Which apps deserve a place on your phone?

17 September 2015
By Fashion Quarterly

Which free apps deserve the storage space on your smartphone? FQ weighs in…

duolingo and memrise phone apps

Duolingo vs Memrise
Tested by: Lucy Slight, FQ features editor

With a trip to Mexico on the horizon, having a few Spanish words up my sleeve beyond ‘dos cervezas, por favor’ is important. Memrise kicks off with lessons in introductory conversation, teaching simple phrases such as ‘what’s your name?’ through very repetitive exercises. After my first session I’d scored 93%, the speed and fluidity of the app making learning easy and a little addictive. The Memrise global scoreboard encouraged my competitive side too.

The next day I switched to Duolingo and set my daily learning goal as prompted. The first lesson was done with the help of photographs – a great tool for visual learners like me. The level was far more advanced, which meant I made more errors and didn’t feel as motivated to continue as I had with Memrise. I gave up on this one rather quickly – simply because I don’t have the patience to keep clicking ‘check’ after every answer to see if I’ve passed or failed.

VERDICT: Memrise is my pick due to the super-simple introductory level.

Live-streaming apps

Periscope vs Meerkat
Tested by: Sally-Ann Mullin, FQ editor

I know I don’t have another second in my day for distracting social media, but I’m eager to trial the new live streaming apps, Meerkat and Periscope – predicting they’ll be a cross between a 90s webcam and Chatroulette. I’ve heard Meerkat was the talk of SXSW this year so I expect big things, but I’m swiftly let down when I realise I need a Twitter handle to access the app. Let’s just say my relationship with Twitter ended badly when Instagram and I started going steady.

Periscope is a different story and after entering a few simple details I’m streaming to the masses. My camera skills need refining but there’s a sense of wonderment knowing that someone from Jakarta, NYC or Tokyo could be watching my live stream of the FQ office and vice versa. If Karl Lagerfeld is a fan, then so am I, so I’m sticking with it in the hopes of catching a live stream of Choupette.

VERDICT: Periscope seems like the easier, more advanced variation of the live streaming app – but remember to silence the alerts!

Shopping apps

Mallzee vs The Net Set
Tested by: Marcel Gull, FQ creative director

Within minutes of downloading Mallzee, I knew I had made a mistake. I’d filled in my details to sign up but was told I had already registered and, let me tell you, I hadn’t. After five attempts, I was in and began selecting the brand of clothing I was interested in from the high street, think Topshop, Zara and River Island. Then the right swipe, left swipe kicked in, helping Mallzee proclaim itself as the “Tinder of Fashion”. The interface is garish, overwhelming and like visiting your local mall. I didn’t make it to the buy button.

The look of The Net Set app is slick like a high-end store. The interface is laid out into five main navigation options: Browse, Find, Upload, Alerts and Profile and there’s a little shopping bag in the top right-hand corner that reminds me how easily I can purchase that Balmain black leather blazer. If a product isn’t available, an image recognition gizmo finds a similar item which may interest you. If I was forced to point out a con? The checkout is a bit of a long-winded affair.

VERDICT: If you like the garishness of malls, use Mallzee. If you prefer shopping in harmony, try The Net Set.

Zomato vs Yelp
Tested by Tyla McKenzie, FQ fashion assistant

After a long day I was tired and in no mood to put a decent meal together. To put it simply, I was hangry. So I searched ‘ramen’ on Zomato, selecting how many of us were eating and our price range. The app picked up my location and presented a list of contenders, most of which I knew of; however a new restaurant caught my eye. Ramen Takara on Ponsonby Road had only been open a week, and through the app I was able to see a full menu, price range, reviews from other customers and, most importantly, a selection of Instagram-worthy pictures.

With the help of Yelp, I had the task of choosing a café for myself and five indecisive girlfriends. Much like Zomato, you enter information into a set of categories to find the most suitable restaurant or café. I selected ‘coffee & tea shops’, which listed cafés closest to my location. I further filtered it with ‘hot & new’ and it came up with new Grey Lynn café, Crumb. Yelp gave me directions, photos and reviews, so I bookmarked the location and looked at other options before we made our final decision.

VERDICT: The bookmarking tool means Yelp gets my tick.


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