Yelp’s core service of providing detailed information and reviews of businesses is rather remarkable, and its free mobile apps, including the Android app reviewed here, put exactly the right details into your hands when you’re on the go. You can quickly search for shops and restaurants, find out if a business is currently open or closed, get directions to the site, see photos of what’s inside, and read reviews and tips about the business.
It’s all best digested with a grain of salt, though. As with any user-generated content, you’ll need to use your critical thinking skills to wade through some bias, although the features included in Yelp’s Android app makes doing so surprisingly simple. Yelp is an Editors’ Choice Android app because it absolutely makes life on the go better and more enjoyable. It delivers clear, succinct, and relevant information. Yelp on Android app isn’t quite up to the standards of the Yelp app for iPhone, unfortunately, due to the lack of a few navigation features, such as a bottom-line menu.
Interface and Use
The free Yelp app is jam-packed with tools, features, and various sections, so much that it can feel overwhelming at times. The key, however, is that when you find a business you need, either through a keyword search or by exploring places nearby based on a category, the app gives you the most important information upfront in a digest: hours open and an “open” or “closed” note for the current time, map to the location, overall review rating (1 to 5), the phone number, a link to open directions, and the distance from you to it.
Missing from the Android app is a quick access main menu along the bottom, with a crucial home button at the far left. It’s a handy button in the iPhone version that lets you jump back to the home screen rather than back out through pages one by one.
I installed the Yelp Android app on a Galaxy S III (Metro PSC) and started by looking at my existing account: profile (which I could not seem to update from the mobile app), reviews I’ve written, bookmarked businesses, friends, and other account data. The Android app doesn’t have all the features of the website, but it does a good job paring down to include only what’s most important while on the go.
To add a review, you have to land on a business’ entry first. You can search for businesses with any terms, like “coffee” or “gas stations,” or look for ones nearby generally using GPS or within a specified category such as salons or drug stores. Once on a business’ entry, you can tap the Android menu button to pull up a list of options: Add tip, add photo, draft review, bookmark, call, edit business, and share.
I couldn’t immediately find “tips” about a bar near the PCMag office that has an interesting beer selection. It turns out tips are way at the bottom, below the address, mapped location, basic information like open hours, and snippets of reviews. I wish they had been a little higher or easier to find. Best tip at this particular place? Apparently I have to find a server there named Jackie…
I scoped out some more businesses and found a nearby coffee shop that I like and wrote a quick tip (drink your coffee in-house at this place, and the staff typically offer you a free refill). I hit publish and immediately saw my tip in the full list of tips, right at the top. I like that these kinds of actions—writing reviews and tips, as well as uploading new photos of businesses—are easy, simple, and quick.
The real selling point of the Yelp Android app is that it gives you succinct but essential information about businesses you might need or want to visit that are nearby. There’s a lot more going on in the app, too, but it doesn’t get in the way of the critical information. You can now write reviews on the go, as well as add tips about a business, upload photos, peruse photos and read complete reviews from other users. Yelp’s Android app provides a great service, making it an Editors’ Choice.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc