Monday, January 28, 2013

Essential iPhone Apps

I'm not very trendy with it comes to technology (okay, when it comes to anything) but even I have to admit that my iPhone has saved my perky backside on numerous occasions while living in Shanghai. While I'm sure everyone and their cat has an opinion on what applications are best (Snowball recommends Cat Toy), I've compiled a list of my five favorite iPhone apps for living or traveling in Shanghai. And since I'm cheap, all of my apps also happen to be free. That's right, not a one of these apps costs a single thing (other than your soul, which I'm pretty sure you sign away when you agree to the iTunes terms and conditions).

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1) Hi Shanghai: To be honest, this might be my favorite application. It's a handy guide of places to go and things to do. You can search for places near your current location or if you know the name of what you are looking for, you can simply type it in.

For example, let's say I'm looking for my favorite spinning studio in Shanghai. I type in spin and up pops the listing for SpinShanghai. The app gives me a few details about the place I have looked up as well as the address, phone number, and closest subway station.

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Then, if I click the little taxi icon in the right hand corner, a taxi card is displayed with the address in both English and Chinese. I've used this feature on numerous occasions when I'm either unable to pronounce a street name correctly or my taxi driver pretends to be deaf.

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2) Explore Shanghai Metro: Even with a driver, we take the subway a lot. It's cheap, it's efficient, and I'm allowed to shove people. This app is basically a map of the metro system in Shanghai which you can use to figure out a line transfer, see how long your trip is going to take, or estimate how much your ride is going to cost. It's also useful when trying to calculate how many more stations you are going to have to endure the karaoke beggars for.

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3) Google Maps: I have a horrid sense of direction. I could get lost in my own driveway. In fact, I lived in our last town for six whole months before I figured out how to get to the gym on my own. True story. Anyhow, this is why Google Maps is essential. The lovely blinking blue dot shows me where I am and the flag shows me my destination. Easy as can be. While I do sometimes use the built in Apple Map, I still find Google to be more accurate at this time.

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4) Waygo Visual Translator: This app is blowing my mind. Seriously. You use your camera to scan over Chinese characters and it translates them into English. The free version only translates food but for me, that's the main reason to use this app. I can now walk into pretty much any restaurant and order off the menu without simply pointing and hoping for the best. My digestive tract thinks this app deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

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5) Google Translate: I had been in Shanghai for about a day when the taxi I was in drove past my hotel. I started wildly waving, grunting, and yelling stop. The taxi driver apparently thought I was dancing to his music and turned up the radio. I quickly pulled out my phone, opened Google Translate, and figured out the word for stop. Sure, a translation app isn't going to make communicating easy but it can help you figure out a word here or there. Or save you having to walk a few extra blocks.

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Those are my essential apps for Shanghai. Does anyone have other ones they can't live without? Did I leave your favorite off the list?

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! As an American moving to Shanghai this year I'm sure that these apps will be of help. I've already downloaded them all :).

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    Replies
    1. I hope you find them as helpful as I do! Moving here can be overwhelming so please shoot me an email if there is anything I can do to help.

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    2. Will do. Thanks. I've looked through them and they're great. I found another to learn Chinese phrases. Loved it! We'll be moving with a one-year-old so we're hoping for the best :).

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  2. So happy you found Waygo! We'd love to hear any feedback you have for us or interesting translations that come up along the way.

    Thank you for helping spread the word about us!!

    If only your digestive tract could award Nobel Peace Prizes...

    ReplyDelete
  3. This are great list of iphone apps. I have some of this apps on my iphone and really a great help for me. Thanks fro sharing this list.

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  4. It's nice to see such an active personal blog for life in China and this is a great list for Shanghai newbies. I'll be subscribing to your updates. I use the Waygo and Explore Shanghai Metro apps all the time. If you don't mind, I'd also like to share my own list of apps that can make Shanghai much more manageable.

    http://www.tekshanghai.com/25-best-iphone-apps-shanghai/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is great, Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was a good suggestion that you put up here.hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here.
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    ReplyDelete
  7. This is very nice post i m very like it and i appreciate you for good work keep it up it is very useful for me
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