Amount: Slick Conversion for Just About Anything

I don’t know what a Celsius is. There, I said it. When someones says it’s 15 degrees, I have really no concept how cold (or hot) that is. I couldn’t tell you my weight in kilograms. Fifty? One hundred? Seven? And don’t even get me started on the difference between a fluid ounce and whatever the other thing is. A dry ounce?

For me and people like me, it sure is nice to have Amount, a neat little conversion app that does for me all that terrible calculating I learned in grammar school and then promptly forgot about. It looks good doing it, too, and Amount knows way more units of measure than I ever did. Will Amount have the features to make it really useful?

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Figure This One Out

Amount is pretty simple to use. When you first launch the app, you’ll get a number pad that looks a bit like a calculator. There’s no arithmetic going on here, though, at least not yet and not how you’re thinking. Amount doesn’t do addition and subtraction or anything like that; what’s it’s going to do is conversion. Enter your number, and we’ll get cracking. If you want to know how many kilometers are in one mile for instance, enter the number one, but if you’re trying to convert the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit, you’ll type in your starting figure.

It looks like a calculator, but it's not.

It looks like a calculator, but it’s not.

Tap Done once you’ve put in your number. Amount will load up all of it’s categories, and you can choose what sort of conversion you’re doing. Acres into hectares will fall under area, and inches into feet will be length. There are some categories built around practicality, though, like the volume measurements that have been slipped into the cooking category for easy reference. Select the category that’s right for your conversion.

Amount will automatically select a default “conversion from” unit and display all the other units in the category in relation to the default. For instance, when I popped open the length category, Amount set meters as my default and converted all the other units from that. Which is great, if I want to know how many inches are in one meter but doesn’t do me a lot of good if I need to do a specific conversion between any other units.

Start converting anything you want.

Start converting anything you want.

The easiest way to set a new default is to simply tap the unit of measure you’re converting from. You can then scroll through the long list of other units and see how many seconds in a month or cups in a bushel. That’s still a lot to scroll through, even if you’re only looking at a single category, and you may not need all those jiggers, hectares and knots. To get rid of extra units, tap the pencil in the upper right and deselect anything you don’t need. The check mark in the upper left will check all or uncheck all, so your finger doesn’t get tired tapping in the longer categories.

Coming Up Short

Amount is missing a couple of things. The first you’ll notice right off: no calculator. I would never expect Amount to replace a sophisticated scientific calculator, though when it includes a unit called “speed of light,” you start to think maybe it could be used to do some pretty cool stuff. Even some simple addition and subtraction would be nice so I wouldn’t have to move between apps to get my conversions done, but none of that’s present in Amount. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it smarts.

Amount has a lot of categories and units, but not many features.

Amount has a lot of categories and units, but not many features.

Harder to overlook is the inability to copy and paste within the app. So I’m doing my big calculations elsewhere, because Amount won’t do that for me, and I get some crazy number with a bunch of digits in front of and behind the decimal. I have to just memorize that number, because no amount of tapping is going to bring up the cut/copy/paste menu in Amount. Likewise, when I get an even crazier number after my conversion, I can’t copy it back out of Amount and have to just hope I get it right when I’m typing it back in.

Final Thoughts

Amount has the potential to be fantastically useful as a conversion tool, but at the very least the user needs to be able to copy and paste selected text into the app. Simple conversions are easy, but anything beyond that becomes too much to make Amount worth the time.

And I really want to be worth the time. Amount looks really good — a lot better than any conversion app has a right to — and it has so many units available, it’s just crazy. Who’s converting to the speed of light on their iPhone? Nobody, and if you are, you can probably do that sort of stuff in your megabrain, anyway. But it’s there in the app for normals like you and me to pretend we’re cool, too. Amount is a great conversion app, and with a few more features, it could be that much better.


Summary

Amount is a great little app for converting units, but it doesn't have a lot of extra features.

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