Top five free iPhone productivity apps

Our favorite iPhone apps let you aggregate various online accounts, back up notes and photos, create to-do lists, look up local businesses, and surf the Web offline--all without spending a dime.

I experienced a few lag-time issues when testing the app, but no real deal-breakers. For instance, the text-to-voice feature was accurate in my testing, but conversion from text to voice took about 10 minutes over EDGE. Also, there's inexplicably no way to edit a to-do or shopping entry from your iPhone once you've saved it, even to add the day and time the task is due. You can, however, edit and manage your saved entries on ReQall's nicely designed Web site. The current iteration of ReQall is free, but according to its Web site, the company will start charging for it soon.

4. YPMobile

Website | App Store link (requires iTunes)

YPMobile puts searchable Yellow Pages listings right on your iPhone free of charge, saving you from having to lug the Yellow Pages around with you. In addition to searching for specific business names, YPMobile can also search by category: restaurant types, dry cleaners, barber shops, and the like.

Provided you allow YPMobile to use your current location data, your search results display in order of the businesses nearest to your current location, which is a great touch. Each listing offers the business's address and phone number (you tap the number to call them), as well as a user rating based on a five-star scale. You can add listings to your "Plan" for the day by hitting a plus button at the bottom of the screen, and you can bookmark and share business listings by adding them as a favorite. YPMobile's usefulness doesn't stop there, thanks to an events tab that lists upcoming concerts and happenings. Of the batch reviewed here, it's the most bug-free.

5. Instapaper

Website | App Store link (requires iTunes)

Instapaper is a way to create offline versions of your favorite Web articles, allowing you to read them on your iPhone while you're on an airplane, in the subway tunnel, or otherwise out of signal range. However, in order to save a list of pages to read, you'll need to plan ahead and visit Instapaper.com beforehand using mobile Safari, choose your content, and then launch the Instapaper app to read it offline. I only wish it had integrated functionality with the iPhone's mobile Safari browser; namely, the ability to save offline versions of articles by simply tapping a button within Safari.

After performing that rather irritating ritual (it's much less frustrating to use your laptop or desktop to save your content with the Instapaper site), the Instapaper app displays a list of all the pages you've saved. However, clicking on my entries brought up another buggy usability issue: an error message that read, "Sorry, this page is not available offline." That's not entirely accurate, because tapping the "Text" button at the top of the screen brought up an offline version of each saved page. Once you get around the bugginess and the hoop-jumping, Instapaper is a nice way to read long articles offline, but the development team has a few kinks and usability issues to work out.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Moynihan

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?