View Full Version : iPhone App Reviews - Filmtrailer, On This Day

30th March 2010, 09:58 PM
<h3>This week we look at two apps that serve just one purpose, and serve it well. Filmtrailer is designed to quickly view trailers and bonus features, while On This Day shows significant and influential past events in a pleasing calendar interface.</h3>
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6026" title="Filmtrailer 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Filmtrailer-1.PNG" alt="Filmtrailer 1" width="230" height="346" />

It's always struck me as odd that Apple (despite having an often-neglected but quite large film trailer database) doesn't have any optimised solution for viewing movie trailers on the iPhone. YouTube is just about the only way to properly view trailers, but even that isn't really suited perfectly to watching them, especially considering the often huge pile of search results. Thankfully, the App Store saw an influx of trailer apps, some definitely better than others. Most try to stuff cinema search and showtimes in with their package, and often this compromises the interface beyond the point of return. In this review, I'd like to highlight just one - <em>Filmtrailer</em> - that I think is worth looking at.

What <em>Filmtrailer</em> offers is a selection of recently released and upcoming movie trailers, plus a few 'behind the scenes'/'premiere report' bonus features - the kind of extras you'd usually find on disc two of a Blu-ray/DVD release. It also includes the ability to find currently screening movies in select theatres, but this applies only to cinemas in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, so I've ignored that feature in the review. <em>Filmtrailer</em> allows you to customise the menu bar so that this feature can be removed from the most used view shortcuts.


<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6027" title="Filmtrailer 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Filmtrailer-2.PNG" alt="Filmtrailer 2" width="230" height="346" />

Trailers load fairly quickly in the app, and I've never had any streaming difficulties with a reliable internet connection. Best of all, there's a built in search function which makes finding trailers a snap, and eliminates the need to browse through pages of films. Despite the strong presence of purple/maroon, <em>Filmtrailer</em> looks nice. It's an uncluttered, user friendly interface that doesn't require much time to become fully acquainted with. The categorisation of trailers into Featured, Trailers and Extras helps too. Some parts (particularly the Featured screen) feel similar to the latest enhancements made to the Apple TV, and that brings an extra touch of usability to the app.

By far the most useful feature of <em>Filmtrailer</em> (and easily the most unique) is the ability to download trailers onto your device, which is great for watching a few saved clips on a plane or other no-signal areas - something I imagine would be particularly outstanding for those with an iPod touch (or soon with a Wi-Fi only iPad). Overall, I'm happy with the performance of <em>Filmtrailer</em>, and though it doesn't offer a plethora of extra functionality that other trailer apps promise, it does one thing very well.

<strong>Version reviewed:</strong> 1.0.3
<strong>Price:</strong> Free
<strong>Developer:</strong> Preview Networks
<strong>Compatibility:</strong> iPhone &amp; iPod touch running 3.0 or later
<strong>Size:</strong> 5.7MB
<strong>Category:</strong> Entertainment
<strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/filmtrailer/id345362038?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>
<h4><span style="font-weight: normal;">On This Day</span></h4>
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6028" title="On This Day 1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/On-This-Day-1.PNG" alt="On This Day 1" width="230" height="346" />

Last week I reviewed native Wikipedia client <a href="http://www.mactalk.com.au/2010/03/23/iphone-app-reviews-articles-thinkdigits/">Articles</a>, and praised it for the lovely user interface and near perfect balance between simplicity and functionality. This week, the developers behind that app came out with their latest creation, <em>On This Day </em>- and just like the rest of their iPhone software suite, it's gorgeous.

<em>On This Day</em> tracks down important dates that happened (as the title of the app suggests) on this day in previous years. Something that magazines and newspapers often put in their spare columns as interesting facts now has a dedicated iPhone app, and while there may not be much practical use for it, <em>On This Day</em> might come in handy for the odd presentation or report - it certainly looks beautiful enough to sit on your home screen for the sake of giving it a test-drive more than anything else.

There's really very little describe in the app other than the commendable attention to detail that the developer(s) have obviously taken into account with <em>On This Day</em>. Whether it's scrolling through the past events and finding out interesting tidbits about what happened on, say, March 30th, or just looking through the calendar to find a particular day, there's nothing to complain about visually. In fact, considering the app is free to download, I can't find much to fault this app on at all.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6028" title="On This Day 2" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/On-This-Day-2.PNG" alt="On This Day 2" width="230" height="346" />

Whether I'll use it often is, in my opinion, somewhat irrelevant. It behaves similarly to Weather, Stocks and the dashboard-style widgets on the iPhone and in the Dashboard on OS X in that it performs just one simple and possibly quite handy function - at the very least, it could be a trick to have up your sleeve when starting a conversation! As I wrote above, there's no harm in downloading it to see how fantastically designed <em>On This Day</em> is. It's a quirky little app and from time to time, may just fill in those extra few seconds you have to waste with an iPhone in hand.

<strong>Version reviewed:</strong> 1.0
<strong>Price:</strong> Free
<strong>Developer:</strong> Sophiestication Software
<strong>Compatibility:</strong> iPhone &amp; iPod touch running 3.0 or later
<strong>Size:</strong> 1.8MB
<strong>Category:</strong> Reference
<strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/on-this-day/id317064309?mt=8">App Store</a></strong>

30th March 2010, 10:34 PM
Just as a background to On This Day, it was set to be released as soon as Articles hit 10,000 copies sold. Another random fact is that if you look at the icon, the corner folded up is square, but the pages below it have rounded edges...