MobiExplore UK review – S60 pocket tour guide
This Flash app aims to squeeze the whole of the UK into your teeny S60 handset. It offers maps, tourist attractions, hotel recommendations, restaurants and more for dozens of cities nationwide – even slightly tongue-in-cheek phrase books to help you speak Brummie or Brizzle (Bristol slang, don’t you know).
Mobile tourist portals are big business – Nokia has linked up with Lonely Planet to download its content via Maps, for example – but the biggest selling point of MobiExplore has to be its lack of price. For a free app, it’s surprisingly comprehensive. Major cities across the land (including Belfast, which is a refreshing change) get zoomable, searchable city centre maps with a good level of tourist info pre-loaded on your handset.
If you want specific suggestions for bars, shops, hotels and restaurants, MobiExplore ventures online to fetch a short (100-word) reviews and contact details. As you personalise the software at start-up with your age, gender and budget, the recommendations are usually relevant – it actually picked a couple of my favourite eateries in London and York.
It’s not quite perfect, of course. Smaller cities – even popular destinations such as Bath and Brighton – are dismissed with brief tourist brochure-style summaries, and the writing is often amateurish and poorly edited. The News section, for instance, includes events that are months out of date. I also occasionally encountered ‘Flash Content error’ warnings.
Being a free guide, MobiExplore presumably makes its money by selling its tourist and retail recommendations, which means you won’t get the impartial advice and in-depth knowledge of a genuine guide book.
That said, MobiExplore is extremely easy to use, packed with short, snappy info and best of all, free. It’s highly recommended for first-time visitors around the country and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for MobiExplore’s Italy guide, launching soon.
Download here: MobiExplore