I have lost countless hours browsing Apple's app store in search for anything, something that will be of some purpose or use in my everyday life. If there is one fundamental problem with the store it's that it is saturated with pointless apps which range from the mediocre to the ridiculous and many do not even serve the purpose for which they were originally designed. Separating the wheat from the chaff and deciphering from the hundreds available in the catagory your searching that will work as intended is somewhat hit and miss and I have personally found that the user reviews are not always particulary helpful or reliable. Out of several trial shopping list apps found in Apple's "productivity" catagory that I downloaded this was the only one I actually purchased and for just £1.79 Hensoft's Shopping List (Grocery List) app far out weighed it's competitors alternatives by way of ease of use and not over complicating the mundane task of compiling a weekly shopping list.
Available in three different languages (English, French and German) the Shopping List (Grocery List) app is basically a paperless "to do" application specifically geared to managing shopping lists (as the name would suggest) with the intention of providing a time saving way of organising shopping lists. Taking around three minutes to download, hardly surprising seeing as it is just 5.4 MB and compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad this little app has proven to be incredibly practical and extremely user friendly, I would be surprised if anyone regardless of age and technical knowledge would require a tutorial as the screen shots are fairly self explanatory although most definately not the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The current version is 5.1 (which was last updated in September 2010 which added online synchronisation between different iOS devices and full retina support for the iPod Touch 4G and iPhone 4)
I have found the app to be incredibly easy to navigate, which is just as well as the online tutorial is pretty useless and Hensoft's website is basic to say the least offering not much more information than the App store with the exception of a FAQ page which to be honest won't tell you much more than you would have read before downloading. Simplicity is the key to this app. The ability to store multiple shopping lists and catagorise and departmentalise countless grocery items is a great function which, after the cumbersome and time consuming data entry has been completed will save time.
The screen (which can only be used horizontally) offers a rather dull wood effect background onto which any selected items are listed. The background could be better. It looks a little cheap and out dated but don't let this detract from it's main function after all it really is more a case of what it does over how it looks.
Without a shadow of a doubt the most time consuming aspect of the app is when first downloaded and all you shopping items need to be listed, however you only need to do once and how long you take really is down to how much information you want to add to the individual items. I started with my basic weekly essentials and then just added new items as and when required and it is simple to do. Name your item (the characters seem limitless however only around thirty, which includes spaces will actually be displayed so titles need to be fairly short) then type in the price for that item. You can also select the quantity which is displayed in the following nine abreviations (pcs, gr, ml, kg, ltr, lb, pkg, doz or bottle) and on the following screen. Any subsequent items will then be held and stored in your data list alphabetically and can be accessed by scrolling the screen until you find the required item and all information can be updated and amended as required.
You also have the option of catagorising all items. I have my catagories set out in the same order as my main supermarket which makes it particulary easier when shopping (for example; tinned, frozen, fruit and veg). You can add as many catagories as you need and easily move them into any order required. Selected items can then be added to your required shopping list and will be displayed under their colour coded catagories.
A great advantage of this app is that prices are clearly displayed in your selected items and multiples of the same item will show not only the individual price but also the cummilitive. Each shopping list will also add up the total number of items within as well as displaying the total shopping bill particulary useful for those constricted to a budget not to mention shocking if you are not fully aware of exactly what and how much you are buying on a weekly basis! As you tick off items that you add to your trolley you will also get a running total of how much you are spending. The app also allows you to compile shopping lists for recipes, personally I think the function is a waste of time and have never utilised and you can also send your shopping lists via email directly on the app. I have tested to see if it works (and it does) but I have failed to ever have a reason to email my shopping list to anyone but handy I guess if your compiling on behalf of someone else. Now I can't comment on the ability to sync to other iOS devices such as iPads, iPods and iPhones because I have never needed to use this function however I have read mixed reviews on the apps ability to sucessfully complete the task.
Other features include:
Add notes to individual items, full retina support for iPod Touch 4 and iPhone 4G, filter lists by done/undone items, manage multiple shopping lists and easy and intuitive interface.
It is most definately not the most inpiring app that I have come accross but then shopping is not the most exciting of activities. The app has proved, over the past few months that I have been using to be fairly reliable with the exception of a couple of occasions when it randomly closed down and one occasion when it froze although on both occasions no data was lost. The ability to be able to toggle and browse through all stored items (which are automatically listed alphabetically) is particulary useful to check any items that may have been missed or forgotten although it would be far more useful if you were able to see more than just three products at any one time on the screen which can also make it a bit fiddly to select the items, more of a personal niggle than a problem. In my opinion it would also be more productive if there was an option to allow the choice of having data items listed into your preferred catagory or even store which would also speed up the search process.
The screen resolution is crystal clear and colours bright making comfortable viewing and easy reading and the distinct lack of sound effects causing unnecessary bleeps and tones everytime you touch the screen, for me makes it more bareable. It is worth pointing out that it is not an app for everyone. Unless you know that you can really utilise it it seems pretty pointless to even bother to download. Users like myself, with families or those who need a large weekly shop will probably benefit the most or those who, also like me are slightly anal retentive and just like the idea of another aspect of their life that can be controlled will probably enjoy it!
It is not an amazing app but it is totally functional and useful and personally it has made compiling a shopping list a little easier as well as keeping me on budget. It is not perfect but it does the job intended and it does it pretty well. For £1.79 I don't think you can really go wrong. Arguably there are better and more expensive apps out there offering far greater functions than this one but in my opinion you have to draw the line as to what is an under utilised gimmick and what is actually necessary. This app keeps those things in perspective. I don't want or need a barcode scanner or pictures of individual items and so this simple little app serves it's pupose perfectly.
Current Version: 1.5
Size: 5.4 MB
Rated 4+ (no offensive material)
Requires iOS 3.0 or later