Factor reviews: Microsoft’s mobile apps for grads

With 2014 university graduates now released into the professional world, Microsoft has developed a line of apps to help ease their transition. We reviewed them on the Nokia Lumia 925, a sleek smartphone that operates on Windows.

JobLens

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This app helps grads on their job hunt by connecting to contacts through LinkedIn and Facebook.

The highlight of the app is an augmented reality feature that allows you to see available jobs around you using your phone’s camera. Move your phone screen around and you can see the general direction of the companies that are hiring, listed with their distance from your location and the position they are looking to fill.

I found the augmented reality feature rather unnecessary and difficult to navigate, preferring the display that showed available jobs on a map, so I could get a better idea of a company’s exact location and nearby landmarks.

The app also allows you to create a resume, though it seems impractical to type out your entire resume on your phone rather than a full keyboard.

Looking for jobs through an app is certainly useful, but augmented reality just seems to be a distraction to the job search, especially for grads that have no time to waste as they start to pay off student loans.

CityLens

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CityLens gives you a comprehensive look at everything there is to do in your city of choice. From reviews and locations of restaurants to event and venue listings for daytime and nightlife activities, CityLens is extremely useful for grads who want to stay busy as they transition into working life.

In fact, this app would be useful to just about anyone who travels. It provides transportation information to make sure users always know how to find venues, as well as accommodation listings with reviews from TripAdvisor for people trying to find a place to stay.

The augmented reality feature is better served on CityLens than its job search counterpart, since people are more likely to look for nearby restaurants than careers in the spur of the moment.

This is a quality app for anyone who lives in a city or is looking to visit one, and it would definitely help grads find something fun to do on a night out.

Waze

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Traffic can be a pain, especially if you are heading to your first day at a new job. Waze is a handy app that gives full traffic reports, complete with the direction of the traffic, the cause and the average speed.

It gives moods and locations of other Waze users and allows you to report the traffic around you both actively and passively through your phone’s location services.

The app also contains a navigation system so you can figure out the best route to avoid heavy traffic.

Generally, it seems quite helpful, but it appeared that very few users were reporting information around me.

Waze would be more effective if more people used it, so I recommend downloading it and taking advantage of its features.

Overall

Other apps in the grad collection include Travel, Real Estate Search, LinkedIn, and the particularly fun-to-use notepad OneNote.

I found the apps for grads mostly user-friendy, but to be honest, there are some things you just shouldn’t do on a phone. It’s much easier to plan a vacation, look for a house or a job on a laptop than a tiny phone screen.

So if you want to browse these apps to find your perfect career, you should probably expect a little augmented reality-induced frustration.

Factor’s verdict:

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3/5: USEFUL BUT NOT ESSENTIAL


Featured image courtesy of 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com


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