Yelp has become a go-to site to get ratings and reviews on local restaurants, shops, hair salons, and the list goes on. The local search company's app for Windows Phone brings the same simple search and browse features from its Web site to mobile, making it easy to find and vet businesses wherever you are.
The Yelp for Windows Phone app experience is familiar if you used the Yelp desktop site before. You can browse businesses by category and location, or search by keyword or business name to get ratings and reviews.
The main screen of the app has a search bar at the top, where you can search for businesses close to your phone (determined by GPS signal), or by city, neighborhood, or ZIP code. You can search by keyword (muffins) or business name (Macy's).
Below the search bar there are Windows Phone-esque tiles of quick menu options, including Yelp deals, your friends list, bookmarks, an activity feed of recent reviews, nearby Yelp listings, and recently viewed businesses.
You'll need to create or sign into a Yelp account to access bookmarks and the friends list, but you can still browse and search without an account.
Swipe left from the main screen to find a list of "hot+new" nearby businesses, essentially popular places close to you. Each listing has a brief description with the average star rating, address, and distance from your phone's GPS-determined location.
From the main screen, swipe right to view your Yelp profile if you have one and logged into it on the app. There you'll find your bookmarked Yelp listings, and get access to your friends list, plus the reviews, tips, and photos you've added to Yelp.
When you run a search, you'll get a list of the most relevant hits based on business category, keywords in reviews, and distance from your location. You can filter results by price, location, business hours, and whether or not the business is offering a Yelp deal.
Alternatively, you can view all the search results on a map by tapping the map icon at the bottom of the app. You can tap each red triangle to view the business's name.
My biggest disappointment with the Yelp for Windows Phone app is that you can't move the map and search for results in the new map area, a feature that's available on yelp.com and the iOS and Android apps. For me, this is an exceedingly helpful option that is sorely missed in the Windows Phone Yelp app.