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December 7, 2016

Grate Shopping Guide left me hungry (Review)

by John_A

Overview:

Grate is a shopping assistant app where you can scan product barcodes and have reviews and information shown to you along with Amazon reviews.

Developer: Botond Kopacz

Cost: Free

Impressions:

Grate Shopping Guide is advertised as a handy shopping guide for you to use while food shopping. Simply scan the product barcode and up will pop a collection of reviews from users and Amazon about the product, letting you know how it is and if you should buy it. A handy app to have, especially if you may be shopping for something unfamiliar, so Grate is worth the download, right? I’d have to say definitely not right now.

My experience with Grate has been frustrating, to say the least, with the app crashing consistently and most of the features not working properly. The barcode scan works well, when it doesn’t force close the app, and brings up the correct item that I was scanning, but that’s about it. The settings don’t seem to open, and the other features like search also don’t work. Essentially, in it’s current state, the app is simply a barcode reader.

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Grate is supposed to bring up both user reviews and, if applicable, Amazon reviews of the product you scan but neither come up. I suppose that part of the issue with that is that the user reviews are reliant on people actually using the app and reviewing the products. The Amazon reviews, on the other hand, just don’t show. I’ve checked the food I’ve scanned and all of them have reviews available on Amazon, so it must be an app-side issue.

Functionality-wise, Grate isn’t great either. The app consistently crashes after scanning, and won’t work until you close it completely and restart it. I get a few good scans before it fails each time. Nothing else in the app seems to work at all, settings and the individual tabs don’t work at all, just bringing me back to a blank screen. The only things that work are the sharing and review tabs for the app itself. Also, the camera interface isn’t fantastic as it lacks any focus or zoom features to help you get the barcode in frame better. I will say that the app can quickly decipher even poorly framed barcodes, or upside down ones as well, it took only a second or two to get the product page up. Overall, the app is just kind of broken.

I do have some positive things to say about Grate, however. Visuals in the app are nice, with material design and a nice, clean look. Also, the app is quick and responsive when I got it to actually work. There are also no ads to be seen, which is excellent for a free app. I do wish Grate offered a “shopping list” feature where you can save the items you scanned in a list, or make a list of products and let you search for them in the app’s review section.

Conclusion:

Conceptually, I like the idea of what Grate offers. It could potentially be pretty useful for people concerned about the products they buy, and could also be a handy shopping list app that also provides handy information about the goods on your list. Unfortunately it just doesn’t work much at all right now, and should be avoided until the developer has had a chance to address the issues in the app and make it functional again.

Download Grate Shopping Guide from the Google Play Store

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