Conversion apps are ten a penny on the App Store and are one of the most popular types of app available today. Each app that can convert feet to inches will do so in the exact same way, so developers have to come up with other ways of trying to make their app stand out above the rest.
The developers behind Camera+, tap tap tap, have released a significant update to their Convert app which, whilst containing more units of measurement than I ever realised existed, it does so in an easy to navigate way while offering some additional functionality that goes beyond simple conversions and really enhances the app.
Willing to Convert
Convert uses a typical selection wheel that you can swipe through and to save screen real estate, the unit category is displayed as an icon unless you’re selecting another one. At that point, the full name is displayed. The icons fit right at home within an app updated for iOS 7 and, thankfully, they all make perfect sense. This is a refreshing change from ConvertBot, an app that insists upon using a terribly awkward jog wheel and an interface that, while looks great, isn’t particularly helpful in any way.
Within each category, you can select what you want to convert from and to. As you’d expect from any conversion app, Convert includes a huge number of different units that you can convert between. While I doubt knowing how many Light Years make up an Astronomical Unit is required on a day to day basis, the huge number of options make it an app that would suit almost anyone who needs to work with numbers.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
To avoid falling into the same trap as other developers of conversion apps, Convert lets you toggle the categories, and even units, that are displayed via the app’s settings. If you don’t own a car then fuel consumption is something you’re likely not wanting to use, so it can simply be hidden from view. Even units themselves can be hidden so you can ensure the app is only displaying units relevant to you.
Should you find yourself frequently using the same category of conversion units again and again, Convert includes the option to mark them as a favourite. You can then hold the Favourites button in the calculator view to see a list of all of them or simply tap it to go through each of them one by one.
As Convert deals with some pretty advanced units of measurement, the developers have included a full scientific calculator for those wanting to perform even more advanced calculations.
A full calculator option is provided which offers a great replacement to the built-in calculator of iOS. Having a full scientific calculator within a conversion app is a great idea and it includes some additional functionality that goes far beyond what’s available within iOS. You can even use the scientific calculator whilst performing conversions, allowing for some complex calculations without then jotting down the answer to convert to a different unit.
While the calculator is certainly much more functional, it’s lacking a decent display and the app will only show you the results of calculations. You’ll need to remember exactly what you’re entering if you’re doing anything but the most simple calculations as the screen will only show you the answer or what you’re currently inputting. Calculations involving brackets, for example, aren’t shown until they’re calculated. It’s certainly better than nothing but it’s not something that could be relied upon unless the app would be able to display full working as well.
Bureau de Change
Any decent conversion app includes currency conversion and Convert is no different. Thankfully, the app includes more currency than I ever thought possible and automatically updates to gather the correct exchange rates, though you can manually update it if you prefer.
I like the fact that Convert displays not only the currency name but also the currency’s symbol. The app will display USD, Euros and Yen at the top of the list but they’re also duplicated so the list is also in alphabetical order. Because there are so many currencies, this will save you constantly scrolling to the top to select the currency of your choice. It’s a nice touch due to the sheer number of currencies available bit, just like conversion units, you can hide the ones you aren’t interested in using.
Conversion apps are one of the most useful apps for iOS, but because there are so many then finding one that isn’t garbage can be difficult. Convert is a diamond in the rough, it’s intuitive enough that using it doesn’t feel like hard work yet powerful enough to satisfy the needs of almost any user.
You’ll not find a better conversion app than Convert. The scientific calculator is rather limited by the lack of feedback when in use and if you only want a few select categories and units to use then you may find yourself spending a great deal of time disabling non-essential units, but these are just minor nitpicks in an otherwise great utility.