Consume: Monitor All Your Usage Information in One Place

We’re all trying to manage various pieces of information on a daily basis. How much do I have on my travel card? Am I nearing my data usage limit on my phone? Has that package I sent yesterday been delivered? To answer these questions we’d normally have to log in to each site and find the information we need.

Trouble is, this can get quite tedious if you’re wanting to quickly a number of different sources. Bjango’s Consume attempts to provide a single, unified place to view all these small bits of usage information and keep them just a tap away.

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Bite Sized Information

Consume works by monitoring your usage information quickly and easily. The app, simply put, provides a rather beautiful appearance to otherwise dull numbers and percentages.

Consume displays various usage information for a wide range of service providers, from AT&T to Virgin Atlantic

The app is compatible with a huge list of providers (250 and growing) that Bjango keep updated on a regular basis, all of which provide specific usage infomation. These range from online storage services such as Dropbox and Evernote, broadband and mobile phone companies such as AT&T and package delivery tracking such as UPS and FedEx.

Usage Concierge

Consume cleverly provides you with usage information by actually logging in to the same website you would normally log in to. When you add a service (such as Dropbox), you provide Consume with your username and password and the app transparently logs in, scanning for the usage information it needs and providing it back to you in a much easier to read format. Think of it as a personal concierge service — the app deals with the sites on your behalf and provides the information in an easier to view way.

In addition to entering details such as username and password, you can also track any service that uses tracking numbers (such as postal services and courier companies)

This proves to be a bit of a double-edged sword, though. Whilst it doesn’t rely upon any APIs or websites providing official support (meaning you’ll often find many providers that are listed that don’t otherwise have iOS apps), you’ll need to wait for Bjango to add support for a provider that isn’t listed, something that can take some time as the developer needs to be able to access the provider as a customer. In the rare instances that this occurs, Consume includes a problem reporter so you can let the developer know what the problem is.

Small Portions

The app itself is gorgeous (as you’d expect from the guys who brought us iStat Menus) and is a refreshing change from the more traditional iOS interface. Large buttons for each provider that you’ve created are displayed along the bottom of the screen which display a thumbnail of the last known usage data. Adding a provider is very easy and you can either search by the provider’s name or narrow down your choice based upon region.

Viewing courier tracking information has never been so good-looking!

A small gripe with viewing Consume in portrait is that the provider’s name in the thumbnail is a little harder to read when on an iPad mini and there’s no way to rearrange them. Additionally, reorganising and removing providers has to be done in landscape mode which, whilst not the most inconvenient task imaginable, is a little awkward if you prefer to use your iPad in portrait.

When using Consume in portrait orientation, you cannot re-arrange or delete providers. Additionally, the thumbnail text heading for each provider gets harder to read on an iPad mini

Each provider is given a separate panel where the relevant information is displayed. In the example above, you can see that Consume has provided me with my Dropbox usage information along with a useful meter to show me how much free space I have remaining. For metered usage, such as data caps and minutes allowances, you can specify a rollover day and Consume will calculate what you should be averaging per day. If you exceed that then your excessive usage is highlighted in red. This can be the difference between keeping your data usage in check and an excessive bill at the end of the month.

You can customise each panel with a display name if you tend to have multiple accounts with the same provider, making it easy to distinguish between then, useful if you’d like to keep track of iPhone and iPad 3G data plans, for example. A note can also be added which will be displayed in the main area of each provider, too.

Thanks to iCloud integration, which be toggled on or off, Consume will sync your provider list so that you can view the same information on any other iOS device you use.

Wrapping Up

Consume is a versatile app that has only one real function, one it does this exceptionally well. Its huge list of supported providers means that almost everyone will find some use for it. If you often find yourself logging in to check on your travel card or mobile data usage, Consume is a great alternative that provides at-a-glance usage information in a beautifully designed app.


Summary

Consume is a usage monitor that cab keep track of various usage information from a large number of different providers. Whilst certain features aren't available in portrait and some text can be a little harder to read on an iPad mini, Consume is the perfect companion for anyone needing to keep an eye on things like data usage of different services without having to access different websites.

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