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delivery status touch vs parcel for tracking shipments

25 Dec 2013

2013-12-25 01:22:31 -0600

The short story is that I wish I had just gone with Delivery Status Touch instead of paying for both.

availability

Both Parcel and Delivery Status Touch are universal apps (meaning you download/pay once and get an iphone and ipad version).

They also both have web apps. Here's Parcel's and here's DST's).

Finally, they both have mac apps, though Delivery Status Touch's is a widget whereas Parcel's is a normal app you download at the app store.

cost

The two apps have different pricing models.

Parcel is free but you're limited to only tracking 3 simultaneous deliveries and you get no push notifications. For $2/year you get access to the web app, unlimited deliveries and push notifications.

Delivery Status Touch is simply a pay-for app. As of the time I write this, Delivery Status Touch is on sale for $3, but sells normally for $5.

design

This is where Delivery Status Touch wins big time for me.

who's the package carrier

Originally, I thought Delivery Status Touch's design was ugly when I looked at the screenshots because the purples and browns just looked so horrible together. Later, I realized that these colors served an important purpose: they indicate who the package carrier is (e.g., brown for UPS, purple for Fedex).

Parcel has no way to see who the carrier is at a glance. You have to tap each individual entry.

I bought Parcel first, and I found myself really missing that information. When I realized that Delivery Status Touch had easy access to that information, that was enough to push me into spending money on yet another package tracking app.

where is the package really

Here's yet another place where Delivery Status Touch is superior to Parcel.

With Parcel, in the main view, you only know that your packaged has arrived or departed somewhere. Delivery Status Touch has the location listed as well so that you don't have to view individual entries to find out the details.

when will it be delivered

And finally, yet another place where Delivery Status Touch wins.

Delivery Status Touch gives you big, easy to read numbers that tell you how many days are remaining.

Though the delivery date is on the main list (as opposed to my other gripes where you had to open the individual entry), Parcel has made it difficult to scan the list to see when things are going to be delivered.

IMHO, the most important piece of information is the delivery date. Parcel somewhat "buries" this information in the list by putting it in a same-size and non-bold font that's very difficult to scan.

On second look, it does appear that Parcel has the ability to show how many days until delivery, but this is not the default option. And then apparently, once it's out for delivery, it switches to a cutesy truck icon (which is also what it shows when you're using the default options).

push notifications

The place where Parcel wins is in push notifications. Again, this is something that only paid users get.

Apparently this functionality used to exist in Delivery Status Touch but was removed in a recent update. There's still an option to enable "background notifications", but from my experience so far, this does not generate any automatic updates.

While it was entertaining to see the push notifications regarding my packages jetsetting across the country, ultimately I only need to know when the thing is actually on the truck for delivery.

I will say there's a very nice default here for Parcel: it only alerts you from 8a to 10p. Frankly, I think this should be customizable because, in my experience, it basically becomes an 8a alarm clock because all of the overnight activities then get sent out at 8a on the dot.

Still though, I wish more developers were thoughtful about this. For instance, there was no need for Duolingo to alert me at 3 in the morning that one of my friends had beat my score.

conclusion

Both of these programs are good. In fact, if you don't need more than 3 deliveries at a time, just use Parcel.

To me though, Delivery Status Touch is the superiorly designed application and is the one I wish I had gone with in the first place.