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Review: CBS Interactive’s Official Star Trek PADD app for iPad

12 July 2011 3,402 views One Comment

If you’re a Star Trek collector or have younger kids, this is a must have app. For everyone else, you’ll want to take a longer look before plunking down the $5 asking price. What’s cool and what’s crap? Step inside for the full monty.

Whereas Star Trek PADD (iTunes, $4.99) is visually attractive enough, the sounds and blinking panels and buttons on the whole have no functional attributes and the extensive character, technology, place, food, sci/med, episode, cast and staff database is presented unimaginatively with many photographs missing.

PCs Desktops and Notebooks 120x240Features:

• Browse or search through official Star Trek database, including aliens, ships, places, technologies and episode guide
• Rich, immersive LCARS graphical interface from Star Trek: The Next Generation
• Authentic computer sound effects and voice
• Jump to related information through cross-links to other content
• Read the latest news from the Star Trek Facebook page and Twitter feeds
• Enjoy two self-running diagnostic modes with an overview schematic of the USS Enterprise D

Check out the Fairer Platform’s big n’ growing Trek for Mac, iOS page

Further, in cases where there isn’t picture, the app doesn’t expand text fields to make reading easier. Ultimately, text is what this app’s about.

Chew your Gagh!

How many of Star Trek’s numerous alien races can you name? Would you dare drink a glass of Tranya? Answers to these questions and thousands more can be found in Star Trek PADD.

However, you might have trouble learning from this app’s extensive database as it beeps and gurgles interminably. That said, aside from using the iPad’s master volume, there’s no way to calm this cacophony — no mute button, no settings at all.

So, it’s either silence or cacophony. Another can you say “lazy” issue is the fact that the app offers only landscape mode. Portrait mode would be a nice way to clear the deck to present text and pictures fullscreen or at least with a more intelligent layout.

Additionally, the landscape only user interface is chock full of pointless eye candy that blinks and flashes endlessly. Why not tie actual functionality to the LCARS interface rather than two very non-sequitur rows of buttons?

If you leave it alone for a minute, Star Trek PADD enters an automatic mode, flashing from LCARS screen mock up to mock up while beeping and gurgling. This presentation has no story line or theme with no real information.

Again, if you’re a collector or have younger kids likely to enjoy the eye candy and sound effects, this app’s for you. For everyone else, Star Trek PADD is very thin on value…

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