Nelisquare Review: A great Foursquare app for MeeGo Harmattan
I’ve been using Foursquare for some time now after being on and off the service a bunch of times, and while there are still some who question the real-world utility of the location-based social network, I like being able to keep track of where I’ve been, earn badges and read about what others think of places I’m planning to visit. Nelisquare is a free Foursquare client available on the Nokia Store that sports an attractive user interface and integration with the events homescreen in MeeGo Harmattan, and I decided to have a look at it after its developer, Basil Semuonov, posted a comment on my writeup detailing the apps I’ve installed on my Nokia N9.
I’ve been running the latest beta version of Nelisquare, which is different from what you get via a Nokia Store download, but it’s easy enough to switch to the beta channel in the app’s settings after which a .deb file will be downloaded to your device. Keep in mind that you will have to uninstall the Nokia Store version before installing the beta version, or the installation cannot proceed.
Upon opening Nelisquare, you’re greeted by a very familiar layout as far as Foursquare clients go. There’s a button for your notifications up top, just like in Foursquare’s official iOS app; the toolbar at the bottom of the screen holds buttons that allow you to refresh your feed, initiate a check in and view your profile. Curiously, the button in between the check in and profile buttoms (second from right) doesn’t seem to do anything. Most of the screen is occupied by a timeline of your contact’s check-ins, sorted by recency or by proximity; images are displayed in-line. I’d love to see the profile pictures in the timeline displayed as squircles instead of squares with grey borders; that would add an even greater does of user interface consistency to this app.
The check-in process is as you would expect; tapping the check-in button brings up a list of places around your approximate location, but you can search for and add new venues as well. Tapping on a venue then takes you to another screen, where you can add a tip or a photo or view the place on a map; if you hit the Check-in Here button you can then attach a message to the check in, choose who you want to share the check-in with and then you’re good to go. All this is very similar to the sort of experience you get with official Foursquare apps on other platforms, and I’d say that’s a good thing.
Your profile screen is laid out in a very similar fashion to Foursquare’s official iOS app, along with your score display and leaderboard. I never cared much for the points system in Foursquare because I could never earn enough of them and those who tried to earn more points than everybody else on their leaderboard tended to spam (rather useless) check-ins at every single mundane location they visited in a day (think bus stops, train stations, buses and places you wouldn’t ever care about). From this screen, you can view all the information associated with your profile – your badges, check-ins, mayorships and so on.
Like every decent app on MeeGo Harmattan, Nelisquare has both light and dark themes; I also like that it supports notifications and the Events homescreen, and can also automatically update its timeline in the background. The app is also being actively developed, with push notifications to come in the future.
Overall, I think Nelisquare is a very competent Foursquare app for MeeGo Harmattan, but I wish there was more of a focus on Foursquare’s “Explore” functionality because that is rather important to me, perhaps even more so than where my contacts on Foursquare have been.