Dictionary.com for iPhone review

Dictionary.com’s new, free app for the iPhone and iPod touch offers a solid online dictionary. It boasts more than a quarter of a million word definitions, and 80,000 synonyms to boot. The biggest hurdle that Dictionary.com must overcome, though, is Mobile Safari. While the app does everything it should, it doesn’t necessarily outperform a simple Google search via the iPhone’s browser for the word definition you seek.

In Dictionary.com’s app it’s pretty easy to look up words. The app auto-suggests words as you type, instead of providing the iPhone’s standard typo correction. That mostly makes sense, but it gets a bit confusing if you don’t know how the heck to spell the word you’re looking up. If you start to type in “ascerb” (on your way to the misspelled “ascerbic”) you’ll get no suggestions as you type; only after you submit your search will a similarly spelled results screen appear (with “acerbic” top of the list).

Definitions for all the words in the database are stored on your iPhone, so unlike our proposed Google method, you can look up words even when you have no mobile service and no WiFi. Although you don’t get similarly spelled words if you’re not online. You also need a web connection for features like audio pronunciation and Word of the Day.

OUR VERDICT

The app is solid, and works as advertised. We did find that typing stalled a bit when the app had a lot of type-ahead suggestions, and it can sometimes take a while for definitions to appear. If you find yourself needing definitions frequently the Dictionary.com app performs capably. But if you only need definitions on rare occasions, Google is fine.

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