For years, one of the most valued and most used apps on my iPhone was Wikipanion, the free Wikipedia app that allowed me to fact-check and look up useful data on the go. Now, along comes Articles – The Wikipedia App by Sophiestication Software, which despite not being free, is looking to replace Wikipanion with its slick feature set and fancy presentation. So the question is: does Articles merit the price tag? Or should you stick with the free Wikipanion?
The first thing you’ll notice about Articles is the presentation. While Wikipanion simply shrinks the sterile layout environment of Wikipedia to fit your iPhone, Articles polishes the design to look like – for lack of a better description – a magazine article. While this is not only more aesthetically pleasing, it also makes for an easier read.
In addition, Articles allows users to skim each entry via an index, or simply search the entries for exact terms or phrases. Interesting entries can be saved for later, sent via email, or even printed through AirPrint. Additionally, unlike Wikipanion, users can open separate pages (similar to the Safari Browser) and switch between pages on the fly. This is especially handy when wanting to quickly compare one topic to another.
Articles also has a handful of interesting features like the “Surprise Me” mode, which randomly picks a Wikipedia topic to display. Feeling bored? Simply select this mode to learn something new. But perhaps the most intriguing feature of Articles, and the one that makes the app worth the cash, is its ability to locate every entry related to topics near your current location. By pulling up the map and allowing Articles to find your current location, pins will be placed on the map near you so you can learn about landmarks, towns, and points of interest in your area. This makes Articles invaluable to travelers and tourists.
Let’s return to the original question: is Articles worth the money when Wikipanion is free? In the end, it depends on your usage. Personally, as I mentioned, I use Wikipanion very frequently, whether I’m researching a topic or simply trying to answer a question that comes up in casual conversation. But given the feature set that Articles contains, and the value it presents to travelers and people who are simply curious about the world around them, I’d say that a dollar is very little to ask for such a handy application.
Bottom Line: Articles – The Wikipedia App is a slick program that is a cut above the standard Wikipanion application.
Articles – The Wikipedia App is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.