Streamline gift giving with Gift Plan app, if you can get past the crashes

Dec 12, 2010
Shine

Hanukkah may be over, but Christmas is fast approaching and if you haven’t finished (or started) your holiday shopping, you might do well to get some help from a gift-organizing app. I have a standby app that I use for all occasions, but I strayed to see how the new $1.99 Gift Plan app for […]

Hanukkah may be over, but Christmas is fast approaching and if you haven’t finished (or started) your holiday shopping, you might do well to get some help from a gift-organizing app. I have a standby app that I use for all occasions, but I strayed to see how the new $1.99 Gift Plan app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad compared with my favorite shopping app. The result was mixed.

First, the good: Gift Plan, created by Glasshouse Apps, is beautifully designed. You can add a full-screen photo of the gift’s recipient, and also enter useful information such as likes and dislikes, sizing information and gift ideas. Move your ideas to your shopping basket and enter pricing information to keep a budget of your holiday expenses. Once you’ve made the purchase, tap the gift icon to mark the present bought. When you’re viewing an occasion, you can swipe through your loved ones to see their photos and information. Gift Plan also offers color-coding on the calendar tab, a countdown of days until the next occasion, and a function to import birthdays from contacts and Facebook.

With the good, though, comes the bad. Gift Plan crashed on my iPhone 4, especially when I added new contacts. The function to create a new occasion versus adding recipients to existing events is a little muddled—I found myself constantly confusing the two. Although your shopping list keeps a running total of your spending, I wish you could see this information divided by each person as well. I was surprised to see that the bottom toolbar scrolled, because there are only five tabs. They all fit on screen fine, but I suppose this is a design nitpick rather than something that truly impacts functionality.

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I don’t think I’ll be switching to Gift Plan from my current gift app, but if you’ve never used something to help you organize your shopping, Gift Plan’s good looks and potential make it a reasonable, though cautious, investment.

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