Review: 4th and Mayor
Since the official client for Foursquare updated itself for Mango, many people, myself included, have been waiting for an update to the third party Foursquare client '4th and Mayor'. Now that Jeff Wilcox has updated the client, which is going to be my chosen check-in companion?
Version Reviewed: 188.8.131.52
Let's start by addressing that big question. Would I choose 4th and Mayor over the official Foursquare client? With this updated version, yes I would. And that's saying something, given that I think the official app from Denis Crowley's location-based start-up is an almost textbook demonstration on using the Metro UI, and one that I still enjoy using.
The biggest reason for switching to Wilcox's client is speed. I've not taken a stopwatch out to measure it, but 4th and Mayor feels a shade faster than the official client. Part of this might be down to the 'Check-in Now' live tile which drops you straight to the list of nearby venues - the few moments saved there by opening up a subset of the application. Part of it might just be in smart coding and caching, as I guess both apps are using the same API calls to the Foursquare database. Nevertheless, my brain says 4th and Mayor is the one that allows me to check-in faster and with fewer issues, and that's enough for me.
4th and Mayor also has a comprehensive set of live tiles. The main app tile has three different views that can be selected, from the classic signpost of the early version of 4th and Mayor to the Metro inspired icon (which can have a notification counter on it or not). I went for the second level option, mentioned above, of the "Check-in Now" tile.
You can also pin any place in the Foursquare database, or any of your Foursquare friends, as a live tile, again to speed up access and make the experience as personal and as tailored as you want it to be.
Foursquare is more than just check-ins; you have badges to earn for exploring the world, special offers to find, and that all important league table of your score where you get ranked against your friends. I'm glad to say that all these are here.
Specials are highlighted when you search for a place, be it by the phone taking its current location and searching for any nearby venue, or by using a specific search term to narrow down your options. Tap through to the venue and then you can follow up and look for the special offer. Two extra taps to find out what a special is feels a bit too many, but that says more about wanting everything within really easy reach!
The Foursquare badge system is here, and that includes the new system where you can earn multiple copies of the same badge (so if you're really 'with it' you can land two of the "Mile High Club" and get the metaphorical bar to the badge).
And then there's the leaderboard. On first glance, 4th and Mayor seems to be missing this feature, but in actual fact it's tucked into lower reaches of the menu system. It is there, but you have to really look for it.
I'll be honest though - the official application's live tile, which shows where I am in the leaderboard and those just ahead and behind me, is one of the most watched live tiles on my Windows Phone. 4th and Mayor has nothing similar, and it's the one reason the official app will stay pinned. There's nothing wrong in installing both applications, but it does seem a bit wasteful that one app is there just for its live tile while the other application does all the heavy work.
4th and Mayor can do all the work of checking in and managing a Foursquare account, it does it with style, and it feels less of a chore than any other way of checking in. Now that the two major clients have released their updates for Mango, 4th and Mayor is going to be my preferred client. If it added a leaderboard live tile it might sneak ahead of the official client, but for the moment, they both end up with a super 89%.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at