If you’ve ever gone to Google to search for places in Colombo, such as, say a restaurant? Chances are you’ve come across Yamu.lk, the site which acts as the tour guide of Colombo (and some bits outside of it) separating the good places from the bad.
Recently Yamu launched their own app. So we decided to check it out to see whether the app is as helpful as its website counterpart. Currently at the time of writing the app is only available on Android, however according to Yamu the iOS and Windows phone versions should be out soon. For this review we used an Xperia X10i for testing.
Right after firing up the app you’ll be asked to login using Facebook or Google account in order to use it. After logging in you’ll be greeted to a screen which lists the latest reviews on the site and on the top of it there’s a menu bar which lists all the various options to navigate around the app. The big Yamu logo icon on the left brings you to the main screen.
The Options icon, the 1st icon from the right on the menu tab lists the various sections as well as allows you to ask/answer questions and logout from your Facebook account.
Reviews have 4 tabs dividing the info for easy access. The Info tab shows the basic info, the Review tab shows Yamu’s own detailed review of the place as well as comments by other users. The Images tab shows pictures of the place and the Map tab marks the location of the place on a map. Just below the menu bar you’ll see the name and address of the place as well as a telephone icon conveniently allowing you to call the place.
The Search icon allows you to search for locations around Colombo. There are 2 ways in which you can search for places: by either typing the name of the place itself, just like using the search bar on Yamu’s website, or going through the advanced search and selecting your filters if you’re exploring for some new places.
The advanced search could be considered to be a crown jewel of this app since it allows you to search for locations based on price, type of place, time they are open, WiFi availability, takeout facility and of course most importantly: Dress code.
For our tests, first we gave advanced search a shot. Here we tried a bunch of combo’s with the options. Then we tried the simple searching for places with their names. Both methods successfully gave us results quickly – if Yamu had a review on a place fitting the criteria entered that was.
The Star icon next to the Search icon lists all the places which Yamu recommends you should give a try next time you’re hanging out in town with friends or family or co-workers for a good time out.
Finally, the Location icon allows you to search for places near a specific location. To set a location you’ll have to move a pin that appears on the map to the location you want. Once you’ve set the location all you have to do is simply tap on the big red button that reads “Find Places Near Here” (No not the one that says self-destruct). For testing purposes, we placed the pin at Nugegoda junction and at Viharamahadevi Park, both returned all the places Yamu had reviewed for the surrounding areas.
The Yamu app is definitely useful if you’re looking for places around Colombo since Yamu does clear and comprehensive reviews for a lot of locations around Colombo and the advanced search really helps in finding these places out with a clean interface delivering all the info you need on them.
Couple of issue we had with the app was transitioning from one section to another, which was, well.. slightly annoying, since the screen would go blank for a second or two before the next section loaded. And the fact that, it doesn’t provide directions to any of the locations listed despite showing them on a map. We are guessing it’s by tapping the icon marking the location on the map, however each time we tried to test it out, the app sadly crashed.
Bottom line: Despite its minor flaws, if you’re looking for places around Colombo, then chances are the Yamu app is definitely a friend in need of yours. You can download it from the Play store here. Once again sorry iOS users, but you’ll have to wait.
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