APP OF THE DAY: Tesco Recipes review (iPad)
You know that feeling you get when you go to the supermarket on an empty stomach, and end up buying waaay too much for a general weekly shop? Well, Pocket-lint gets that feeling every time it does its online grocery shopping, and it's even more tempting to add items when you don't have to carry them up the stairs yourself.
But then, it's the lesser of two evils. After all, who goes to the actual high-street supermarket nowadays, except mothers who need to get out of the house before little, screaming Johnny is locked in the basement, or single blokes trying to pick up said yummy mummies?
Come to think of it, even just writing about an app for the iPad that helps with the online shop is making us hungry. So, you read on while we nip off to grab a bumper-sized tube of BBQ Pringles...
Tesco has always been one of the most forward thinking of the big supermarket chains, and has been dabbling with apps for mobile devices for a while. In fact, the basic concept behind its latest, Tesco Recipes, isn't even that new, with the retailer having done something similar for Windows Phone 7 a few months ago.
However, nothing that Tesco has done before has been quite on this scale. This iPad-specific app is quite simply stunning, in both application and presentation.
At its core, it's essentially a portal for the online shopping experience. But Tesco has tarted it up and added over one thousand recipes for you to view and try at home. Each of them has easy-to-follow instructions and gorgeous pictures of food that will bear little or no resemblance to your own end result, no doubt.
That's not to say you're a bad cook, how would we know? You could be a Michelin Star chef. Rather, we suspect that you won't be eating the final creation in the same lighting conditions that the photographs were taken. And it's unlikely that you'll be doing extensive Photoshopping on your own bread and butter pudding.
What strikes Tesco's recipes apart from most, though, is that every ingredient needed is listed and can be immediately added to your shopping basket. Neat.
And it is here that the app excels, in the shopping duty itself. We've often found online grocery shopping a bit cumbersome to do on a PC or Mac; the browser doesn't refresh fast enough, or the pictures don't load correctly, and there's far too much scrolling with a mouse to be done.
On the iPad, though, it is as simple as swipes of the finger to browse through items, each of which is presented as a healthily-sized, bright and colourful icon. You can filter for offers at the touch of one top tab, and you can go back and forth through the different sections as easily as navigating through the iPad's main menu.
If there was one criticism, it's that it doesn't give you a running commentary of how much (in value) you've put into your basket - you have to click on the basket tab on the top menu bar to find out and update - but we suspect that might be deliberate. Encouraging you to overspend, perhaps.
Of course, how much you get out of this app is entirely based on how often you shop online and, specifically, with Tesco. With Tesco Recipes, the brand has made giant steps into making the whole process as user-friendly as possible, but that all comes to nowt if you don't have a branch nearby that's willing to deliver.
Nonetheless, it may be worth the free download, just for the recipes.