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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Review: Lonely Planet City Guides
Review: Lonely Planet City Guides

A guidebook can often be the best travel investment you can make - and one of the cheapest

With this slogan, Lonely Planet (LP) does present its travel guide books section and, if I tell you the truth, I agree. That being said, I have to say that Lonely Planet guides are not my favorites. I recognize that they have the most (useful) information, but they lack visual appeal. Many times I have fallen into the “trap” of following the descriptive prose of LP guides, and after arriving at the place described, I found myself disappointed. That is why I prefer the DK (Dorling Kindersley) guides.

Taking advantage of the end of last month when the LP guides of various European cities could be downloaded for free, I decided to try them. Keep reading, I will tell you my impressions…



APPEARANCE: 2

No complications here, simple menus, and few, very few images. The graphic design of the interface is quite simple.


FEATURES: 4

You will see five icons at the bottom of the screen. One is the guide; another the nearby Points of Interest (POI); another a map; another a search section and the latter gives us access to the images (33 to be exact, photos of the city in question) and Favorites (sometimes, a heart icon shows up after selecting a POI. If you click the icon, the POI is saved in the Favorites folder, and we can access it more easily at a later time.)

Both, the finder POI and the map have a filter so you can choose the icons you want to see on the map (restaurants, sightseeing, entertainment, shopping and places to stay).

 

When selecting a POI, it displays relevant information about it. You can dial the phone number or send an email (you’ll leave the LP app) directly from the displayed menu.

 


USABILITY: 2.5

There are two main points. One is the ease of use, it’s easy. Another, is the navigation through the menus of the guide itself, it’s quite cumbersome.

VALUE: 4.5

Given that the paper version of the downloaded guides cost about 20€, we must recognize that the iPhone version is a bargain. Depending on the chosen city, prices range from $2.99 to $5.99 , as I said before, a bargain. Even if you do not compare it to the paper editions, the price is fine. The guide brings lots and lots of information.

Conclusion

If what you are looking for in a travel guide is information (although browse in it is tedious) and you do not give much importance to the photos and pictures, do not hesitate, Lonely Planet is your best option. For the rest, you MAY have better options in the vast ocean of applications from the App Store.

TOTAL: 3.25 out of 5.

DANIEL FERNÁNDEZ

 


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