September 2, 2014

App Review: WikiPock

While browsing through the AndroidGuys accessory store I came across an app that quickly grabbed my attention.  WikiPock takes the massiveness of the Wikipedia online database and shrinks it down to 4GB so that it easily fits on a standard memory card.  The idea of having the entire Wikipedia on my hip and accessible at any time sounded pretty sweet so I placed my order.

Because of it’s size this isn’t an app that you’ll be able to download over the air, even if you have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot or 3G network.  I had to download the database to my PC’s hard drive, then over to my SD card.  For some odd reason I wasn’t able to unzip my downloaded file, and considering the download process moved at a snail’s pace I wasn’t exactly pleased.  However, WikiPock’s tech support answered my emails within minutes and everything was straightened out in a few simple steps.

Once I installed the app to my phone I was ready to start looking things up.  The interface is very simple, only showing a search bar at the top of the screen.  Pressing menu while on the home screen reveals a few more options.  Among them was an option for a random page display, that when pressed takes you to, well a random page in the database.  The only problem is that it sometimes yields results that can’t be clicked or expanded upon, showing you only the title of the random search.

When you type in your query the app auto populates possible matches which makes searching easier even if you don’t know the correct spelling.  If you’re using a handset that only has a soft keyboard you may be annoyed by the fact that if there’s more than two matches the rest will be hidden by the keyboard, but this was hardly a major issue.  Simply click on one of the results and the entry is displayed.  The first thing you’ll notice is a lack of any photographs.  With only 4GB to work with something had to go, and pictures were the obvious choice.  I also noticed a formatting problem with the stats and dates section. It isn’t as neatly displayed as the other text in the entries.  While I was able to find the information I was looking for, that section would definitely benefit from some tweaking.  Within each subject entry you also had the option to go to the “web definition” which takes you to the online Wiki database.

While a little rough around the edges WikiPock is an app that I’m glad I stumbled upon.  I’ve used it on more than one occasion while my friends were still waiting for their pokey EDGE or 3G connections (T-Mobile) to pull up the online Wikipedia.  It doesn’t have the multi-media features of the online version, but everything else “Wiki” has been crammed into this neat little app.

This app was tested using:  Motorola Cliq on T-Mobile’s Network
Presentation:  Nothing fancy here, but it gets the job done.  Easy navigation, and very fast search queries once the database loads initially.
Value:  I found this app to be a great value at $14.99.  Sure, theoretically you always have access to the full online version, but if your data connection is ever compromised this is a great alternative to have in your back pocket.
Stability/Resources:  After I initially installed WikiPock it crashed a few times, but after I restarted my system it’s been fine since then.  Other than the 4GB of space it doesn’t really consume many resources because you’re only dealing with text.
Bottom Line:  While I won’t call WikiPock a “must have” application, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using it, and because it is stored directly on my phone I’ve found myself using it more than Google to look up historical facts and figures.  I highly recommend it for anyone that wants their Wiki information fast and without all the fluff.