App

It’s minimal and some might argue it’s beautiful, but one thing this app isn’t is reliable

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Minimalism and elegance are great in theory — something to aspire to in a world of complex, bloated products. Even on mobile, you quite often find yourself battling with an app that tries to do a bunch of things well, yet should really be pared back for a better user experience. But it can be a problem when stripping things back too far.

The impression we got with AudioDrop is of an app that hasn’t got that balance right, despite providing a stark yet usable foundation that initially seems very promising.

The idea behind AudioDrop appears to be an app to replace the likes of Apple’s own Voice Memos, but with the added protection of automated cloud back-ups — in this case, to Dropbox. The app’s interface is all about speed and efficiency. Tap + and a new recording begins, which you can pause at any point, or stop to conclude.

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Once the recording’s done, the screen transitions from red to green, so you can play it. A list button at the foot of the screen enables you to swipe upwards to access previous recordings, which are automatically time-stamped. The time-stamp can be replaced by something else if you like — a rightwards swipe enables you to rename a file; swipe the other way and you can delete it.

If this all worked seamlessly and reliably, without you having to think about anything, we’d recommend AudioDrop. The thing is, it really has taken too much away. Hit record and there’s no reassurance you’re recording beyond the timecode, or that levels are OK. Worse, you’d best hope that your connection doesn’t die when using AudioDrop, or you’ll find recordings vanish.

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We tried using the app when belting along in a train, dropping in and out of network connectivity. Sometimes, it was fine, and sometimes it wasn’t. In more scientific conditions, we tried using the app on Wi-Fi, stable 3G and GPRS, and in Airplane mode. With a solid connection, things generally worked, but in Airplane mode, nothing got saved. And sometimes after exiting Airplane mode, previous items that had presumably not been fully uploaded vanished, while subsequent recordings weren’t saved, requiring the app to be force-quit and restarted. (These issues could be duplicated across multiple devices, too, so this wasn’t restricted to a single piece of hardware.)

For an app you’re committing ideas and thoughts to, this simply isn’t good enough; however, if this can be fixed with more robust local file-saving, AudioDrop could become something great.

Price: £1.49/$1.99
Size: 3.7 MB
Version: 1.0
Developer: Monkeys Writing Shakespeare

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Review: AudioDrop audio recorder that syncs to Dropbox - sometimes
A great idea for an audio recorder, but poorly executed.
For
  • Very simple interface
  • Nice interaction ideas
  • Great when it works
Against
  • Fares poorly with interrupted connectivity
  • Not reliable enough
  • No sharing options
1.5Overall Score