Picture this situation: you are out with your friends on a Friday night. You have all been to several pubs and are starting to feel hungry, so need a good place to eat. You know you all want to see a film tonight too, but have no idea what is showing or when. Perhaps you want to keep the party moving, and try out some pubs you haven’t been to before. Poynt is a great application that can handle all this for you.
I am reviewing Poynt from the perspective of someone who is having a night out on the town with their mates. Though it would be equally as useful in the daytime to one person, it struck me as a Friday night application. This was probably reinforced by the app’s picture on the Android Market, which is of a woman pouring pancake syrup onto her tongue while a guy takes a photo. The caption was ’24 Hour Diner’. How much more ‘Friday Night’ can you get?
The overall purpose of Poynt seems similar to Yelp’s. It attempts to provide you with information on your surroundings when you need it. There are a few differences though, which you can pick up on throughout this review.
Note: When I first started Poynt it showed me a Gas Station icon and a People icon. When I tried to select them, a message appeared saying ‘not available in your country’. Therefore you should assume that as well as the four main functions I am offered and have reviewed below, a few other functions may be available to you depending upon your location. I imagine that US users get them all.
When you first load Poynt you are presented with a lovely landing screen. Here you are told the current weather conditions, and presented with four (or more) icons you can rotate to select. The categories available to me were Events, Businesses, Movies, and Restaurants, as you can see in the screenshot below.
An attractive welcome to Poynt!
Once you make a selection here and move away from the landing screen, the other selections are available to you as tabs at the top of the screen. You don’t have to navigate back up to the landing screen to move to another function, which I like.
This brings up a list of cinemas near to you, just in case you are in an unfamiliar area. Tapping on one gives you its address, phone number, and a Google Maps shortcut with directions. A list of the films showing on that day, with their screening times, is also included.
If you are with a few friends and considering the cinema, then the Top 10 feature in the Movies tab is a great way to help you decide what to see. A simple list of current films is displayed, along with two buttons: these buttons allow you to sort by box office rating or by Poynt/Rotten Tomatoes user ratings.
Tapping on a film’s title brings up a load of useful information. This information comprises of the Running Time, the Age Rating, the Films Genre, and Lead Roles. Below this is a “User Reviews” button which oddly doesn’t give User Reviews, instead it gives a Hollywood.com review and rating. Further down is a “Play Trailer” button, so you can stream the film’s trailer to see if it might be to your tastes. If you wanted to, you could also visit the film’s website, and share the film to Facebook, Twitter, or Email.
On the left is Top 10 film listings, on the right is Real Steel's showing times.
A film synopsis is located halfway down the page below all of the forementioned features. This is the cut down outline or ‘blurb’ of the film like you get on the back of DVDs. I would definitely recommend reading this instead of trawling through the Hollywood.com ‘User Review’. Should it interest you, a larger cast list, Director, Producer, and Writer information are below this.
At the very bottom of the page is a list of showtimes at Cinemas near you. So in the space of a minute, I can know that Real Steel is showing today at Cineworld four times.
If you prefer to you can search by genre. Perhaps you and your friends are in the mood for some comedy as opposed to an action film. This helps you to quickly isolate comedy films instead of making you trawl through other listings.
Having a list of restaurants in your pocket is definitely handy when you are out and about. The ability to search by cuisine is great, since certain food types suit situations better that others. At the end of the night, you want to quickly know where some fast food is, so you can eat it before you jump in a taxi to get home.
Note the ability to use Google's Directions, or add 'Curry Inn' as a contact.
The biggest let down to this feature of Poynt is that restaurant reviews are not included. They have managed to integrate a huge database of entertainment hotspots and restaurants, but no reviews. Integration with another service like Foodspotting would be great. It’s all well and good telling me where food joints are and what they serve, but if I don’t have other people’s opinions to gauge the restaurant, how do I decide in which direction to start walking?
The Events feature is unsatisfactory. The two search features for events and performers is useless unless you actually know what you want to see! If you did, it is likely you already have tickets and a good idea of where you are going. The ‘Events Nearby’ section is a bit better, but somehow I don’t really fancy “Rugby Business Network in Bury St Edmunds Cathedral”.
These events aren't very 'local'. Nor are they enthralling.
Frankly, all the nearby events were either boring or not nearby at all – one result was 6000km away, due to there being two towns called ‘Long Melford’; one near me, and another halfway around the world.
The fact that nothing interesting showed up could be because nothing interesting is happening – I do live in a sleepy area of the country – or perhaps because the Events database Poynt uses is not too extensive.
The “search by category” feature was a little better, I searched for Live Concerts and got some good results at a Pub I know in town. I also like the sound of ‘The Flaming Llamas’ at Castle Hedingham, so the Events feature does have a few good points.
This is quite a neat feature and a bit like having The Yellow Pages in your pocket. Enter a search query and you’ll receive a list of related businesses. Tapping on one gives you the address and phone number, and, like the Movies feature, there is Google Maps integration for location and directions.
A search of 'Computers' brings back PC World. Like the Restaurant feature, you can add the outlet as a contact.
Poynt is without a doubt useful, but it could use a tidy-up in places and get a few additions to its features. Some review integration in the Restaurants part of the application is definitely something I would like to see. From what I was able to use, I can say that the Movies lookup feature is by far the best aspect of Poynt.
For a rating, I think 8/10 is fair. The 8 marks are won for the application doing as advertised and making a very good job of it. One mark is lost for the restaurant review niggle, and another mark is lost for the not-so-great Events feature. Other than that though, this application is worth a download!