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Yelp (for Windows Phone)

If you desperately need to find a good place to eat nearby, Yelp can come to your rescue. Designed with all the “metro” style cues, the Yelp for Windows Phone app (free) is a rare example of a Windows Phone app that doesn’t fall short of its iPhone counterpart. It even includes some more advanced features like “monocle” (more on that later). Yelp’s rating on the Windows Phone store is lower than it should be, but the recent update on July 18 should change that. The higher-rated, closely competing UrbanSpoon, while well designed and useful, offers far less than Yelp.

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Setup
I installed the app on a Nokia Lumia 928 running Windows Phone 8 and a Samsung ATIV Odyssey. As only makes sense for an app intended to help you find local businesses, at installation Yelp asks if you’ll allow it to access your location. The app would be far less useful without this, and in fact, you can’t install it unless you tap the “allow” button. You can use the app without a Yelp account, but it’s far more helpful if you do sign in.

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Interface and Using Yelp for Windows Phone
Large red tiles on the home screen let you see Nearby, Bookmarks, Feed, Friends, Deals, and Recents. You can swipe to the right (visually cued by thumbnails peeking from the side of the screen) to see “hot+new nearby” and “about me” (if you’ve signed in). Tapping the Nearby tile displays a list of popular venue categories—Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Tea, and so on. You can pin a home screen tile for any of these, and even make a home screen tile for a particular business, by holding your finger down on the entry and choosing “Pin.”

Each business’s page has five “tabs” you can swipe through, from left to right: info, reviews, photos, tips, and regulars. From the businesses page, you can place a phone call, see the menu, or call up a map; but a small map doesn’t appear right on the main business page as it does in the iPhone app.

I often have to remind myself that Yelp is for more than just restaurants: I was trying to remember the name of the violin maker across the street from our office, since they occasionally have concerts. Google Maps didn’t do the trick, but choosing “music venues” in Yelp found the YMP Concert Hall on the first page of results. You’ll also find detailed reviews of opticians and hairstylists—pretty much any retail or service you can think of.

I mentioned in the outset that Yelp for Windows Phone even supports the “monocle” augmented-reality feature. This lets you hold up the phone to see business entries hovering over your camera view in a heads up display. But it was only available on one of my two test phones, the Nokia Lumia 928. On bottom of the results page for a Nearby category, the monocle button appeared, letting me use the phone’s camera to view tags for businesses in the direction I was pointing. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey, however, lacked this button, probably due to some hardware spec limitations.

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Mystic Maggie

All of the Mystic Maggie Posts are RSS Reader Feeds from around the web. All copyright remains with the original publisher. No copyright is claimed or intended. Where supplied, links back to the original article are included.

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