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Android App Review: Dick Smith NZ (Beta)

07 Oct 13

Remember when the internet became so important that if you had a shop, you also had to have a website.

We’ve hit the next milestone, I think: if you have a website, now you probably also need an app.

Or that’s what Dick Smith thinks, anyway, so they’ve given us this. An app to do your tech-related shopping right here on your phone.

The interface, with its brushed steel finish and spinning option wheel, is a lot more impressive than most apps. It looks nothing like anything else Dick Smith related, but that’s all right.

Whether it’s my phone or perhaps my internet connection, but this app feels a bit slower than others I’ve tried. Every time you press anything it takes a few moments for ‘synchronising’, which could get a bit tedious if you wanted to search through multiple options for one specific product (comparing laptop specifications, say).

Maybe it’s unfair reviewing an app that’s still in beta – but if they didn’t think it was ready for people to use then surely they wouldn’t have put it up in the store, right?

With that said, here’s a few small things I found annoying that may well be fixed by the time they get it to a finished state: firstly, some of the layout seems a bit odd.

There’s a lot of white space, especially in when you’re looking at product details, and while snooty designers will tell you that white space is visual gold, here I almost feel like it’s getting in the way.

Click for more details about a product and you’re taken to a page with just the name of the product on a plain white background – it’s not until you scroll down that you get a picture of the item, and eventually the actual product information you were after.

The other annoying thing is that to use some of the app’s features (such as looking at your browsing history or, you know, buying anything) you have to sign in first – which is fine if you already have an account with Dick Smith, but if you don’t then I can’t see a way to get one through the app.

You have to exit and register through the website, and now that you’re there you might as well buy your stuff there too.

As far as I can tell this app doesn’t offer you much that the Dick Smith website doesn’t except for maybe some convenience. But having said that, the website is a lot easier to navigate on a PC, and even using it through a phone browser is no slower and not really any less convenient than using the app.

There are a few things the app does better (like giving you more subcategories to choose from so that you only have to scroll through ten items to find the one you want instead of fifty), but not enough that I’d really want to argue for it over the website.

But again, this is an app in beta. Maybe wait a while until they’ve taken that disclaimer off it, and these problems might be solved.