TravelerComm – Sharing is caring
Tested version: 1.01
Latest version: 1.1
Requires Android: from 2.2
A friend of mine recently went on a pretty exciting trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada (holler if you're from there!), and because she was too busy having adventures to write a travel blog or individual emails, she resorted to updating her contacts via WhatsApp exclusively, neglecting to update her status on Facebook / Tweet. While I'm all for simplicity and paring down virtual connections in favour of really getting the most out of vacation time, her option also meant that many of her friends weren't able to follow her fun holiday-ing because they're not connected on WhatsApp.
This got me thinking: what if there was an app that served as a multifunctional travel companion, allowing users to share information easily and via multiple channels, update their loved ones, make personal travel notes, check maps even when in offline mode...
Enter TravelerComm. The app promises to do just that, but does it live up to our expectations? Find our after the jump.
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy S3
Downloading and installing TravelerComm doesn't take long once it's done you can go ahead and check out the app's four main areas:
- Travel notes
- Travel friends
- Travel guides
- Travel maps (this function is harboured within the Travel guides feature)
Travel notes is the app's centerpiece as this is the feature which allows users to share travel updates (including written text, photos) and event exact locations (via geotags) with their colleagues, friends and/or family. In order to use this feature you are required to create an account, which doesn't take very long (I chose to set mine up using a work email address). Start by naming your new travel note (e.g. "Hotel we stayed at during our company conference in Houston, Tx" or "Lovely beach on Naxos, Greece" or whatever else you crazy kids are getting up to these days), edit the date and time of the note (going back in time if you need to).
The next step is to type in the actual text for your travel note. This is where I came across the first of one of the apps quirks: when typing in the text you can't actually see what you're writing unless you manually scroll down. It would be easier if this were to happen automatically.
Next, you can choose to add a photo to your travel note, either by selecting an existing one from your gallery or by taking a new one from within the app. Both options worked out nicely during our test runs. More options include adding tags to your note to optimise search results and help organise your entries, as well as geotagging, which is a useful feature for people who like working with maps and coordinates. With geotagging one slight drawback is that you have to add tags when you're on the spot, that is to say that geotags can't be added in retrospect.
So, once you've created your travel note you can save it (which apparently syncs it with the TravelerComm servers) and by ticking the "Public" box you can also share it via one of the four buttons that then appear at the top of the display. These buttons are:
- Send with Friend Me: this allows you to share via the internal Travel friends portal, meaning you can share with other TravelerComm users
- Share: the options listed on the S3 are Bluetooth, Email, Flipboard, Google Mail, Google +, joyn, Massaging, S Memo, WiFi Direct
- FB Share: i.e. Share via Facebook
- Twitter Share
As far as the Facebook and Twitter sharing options go, we were a little frustrated to find that tapping the buttons leads to a Google browser search results page for the actual link. Here's hoping the developers see to this bug in the near future, because once they're fixed these sharing options could prove to be an easy and fast way of posting travel updates on aforementioned social networks.
(For a step-by-step guide to creating notes click here.)
Travel friends is the app's internal podium for connecting with other app users and sharing photos, information and getting travel recommendations, ect. This feature has a lot of potential for serving as a communication tool. Invite your email contacts to become TravelerComm users via the integrated option and let the travel update sharing commence!
This function also harbours a map feature which is based on OpenStreetMap. I would've prefered to see a Google Maps base here, but that may just be my personal preference. Loading maps takes a little bit of time, so be patient. Once a position has loaded, it is displayed very accurately on the map.
If you're heading for either Florence, Paris or Vienna you can check the Travel guides option. Currently, only those three city guides are available, which is somewhat meager IMO. Furthermore, you have to pay to download these guides (Vienna: EUR 2.19, Paris: EUR 2.64, Florence: EUR 1.57). We hear that each travel guide includes audio and visual material related to interesting city sights, but we didn't purchase any guides so our jury's out on how useful or relevant they are. Let us know in the comments below if you're any the wiser.
This section also harbours the Travel maps feature, which is an extensive list of maps which can be used offline (almost 800 in total!) and covers hundreds of destinations from A Coruna, Spain to Zurich, Switzerland. Offline maps are great to have on board, especially when you're traveling and unsure about data or online access. The downside is that each map costs an extra EUR 0.64.
The concept behind this app isn't bad at all: travelers can now share valuable infos and/or fun updates and photos with co-workers and friends via multiple channels, from email to social networks. The pro version comes with a feature that allows users to sync their travel notes with the TravelerComm servers, which is useful in case you lose your phone.
On top of this you can download guides (three so far) and maps (close to 800).
While we can see that the app has a lot of merit, there are also still quite a few issues worthy of some major tweaking.
As far as comfort of use is concerned, the UI is rather basic and user comfort features, such as the automatic adaption of the text input field on the display, could be worked on.
There seem to be a few bugs on the loose within the app's sharing feature which is a big let-down as sharing information is, to our mind, TravelerComm's (short for Travel Communicator) most important function.
The app texts are also riddled with a few spelling and grammar mistakes which could do with correcting.
Finally, the Travel guides and Travel maps functions are simply portals towards other features for which users have to pay additionally.
Screen & Controls
TravelerComm is easy enough to use, though, as mentioned, certain comfort of use factors could be improved.
The design is very basic and while it isn't ugly it's also nothing to write home about.
Speed & Stability
TravelerComm loads quickly, though loading positions on maps takes a few seconds. The app closed unexpectedly at the beginning of our test runs, but aside from this it ran smoothly enough.
TravelerComm costs EUR 2.24 and can be purchased from the Play Store. Considering that two of the app's functions costs extra money and have to be downloaded separately, plus there are still some quirks that need ironing out, this strikes us as being a tad steep.
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