iPad App Review: The Elements In Action for iOS (Universal) Review
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Elements In Action is a companion app for possibly the best eBook on the App Store: The Elements. It works in tandem with this app by providing short videos of some of the more spectacularly reactive and/or most fascinating elements in the periodic table.
Presentation and Interface
Like the main app The Elements, the interface takes the form of the periodic table; and also like the original, the element boxes are animated to give you some idea of what you will see if you tap on them. And tap on them you will because they are fascinating explorations of science experiments you would love to do yourself but shouldn’t. In fact, that happens to be pretty close to the title of one of his physical books (Mad Science: Science Experiments You Can Do At Home But Probably Shouldn’t), and for good reason. In these short videos, you will see Mr. Gray floating cannonballs in mercury, causing sodium to explode by dropping it in water, creating photographs with radium, and many, many others. Of course, not every element is filmable or even interesting so some boxes on the table are greyed-out. There is plenty here, however, to easily justify the purchase price, especially when it is installed along with The Elements as the two apps are aware of each other, and can be accessed almost seamlessly by clicking on the large, friendly logos in the lower right corner of each. As smooth as this is (especially when the two apps are loaded into memory), I would have much preferred that this content be available via IAP as part of The Elements. It’s easy to see why they didn’t go this route, however, as that would have required a significant re-working of both its interface and back-end.
As previously noted, The Elements In Action utilizes the same interface as the main app, which is clean, high-resolution, and beautiful, as are the videos.
The app itself is soundless, as are most eBooks, however the videos themselves are all audio-enabled.
If you are a fan of The Elements, then buying this should be a no-brainer as this really brings the original app to life in a way that will appeal to science-minded people of all ages. Additionally, all of the videos are free of violence and adult language so hand this app to your young Einstein and watch him/her be fascinated.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful interface, high-quality videos. Sound: - 2 - Mostly nonexistent, but also mostly unnecessary. Controls: - 5 - A chimp could navigate his/her way around this app; its dead simple. Content: - 5 - Theodore Gray at his finest. The only reason he has any fingers left is because he has a deep understanding of these elements, and is always careful with and respectful of the forces of nature.