I feel like we're starting to see another boom in well-designed apps that do cool things easily. Next (US$1.99) is in that category, as the app's interface is clean, intuitive and responsive. That's good, because the app is designed to reduce the friction needed to log expenses -- something that can be a real pain when you're juggling a latte, briefcase and iPhone. But Next does it well, with a few caveats.
If you're a fan of stitched leather, the minimalist aesthetic Next uses may not appeal to you. I like how the grid of buttons is like your iOS home screen, how swiping to see different views is like Reminders. Next is clean and efficient.
Icons representing expenses are arranged in a grid, and as you enter expenses the icons get a darker shade of blue. I think the palette could use some expansion, however, as the icons are basically white, light blue or dark blue based on my range of $0-1,300 in expenses.
As you are entering data into a category the icon turns red and a numeric keypad with just the right buttons slides up. You can enter numbers, change the date of the expense and hit a nice big checkmark to enter that number. The numeric pad stays up, so you can click other expenses and rapidly sort and enter your data.
Swiping between the three screens reveals a week/month/year view (Statistics) of your spending and a day-by-day scrolling list (Expenses) of what you've spent. The typography is crisp, and the app is fast and responsive.
Obviously Next is designed for speed, and it doesn't disappoint when it comes to entering your data. You can press and hold to re-arrange your icons, but you can't really name or add more info to the icons. You just get icons.
The Statistics view shows a simple bar graph (most spent to least), but each item can be expanded with a tap to view a line graph of your spending over time. The Expenses view, on the other hand, is just a simple list by day with what you spent on what. A simple swipe to the left brings up a nice inline delete option on each item.
Next keeps things simple but that can be a problem if you want to integrate with other tools. There's no way to move this data anywhere else, and no way to import anything. So Next is great if you just need a singular app for logging expenses, but not great if you're looking for a comprehensive personal finance tracker.
Ultimately Next is probably great for anyone needing to gut check their expenses, or if it works into your process for keeping your finances up-to-date. In terms of data entry, it is excellent. I love the crisp look, and the speed at which tasks are completed. If you don't need it to connect to anything and if you are developing a habit of logging expenses on your iPhone, Next is a slick way to do it.