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Review: Captain's Log - Beam Me Up, Scotty

Review: Captain's Log - Beam Me Up, Scotty

August 18, 2010


captains log greenCaptain’s Log from Paramount Digital Entertainment is more than another Star Trek Communicator app. This app doubles as a replica Communicator, as well as an exploration tool. You can use Captain’s Log for your day to day adventures in shopping, traveling, or exploring places where no man has gone before! I’ll be honest; I’ve never really been a big Star Trek fan. Sure I’ve caught a few episodes here and there, but in no way does that make me a “Trekkie”. That’s not to say you need to be one to utilize this app.


The app looks and functions just like the Communicator from the latest Start Trek movie. You have the choice of skins based off the following ranks:
  • Captain (yellow)
  • Engineering (red)
  • Science/Medical (blue)
  • Enterprise (silver)
  • Romulan (green)
  • Klingon (orange)
Aside from a sci-fi experience, this app provides some pretty neat functionality. It allows logging of Text, Audio and Image notes. Not captains log notesonly are these notes location-aware, but you are also able to post them publicly so that other users of the app can see your logs on their map as well. This is great for group exploring, but if privacy is your thing then you’ll be glad to know that there is a “Private” logging mode as well for personal use.


The Good: I was very impressed with the design and animation of this app. I loved way the communicator slides open with just a swipe of a finger, accompanied by real sound effects from the movie. You can also flick you wrist to open it, which is pretty slick. captains log image noteWhile the design is nice, the functionality is what will keep you using it. It uses a very straight forward system for saving a log. Just slide open the Communicator, and tap on the speaker to select an option:
  • Record Audio: This allows you to log a voice note or a Star Trek sound effect based on the rank you have selected.
  • Record Image: This allows you to take a photo with your camera, choose existing photo, or select a Star Trek image from the new movie.
  • Record Text: This allows you to log a text note
Once you’ve recorded a log, you have the option to publish it, or share it with your social networking buddies. In the case you need to delete a public note, it will delete it off the public map as well; that way you don’t have to worry about it getting stuck on the map for other users to see. The iPhone 4 version of the app offers some gyroscope goodness. Just tap on the ‘dome’ on the Communicator and you’ll get a 3D view of the USS Enterprise, which should give Trek fans quite a kick. By moving your phone in different directions, you’re able to see all the angles on the ship. The Bad: captains log social I did have issues making sense of some of the things included in this app. Like I mentioned, audio and image notes give you the option to add images and sounds from the movie. I can’t think of a single use for this. I actually found this kind of odd and an attempt at promoting the film (on a paid app!). Another gripe I had with Captain’s Log is the mandatory sign up process when launching it for the first time. This Online ID is necessary to tap into the public log database on the map. However, if you don't agree with the EULA, you just wasted your money on an app you can't use. There should be an option to skip registering, or a link to the EULA in the app description for review before purchasing.

The Verdict:

If you’re serious about travel logging, there are countless other options in the App Store for you. Captains Log, while gets the job done, was never intended to replace these apps. This is an entertainment app to satisfy Star Trek fans and sci-fi enthusiasts alike. It feels more like a novelty item rather than a tool. But if you’re looking for an entertaining app that is both fun to tinker with and at the same time a decent note logging tool, then Captain’s Log is definitely worth considering.

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