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Captain's Log: I just wasted 99 cents on a lame 'Star Trek' app

Though not bad at sharing geotagged voice, photo, and text notes, this uninspired Trek app has all the appeal of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."

Except for that tiny image of the Enterprise, would you even recognize this as a "Star Trek" app?
Except for that tiny image of the Enterprise, would you even recognize this as a "Star Trek" app?
Paramount Pictures

Let me preface this review by saying I'm a lifelong Trekkie. While I've stopped short of attending conventions, I have purchased posters, novels, and even the CD soundtracks from several of the movies. Sometimes I'll listen to James Horner's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" score just driving around town. That's right: I'm a big enough Trek nerd that I know who the composer is.

Consequently, I was excited--OK, geeked--to check out Star Trek Captain's Log, a new "official" app from Paramount Pictures. After all, is the iPhone not the ultimate communicator/tricorder hybrid? Surely some kind of kick-ass companion app is long overdue.

This ain't it. Captain's Log is, at heart, a voice recorder, one that lets you create voice, text, and photo notes tagged with GPS-mapped locations--then share those "logs" on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It also provides a rotating, 360-degree external view of the Enterprise for some reason.

I'm not saying the app isn't functional, just that it's lame. The interface draws its design not from the "Star Trek" of old, but rather from last year's movie reboot. To me it looks plain and uninviting. Takes a little while to figure out, too.

What's more, you can't even use the app without first supplying your name and e-mail address. That's not a Prime Directive violation, per se, but it sure is annoying.

To record a log, you enter a title ("Bored in Toledo," for example), then record audio, an image, and/or some text. The app provides a handful of movie sound effects (such as phasers firing) you can use in place of your own audio, though I'm not sure why you'd want to. Likewise, you can insert a photo of, say, Uhura or the Enterprise crew if you don't want to snap or attach a photo of your own.

Curiously, the number of stock Trek photos suddenly decreased after I created my first log. For example, there was a cool one of the Enterprise firing its phasers--but it later vanished from the list. Who knew the future was so buggy?

As for the rotating Enterprise thing, it just seems like a pointless add-on. It does nothing except let you view the ship from every angle (using your finger or the iPhone 4's gyroscope to circle around it).

Captain's Log is currently on sale for 99 cents, down from $1.99. Neither price will break anybody's bank, but I do think the app will disappoint all but the most die-hard Trekkies. You know, the ones who do go to conventions.

Think I'm being too harsh? Think J.J. Abrams' reboot was overrated? Think I'm on the money on both counts? Hit the comments and let's talk Trek!