Review: XE Currency
It's one of those URL's that's burned into my brain. XE.com, the place I go to find out how much my money is going to be worth when I travel to another country and do the currency exchange. Will its Windows Phone app replace me punching up the site in Internet Explorer? Probably not, but there are some advantages to tucking this away on your smartphone.
Version Reviewed: 126.96.36.199
The first one is that, like any connected application, you're going to get live exchange rates right at your fingertips. Unlike the list outside your bank, every currency under the sun can be found here. You also have the option to have the exchange rates update automatically, or when you shake the phone (no, really) as the app is running. Tap on a currency in this list and you'll be taken to a chart tracing the currency exchange rate over a year, and over the last month. Great if you're a trader, but when you have to go on holiday, you can't choose the best time to buy.
The second is that you can trust the maths implicitly. Punch the numbers into the currency calculator (just a button press away on the menu/icon bar) and you set the amount of primary currency, and see the value in all your listed currencies just moments later.
It's also a nice touch that the application is listed as "Currency" on the application list, keeping it as a functional name, rather than the more expected "XE Currency". Someone decided to keep this simple, and the icon branding would be enough for XE. I think that was the right call.
The thing that always gets me about these currency apps is they are very unrealistic. It's nice to know what the market rate is for Pounds to the New Manat (that would be Azerbaijan), but you're never going to get that with your travellers cheques or in a Post Office Bureaux de Change. You already have to do some mental gymnastics to get the high street price. For me, it's a simple mental jump to know that it's around 80p to 1MaH when I'm out shopping in Baku.
When, exactly, would I use an app like this? Exactly. So while the functionality is good, the live updating works, and the ability to list a number of currencies for instant comparison is smooth and clear... I can't see XE's Currency application working for me in the real world.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at