Explore Egyptian Tombs with Pyramids 3D

Total Score: 29.5

Egyptian pyramids have fascinated us since Howard Carter discovered the treasurers of King Tut’s tomb in 1922.  We have enjoyed movies about them, TV shows and an amazing number of books.  Now, Touch Press brings us an app that allows us to walk through the Pyramids, not only as if we were there, but better than that!   Some of the views you have in this app are in protected areas and even if you were there, you couldn’t see them.   Not only that, Dr. Zahi Hawass adds his extensive knowledge of the area to the project.  Pyramids 3D is a treasure. 

  Price Rating = 5     $13.99.    A school of thought says that developers should try to recoup their costs through the cost of an app.   Judging from the quality of this app, this would still be a steal.  The photography is incredible, the experience unforgettable.

Ease of Use Rating = 5     The navigational commands are easy to understand and the experience immersive.

 Readability Rating = 5     The font size is reasonable and as far as I can tell, not adjustable.

Will You Use It Rating = 5     I can speak for myself here, not only have I been pouring over the content of this app, I can imagine opening it up again and again as I watch shows on the Discovery, History and PBS channels.   Maybe even for the beginning of Despicable Me or even for old episodes of Stargate SG1.

  Downsides Rating = 0     It is a large app and you need to make sure you have space. It also takes a bit of time to download.  That is not a downside, just something to consider.

  Consumer Review Rating = 4.5     This app was just released recently and all of the comments were positive.  A few reviewers took away stars because they wanted even more information.

Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5     Learning is a life-long road and this app gives you access into a world that few of us will ever see.  The Pyramids are a central part of our history and simply fun to explore.

How does it work?

  1. The home screen is a 3D image of the Giza Plateau.   If you do nothing it moves slowly to give you a feeling for the scope of the area.  There are sounds of birds, flies, ropes and the wind.  Touching the screen stops the movement and brings up the names of the tombs.
  2. If you tap on a name of a tomb, the app zooms in on that tomb.  You can either enter the tomb by tapping on the “Enter the Tomb” icon at the bottom of the screen or tap the Giza Plateau to choose another tomb.
  3. Before you enter, you can tap on the small “I” next to the name of the tomb or Sphinx and see a brief history of it.
  4. If you enter the tomb, you can choose to use the expert intro, which walks you through the tomb and narrates the trip.  There is also a small icon to show you the footprint of the tomb and your viewpoint.  By touching the iPad, you can move around the room and see any view.   If you touch the floor of a room, it will move you into that room.   You can pinch and zoom to see detail or scope of any room.  Something to note, there isn’t expert into for every room.
  5. You can also choose to explore on your own.   Tapping on walls allow you to move closer.  Tapping on glowing areas allow you to learn more about a specific place.  You will see a small heading and if you tap on it, a pop-up box opens. On some images you will see a small plus sign, tapping on that will provide you more information about that particular spot.  Tapping the X at the top will close that window.
  6. You can swipe right and left to look around the rooms.   If you would like to hide the controls, you can click on the eye at the bottom of the iPad.
  7. I like to view apps in portrait mode, but it does work equally well in landscape.

Now, if that were all this app did it would be impressive.  However, that is not the full picture.

  1. At the bottom left of the iPad screen are three symbols.  The Pyramid symbol, reasonably, takes you to the Giza Plateau.  The clay pot takes you to a screen with objects found at Giza.  If you tap one of them, you can read about them and explore them from every angle by rotating them with your finger.   The colors of the items are brilliant and by pinching and zooming you can see fine detail.
  2. Last, but not least, is written content about the pyramids.  It is extensive without being overwritten.  Once you complete this section, you will have a good understanding of the history.

When you put this all together you have stunning photography, impressive narration and content that helps you understand this part of the world’s history.  As a person who finds archeology fascinating, this app is a must have.

Devices:  Designed by Touch Press, LLP, this app is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 5.1 or later.   The demo on the site gives you a good view of how the app works.

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