Drivers can also be rated, which helps you find a good ride for your future lifts.
Once you’ve found a ride, you can quickly, and very simply, request a booking.
But of course, this carpooling service would never get too far without people offering rides too. That's exactly why it's possible to create lift ads as well. In order to do this, the person simply fills out a registration form, as opposed to performing a ride search. If you don’t have an account, you can register (to a certain extent) within the app. The user is then redirected to the corresponding website and the process can be completed directly over the browser.
Up to this point, apart from some minor bug fixes and new features like the driver profiles, for example, the app isn't very different from the previous version. One of the biggest changes, on the other hand, was the newly introduced messaging system, which can be directly accessed from a tab in the main screen. In order to use this feature, you need to be registered. You'll be notified of new messages via a push notification, so that requests and last-minute changes to a ride won't be missed and you can answer them straight away.
The new key innovation is the booking system, which is very intuitive. You don't have to write out some tedious message or call the person in question to reserve a seat. Thanks to the booking system, you can complete automatic, pre-formulated requests.
Other innovations are the recommended prices shown when placing a lift ad, meeting points displayed via Google Maps and the fact that it can now be supported on smaller screens.
carpooling.co.uk was really well made. I'm not implying that the older version wasn't good, but just that the developer really took into consideration what the users had to say in their feedback and, in this way, improved the app. The new functions slot perfectly well into place with this app and permit quick and easy carpool searches.
In my first test I had already given carpooling.co.uk 5 stars. At that time, the ratings were primarily due to the fact that the concept really profits everybody. The benefits of carpooling are still the same, but the new version lets you find rides way easier. It's precisely for this reason that the ratings won't budge from 5.
Screen & Controls
carpooling.co.uk's design hasn’t changed much from the previous version. A few elements have been added, like driver profiles and a new messaging system, which fit perfectly well within the app. Overall, it looks very tidy and uncluttered. The search results are displayed so that the corresponding ride can be quickly spotted. All in all, there was nothing to complain about, which is why it gets 4 stars.
Speed & Stability
carpooling.co.uk runs smoothly and stably, which is due to the many improvements that they've made since the last version. During the course of my test, I couldn't find any significant problems to report.
carpooling.co.uk is an app that lets you save money and also gives you a chance to meet new people. At the same time, the app appears to be high-quality, reliable and is available in various languages. It’s free, as well as ad-free, therefore I can easily give this app 5 stars.