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Reviews Retrospective – Tom’s three most memorable app reviews

We’ve published close to a thousand app reviews over the last decade, and we’re feeling reflective – so we’ve asked our brilliant review team to look back over their old articles and each pick three favorites that stood the test of time. It’s a great chance to revisit some amazing titles you might have missed the first time around.

Note that this is not a selection of “the greatest apps ever,” but rather a subjective look at the reviews that felt important to the people who wrote them. Which apps stuck with our team long after the final verdicts were dished out?

Today, we’re looking at the top choices from Editor-in-Chief Tom Rolfe. For each choice, he’ll explain what made the app so interesting – and we’ll include links back to the original reviews if you want to read more. Enjoy!


1Blocker was an absolute game-changer for mobile security. The content blocker plugs into Apple’s Safari browser as an additional line of defense against the myriad perils of the internet, not only protecting users from annoying adverts but from nefarious trackers and data-miners, too. You can even block comment sections and cookie notices, massively speeding up website load times. What struck me was how it offered a level of customization and depth rarely seen in Apple’s own Settings menus, without requiring its users to switch from the safety and comfort of Safari. It’s a utility I’ve used from day one, and a prime example of what can be achieved when Apple opens up its platform to third-party extensions.

Read my original review of 1Blocker (known as 1Blocker X at the time of writing)



I’ve chosen this hybrid rhythm-card game not because it’s especially great, but because it dared to try something new. DropMix connects your iPhone to a real-world deck of cards via a smart game board, challenging players to lay down tracks to the beat like some kind of otherworldly DJ. Not only does it work surprisingly well, but it got me daydreaming about a near-future of high-tech reality-blurring gaming – a world Apple is already hurtling toward with its Augmented Reality framework ARKit. DropMix was a commercial flop – but on the bright side, that means you can now buy the full game set for $30 instead of $100!

Read my original review of DropMix


Photoshop for iPad

As one of millions who has used Photoshop regularly for many years, I was not alone in my mix of excitement and disappointment when Adobe finally released a full-fat version of its famous editing software for iPad. The app may not yet offer every feature of the desktop version, but amazingly it now runs on the same powerful framework. For me, this was a reminder that it’s no longer processing power holding back the iPad from its dreams of laptop-killing, but rather the challenge of translating user interfaces to work naturally with touch inputs. It’ll come with time, I’m sure – and to Adobe’s credit, Photoshop for iPad continues to improve with new tools and features added almost monthly.

Read my original review of Photoshop for iPad