WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus Review for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
Everyone needs a good dictionary some time or another. There are offline dictionaries that cost as much as $30, as well as cheap or free dictionaries that depend on an internet connection. WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus by TranCreative Software combines the best of both worlds for a low price.
WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and WordBook XL – English Dictionary & Thesaurus for iPad offer you an offline reference of 150,000 word entries, plus the ability to extend your search to a maximum of five online sources. What the latter means is you can delete some or all of the dictionaries that require an internet connection, especially those free, ad-based ones.
I keep more than one dictionary app on both my iPhone and iPad, because I tend to find it difficult to pick a definite best. One dictionary may be strong in one aspect, but lacking in another. As a writer, having a comprehensive dictionary and thesuarus is important to me. In general, the more words the better. Another thing I look for is etymology. Depending on what you are writing, some words may be more suitable for your purpose than others, due to their origin. While I can’t say WordBook is the best dictionary and thesaurus for the iOS, overall, it certainly is an excellent well-rounded English reference. After installing this, I deleted three other dictionary apps from my iPad.
WordBook does not provide the most offline word entries in a dictionary, but it should suffice for most purposes and I was especially pleased with the thesaurus, which appears to contain more synonyms than some traditional paper thesauruses. In WordBook, you can find synonyms in the thesaurus section, and sometimes also in another “Links” section. Detailed word origins are also shown for each dictionary entry. Should WordBook’s offerings be insufficient, you can search up to five online sources of your choice. Other features WordBook provides include audio pronunciation (internet-based or synthesized), “words of the day” that you can refresh at any time, a choice of the phonetics notation system (IPA, AHD, or M-W), a crossword and anagram solver, and the ability to bookmark words. Additionally, you can customize the dictionary’s font and text size.
As I mentioned earlier, WordBook is a great English dictionary and thesaurus. However, on my iPad 2, I discovered WordBook XL isn’t perfect. The app’s one weakness lies in its web browser. Although you can set it to search up to five online sources, such as Wikipedia, Google, or Answers.com, some websites load more efficiently than others. Mobile sites (for the iPhone) and those with limited images load pretty fast, however, other regular sites with heavier image content can take close to forever to load. On the iPhone, it’s fine because the mobile versions are loaded by default, but it can be terrible on the iPad.
For example, m.dictionary.com works fine, whereas dictionary.reference.com is so slow to load on the iPad that it feels as if the app has hung. (Note: To search a site, you’ll have to enter the URL in the appropriate format, and with “@” as a placeholder for your search term.) The other very minor weakness is that we are limited to setting only five sites.
WordBook is not the only offline dictionary app that allows you to also search online sources. While it does this poorer than at least one other app, WordBook more than makes up for this in other areas. I believe TranCreative Software should be able to improve WordBook’s browser in future updates. Slow loading of some websites on the iPad should not be a reason to avoid WordBook, because there are many sites that will load at an adequate speed, and WordBook’s own offline dictionary and thesaurus should suffice in most cases.
WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and WordBook XL – English Dictionary & Thesaurus for iPad are currently available in the App Store for $1.99 and $2.99 respectively. It is highly recommended to those looking for a good and affordable dictionary and/or thesaurus, as it is one of the best apps in its category overall. So far, I have yet to find the perfect dictionary app, but WordBook comes very close.
Note: A promotional code was provided by the creator for use in this article.
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