Many of you may know that we, Tom's Hardware, belong to a corporate entity called Purch, which also owns and runs publications like Tom's Guide, a site that is often confused with us but is aimed more at the general tech consumer. Purch also owns our long-time rival (now close, friendly family member), AnandTech. Outside of enthusiast and consumer technology, Purch owns sites including LiveScience, Space.com and BusinessNewsDaily. And the company runs a more commerce-driven, shopping comparison entity called TopTenReviews, where editors compare everything from curling irons to anti-virus software. (As an aside, Tom's IT Pro, also a member of the Purch family, is run by the same editorial team that creates Tom's Hardware.)
We each make our editorial decisions independently, but we share common services such as development, sales, infrastructure, IT, HR and finance.
I'm telling you this as a bit of background to let you know that Purch is also launching a mobile shopping comparison app called Purchx. For now, it runs on iOS, and later this year it will run on Android. It is an overhaul of the Consumr app, which Purch acquired this past March. It contains millions of peer-reviewed products in categories such as beauty and hair care, home and garden, appliances and — this is the part where it's somewhat relevant for you — electronics.
Now I say that, but I also want to be truthful and note that Purchx does not yet contain the sort of enthusiast-level products we cover here on Tom's Hardware, but there are plans to do so very soon (as in later this summer and into the fall, on an iterative basis). For now, there are ways to pull from various external databases of enthusiast products for comparison purposes. And that's why I'm telling you about this free app now.
More to the point, for those who want to download it and try it out (you can do so here), tell us what you think and how Purch might make it serve the needs of the enthusiast best. I have a few ideas of my own.
There are three ways to navigate the app. You can browse the existing taxonomy, which is limited to user-generated categories rather than system-generated ones, but you can also search. The database contains 156,000 products across 13 electronics categories so far, but it also includes the entire Best Buy catalog (the app, which goes beyond electronics, has 3 million products in its database).
The third way to use the app is by scanning an item's barcode in a store. I haven't had a chance to try this out yet, but I'm anxious to see what happens inside of Fry's, for example. Apparently, you can scan multiple products and compare them all side by side.
If a product isn't in the existing database, the app will pull from external sources, such as Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, eBay and Best Buy. User reviews are also pulled from those sources, in addition to the app database. The app pulls the best guess if it can't find the product.
Once you pull up a product, you can compare it side by side with competitive products. You can review a product by giving it a rating and providing your own personal experience, and you can earn points and even small rewards for doing so. If the product isn't in the database, you can review it and make it part of the app.
If you pull up products we've reviewed, or given an award, that will be noted, and the review will be accessible from within the app.
Here's a quick promotional video for the app.