Being a small, portable computer more than just a phone, the iPhone has become a true multipurpose device that can perform even complex tasks like image editing and spreadsheet management. However, its is with simpler, more straightforward tasks that it really shines.
A clear example of this is how popular weather, calculator and exchange apps have become, allowing you to perform complex operations with just a few taps and in no more than a handful of seconds.
Of all these “smaller” apps, conversion apps are perhaps among the most popular and most useful as well.
Let’s take a look at both Convertbot and Amount, the first an all-time favorite conversion app from developers Tapbots, and the other a promising recent entry to the App Store.
Available in the App Store since early 2009, Convertbot for iPhone ($1.99) still boasts a unique and fun interface that uses robotic sounds and animations that, while perhaps a bit over-the-top, give the app a unique personality.
The app uses several elements in its interface, but none is more distinctive than its scrolling wheel which was clearly influenced by Apple’s previous iPod models.
The scroll wheel is used to select just about everything, from the main category you want to work with to the different units within each of them. Once you select a category and a unit, tapping any of the fields above will let you enter the number you want to convert and its equivalent measure will be displayed in the other field. A nice additional feature of Convertbot is the ability to turn the traditional keyboard into a calculator (go to Settings for this), which comes in handy whenever you want to add amounts while you convert.
One downside of the app though, is that it doesn’t support the iPhone 5 resolution, making it a bit harder to use if you own one of Apple’s latest devices.
With just a few months in the App Store, Amount for iPhone ($0.99) has become one of the most popular conversion apps, and for good reason. The app uses a radically different design when compared to similar offerings, with an interface that is minimal and smart, allowing you to see more information when you perform conversions.
Upon inserting the number you want to convert, all you have to do is press Done to have it converted into all the units of its belonging category. If you need to, you can also change categories and units on the fly and all measures will be displayed immediately.
A very convenient feature of Amount is the ability to edit categories, allowing you to filter out the ones you don’t need or use frequently so you can see results only for those that concern you. Additionally, you can also copy any result you want to paste it on any other app on our iOS device.
Overall, while both conversion apps are more than capable, unless you really like the style and interface of Convertbot, Amount should be the one to choose. It is cheaper, supports the iPhone 5 larger screen and its smart interface makes it look as if it belonged to a future generation of apps when compared to similar offerings.