Recently, I had the pleasure of taking Splash Travel by Splashdata for a test drive while taking a cross country road trip. Let me start by qualifying my thoughts: I am not currently a road warrior, either by trade or pleasure (despite the fact that I was a working traveller in a previous incarnation). With that out of the way, Splashdata has once again come up with a winner in Splash Travel. Its designed with both the avid road warrior and the occassional traveller in mind. Here's what the website says:
15 must-have tools when you travel -- or anytime you have to deal with different time zones, currencies, measurements or country codes. When you are on the go, you need information at your fingertips. SplashTravel includes clocks, timers, calculators, converters, and all sorts of data that you’ll find handy while catching a flight, waiting for a train, or sitting in a cab on your way to a meeting. SplashTravel is the virtual Swiss Army knife for road warriors!
The beauty of Splash Travel is that the tools it includes are not just useful for those on the road but are also useful for anyone who is dealing with various currencies, timezones and/or requiring multiple alarms. That, combined with Splashdata's traditional, easy-to-use interfac makes Splash Travel a winner!
Starting up the program takes you to the program's 'homepage'. This mini-launcher screen displays the date and time of whatever city you have selected from the pulldown list. Let me take a moment to note here that despite the diversity of tools included with the program, Splashdata has also taken the time to build in some nice graphics. The colors on the homepage are vivid and the icons easy to recognize and understand. I also like the ticker screen that scrools acros the bottom of the homepage screen. It provide instant data on upcoming alarms, currency conversions, and regional times. Very handy in a pinch.
Splash Travel includes a useful world map with a day/night terminator. Tapping anywhere on the map will pull up useful information on the city city you have tapped on (e.g. date, time, capital city, country and location on the map). There is also a handy pulldown list which you can edit to include your most-used cities.
The homepage's clocks screen displays your currently selected primary city along with the relative times of up to four other cities. This is not only useful for those of us crossing multiple timezones during our travels but can also be handy when you're trying to determine whether your friend on the other side of the planet is awake or asleep-- saving your the embarassment of waking them up with a phone call in the middle of the night!
Splash Travel also includes an alarm tool with the ability to set up to nine alarms. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the program is able to recognize WAV and midi alarms located on your palm and/or your SD card. A simple but powerful touch for those of us who are tired of running through the same old alarms. I would also note that the program includes Timers that utilize these same alarm settings. Very useful when timing visits and meetings.
The program also includes to calculators for calculating time and date. The time calculator is similar to the clocks function. The date calculator is somewhat unique as it allows you to enter two separate dates. It then tells you how many days/workdays exist between the two dates. You can then manipulate the data by adding/subtracting days to see what the adjusted dates will be. In addition to assisting with planning stopovers and tours, the program is also useful for calculating project end dates!
Next on the list, we have a currency converter and a unit converter. These are standard fair when compared to similar standalone calculators. The difference is that these are very easy to use...and they're included in one program. I should also note that access to the internet gives you up-to-date access to currency rates around the globe which is essential for those who are globe trotting on a regular basis.
Although I haven't had a need for them on a regular basis, Splash Travel includes a stop watch and timer (as mentioned above). I won't go into detail given my lack of use but I will note that the stop watch does include the ability to record splits which is handy for those of us who are runners...
Next on our tour is a check splitter and an expense recorder. The check splitter is handy when dining with groups. It allows you to enter the total bill, taxes number of people and tip. It then calculates the amount that each person is responsible for covering. Perhaps even more useful however, is the expense recorder which can be used to record a traveller's spending while on the road. entries can be made with categories, currency types and descriptions. I used this quite a bit while on the road and appreciated the fact that it totalled everything for me as I added to the list. My only regret was the fact that it didn't allow for exporting into a excel spreadsheet. Something that many will pine for if they are required to submit travel reports to their employers.
The program's Codes and Domains screen includes a database of the area code and internet domain code for various countries.
The final two tools in Splash Travel's repetoire are my two favorite! The Luggage screen is perfect for maintaining my travel list. The split screen includes a 'FULL LIST' and 'MY LIST' screen. The full list is where the user is able to specify (by category and name) what they will take on their trip.Checking off an item in this list will then add it to the 'MY LIST' screen which can then be used when packing and preparing for a trip. The application also includes the ability to add or edit the list as required.
The Clothing Sizes screen includes clothing and footwear measurements for various countries around the world. Pick the type of clothing you are looking for (blouse, pants, etc.), the sizing type (e.g. man, woman, child) and then view the size charts by country. This sounds like a trivial tool but can be very useful when travelling abroad. I know I could have used this program while travelling through asia last year!
I apologize for the size of the review but as you can see, there are too many applications in Splash Travel to review, even in a condensed form! Priced at $19.95 US, this little application is a gem. Its simple interface and surprisingly powerful repetoire of tools are handy for anyone who is planning a trip or travelling in a regular basis.
So are there any negatives you ask? Well, as I previously mentioned, I was disappointed to find that you can't export the travel expenses into any sort of spreadsheet application. This is a big negative for those users who regularly submit expense reports in excel or other expense programs. The other niggly frustration that kept me from completely falling in love with this program was its lack of support for the 5-way navigator on the palm. Being a Treo 650 user, I rely on one-handed navigation on a regular basis and it was sometimes a nuisance to have to stop whatever I was doing and pull out the stylus so that I could access a particular screen in the program-- and you will be pulling out the stylus given that the icons are just a little too small to tap with your finger. My final thought, not exactly a complaint, is that I would love to see a program like this including a flight checker. It would be excellent if I could enter my flight data and then have the program tell me if my flight is on time or behind schedule!
Despite these few complaints, I have to admire Splasdata for developing another winner. Splash Travel is priced perfectly given its range of tools and is an excellent choice for hardcore travellers and occassional users alike. The program will definitely be staying on my Treo and will get a great deal of use regardless of whether I am travelling over a weekend or a month.