Grocery Gadget

Grocery Gadget is yet another grocery list maker to hit the App Store. Like other apps of its kind, it lets you create shopping lists and then check off the items as you place them in your cart. Unlike other apps of its kind, it also allows you to take a picture of the item you want. This comes in really handy if you’re sending someone else to the store and want to make sure they get the right scent of fabric softener. Another unique feature is that you can import lists from Grocery IQ (another popular grocery app)!

When you first open up the app, it gives you option to watch some YouTube videos on how to use it. Frankly, I watched about a minute of the first one and just couldn’t handle anymore. I won’t get into why, since that really has no bearing on the actual app, but let’s just say that they’re pretty dang awful. Thankfully you can set an option so the video link doesn’t automatically pop up. Later, if you decide you want to watch the videos after all, you can just go to the “info” section of the app.

Despite the videos, Grocery Gadget is extremely useful. There is no limit to how many lists you can have. To create a list, tap the plus sign and give your list a name. I usually label it by the type of list it is as well as the date (ie. 6-28-09 Grocery). Once you’ve done that, you’re free to add your items. One little detail I really like about this app is that once you find your item (via search bar or simple browsing) you can tap it to select. Then, instead of the app adding it right at that moment, you can finish finding all your items before adding to your cart. It sure beats going back and forth all the time!

The database for the items isn’t very vast, nor is it detailed. As you start typing in the search bar, Grocery Gadget will start pulling things up that it thinks you’re trying to find. There are very few brand name items. For example, if you’re looking for Arizona brand sweet tea, you’re out of luck. For specific items like that, you can create a custom entry by tapping the “add new” button in the top right corner. Each time you add something manually like that, it will show up in the master list from then on.

Once you’re done adding your items, go to the “shop” screen to see your newly created list. You can choose to view the list in a few different ways. The “check” tab will sort the items by marked/unmarked items, the “ABC” tab sorts alphabetically, the “CAT” sorts by category, and the button with triple lines will sort by the order that you entered the items. As you start to place things into your cart, touch the empty squares next to each item. A check will pop up, letting you know that you’ve already picked up that item. If you have enough time, you can even edit each individual item by adding a photo, price tag, quantity, etcetera. If you choose to type in the price, you’ll start to notice numbers at the bottom of the screen. That’s the app calculating the total costs of your items. You can even set an option that will include tax into the figure!

Now for the feature that really makes this app shine out. If you go to the shopping list screen, you’ll see a button that is labeled “groups”. By tapping it and creating an account, you will be allowing yourself access to grocerygadgets.com. Go to the site and log in and you can then use the big version of grocery gadget! The app is wonderful and portable, but for hardcore shopping, the website is where you want to be. The larger screen makes all the difference when trying to add items from half a dozen different recipes.

We already covered how handy the app is for when you need to send someone else to the store, but this function makes it possible for them to not even need your iPhone. If your spouse is at work and you need him or her to pick something up on their way home, just direct them to the site and have them login! Yet another thing I love about the online list is that if I send someone to the store and I remember an item I need after they’ve already left, all I have to do is update the online list. It will appear on the iPhone’s list in a matter of seconds! Fantastic concept!

I had my doubts at first, but Grocery Gadget has totally made up for the lame video tutorials. The app is well rounded and unique, and yet still maintains the generic list app feel so anyone who has owned one before will be able to catch on right away. It’s not the prettiest grocery app out there, but it’s definitely one of the most useful! I think it would be awesome to see some graphics incorporated eventually. Like maybe a corkboard background or little sound effects added to checking an item off. Just a few little details would make this app perfect! Totally worth the $2.99!

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