Slice 5.0 is a must-have app for online shoppers

This free app puts all your receipts in one place and notifies you of price drops, package delivery, and more.

Slice for iOS can list your purchases in a collapsed or expanded view. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I'm a sucker for a good aggregator, anything that gathers information into one spot for easy access and review. TripIt, for example, stores all your travel plans under a single app roof, while Key Ring houses your various retail-store loyalty cards.

Slice takes that same approach to online shopping. It automatically scours your email account(s) for receipts, then aggregates them into a single, searchable list. But that's not all.

The app also looks up shipping information so you can see at-a-glance when a recent order will arrive. If you've preordered something or it hasn't shipped yet, you can "pin" that order to the top of your list to keep closer tabs on it.

Also, if there's a price drop on something you've ordered, Slice will notify you so you can contact the vendor for an adjustment. It even checks purchases against product-recall databases and lets you know of any matches.

With the release of Slice 5.0 (currently for iOS, but coming soon to Android), a new featured called Slice & Dice gives you an overview of what you're buying and from where. Using colored bubbles of varying sizes (to reflect the amount you've spent), you can drag any category or merchant to either of two tools -- Purchases and Spending -- for a more detailed look.

That's useful information to have, certainly, but the implementation is a little silly -- and not very intuitive.

However, the only real downside I can see is that Slice works only with big-name companies: Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, StubHub, and so on. The merchant list currently numbers over a thousand, but I don't get why it won't dig up receipts from smaller outfits. At least you can enter a purchase (or shipment) manually.

Another quirk: I linked two Gmail accounts (the service works with most kinds of Webmail, including AOL, Outlook, and Yahoo), but it retrieved receipts only as far back as March of this year. At press time, I hadn't received a reply from tech support explaining why.

Even so, I can tell this app is a keeper. Slice takes the hassle out of online receipt management and provides some useful follow-up tools for the avid shopper.

Featured Video

Behmor's app controlled coffee maker links to the Web for better brewing

The $329 Behmor Connected Coffee Brewer boasts the guts of an SCAA-approved drip coffee maker melded with a Wi-Fi radio, plus Internet links and mobile app control all in the interest of creating better pots of java.

by Brian Bennett