I'm a fan of mind maps for helping to sort and structure my thoughts – and share them with others, for instance when preparing a meeting or project. Today I'm reviewing Mind Map Memo, an app that works as a portable mind mapper. Find out all the details after the jump.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Test device: Cat Stargate 2
Android version: 4.1.1
Size: ca. 180 kB
Permissions: Only storage (to export mind maps)
Mind Map Memo welcomes users with a neat landing screen from where you can access the help options (recommended) and create a new mind map or access an already existing one. The welcome screen exists only in portrait view, so hold your device accordingly. Making and editing maps can be done in landscape or portrait view. An internal format is used for saving, though Freemind format can also be imported. Don't be surprised if nothing happens straight away: A freshly imported mind map must then be opened via the appropriate button.
Luckily, the editing tools are kept nice and simple. There's a basic knot which serves as the mind maps's working name, and further knots can simply be pulled from it. Knots can also be cloned, icons can be added to them and the background colours can be changed. The drawback: Only simple knots are possible and I haven't been able to find an option that allows longer notes to be inserted into the map, so it's all about conveying a message via keywords. Zooming in and out is not a problem, a convenient feature when dealing with larger mind maps.
As mentioned, the app uses its own format for saving mind maps, though exporting and importing using Freemind format is an option—and a cool one at that, seeing as it enables editing across various platforms. Sounds good, but we had other hurdles to face during our test rounds: importing/exporting mind maps in Freemind format did not work and it seemed like the formats were incompatible. A few manual adjustments using a text editor had to be made in order to get things running, though some of the formatting was lost along the way. For instance, colour settings are not kept, nor is punctuation (at least not 100% correctly). Some punctuation (quotation marks, in my case) even cause Freemind exports to be signaled as errors. Luckily, they're text files and can be corrected manually.
Importing isn't much of a picnic either. I tried importing a bunch of heavily edited maps (knots, various colours), and while many features were kept, the knot layout and all of the notes were lost along the way. In short: The app is not made for cross-platform editing.
While it has potential, Mind Map Memo does not feel fully mature as of yet. It's drawbacks are considerable: The export format in Freemind has to be adjusted manually and is missing key features such as colour, and import loses the layout and notes. Notes can't be added or edited from within the app.
However, if you're looking to simply sort a few thoughts this nice little package (only 200 KB) might be a good fit for you.
Screen & Controls
I can't say that the Mind Map Memo controls are particularly intuitive. When creating a map, there's no visible menu to work with, and the menu button reveals only the most rudimentary functions (check screenshot for details). There's no option for creating a new mind map from the menu: The only way I was able to create a new mind map was to quit the app, close it within the app list and start it up again.
Setting up sub accounts doesn't work like it should. More often than not the main account is moved when a sub account is set up.
Changing the colour can only be done via the sub menu.
To be fair: Once you've grown accustomed to how the app works it's actually fairly easy to navigate. A solid three stars in this category.
Speed & Stability
Mind Map Memo performed nicely throughout the test runs and leaves nothing to be desired in terms of speed or stability.
Mind Map Memo is free of charge and available both from the App Center and Playstore. It can't do quite as much as some other free apps which is why we're giving it a four out five rating.