Paragon Software Group’s Concise Oxford English Dictionary in Review

paragon-coed-icon1Paragon Software Group also have a version of The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. At 24.99$, it is cheaper than Mobile System’s Dictionary and Thesaurus combination and offers digitised audio and a faster interface than their competitor. However, have Paragon brought enough bells, whistles and gadgets to the table to really compete with their more expensive rival?

From Paragon’s Website:

Two industry leaders have combined their efforts to provide a revolutionary combination of high-quality reference content and state-of-the-art technology for your translation needs.

Application features:

English audio pronunciations made by native speakers.
No Internet connection required: simply download the dictionary to your iPhone/iPod touch.
Hyperlinks between articles and directions.
Search History of the last 100 translated words.
Morphology module to translate English words in any grammatical form
List of similar words in case of misspelling
Wildcard Search if you are unsure of the exact word spelling. Use “?” and “*” symbols to replace the missing letters

Features
Paragon Software’s COED is an interesting approach to dictionary design. Firstly, it includes a word forms function which clearly explains parts of speech for the searched word. This is a helpful function to have for native English speakers wishing to brush up on grammar and spelling as well as for students of English who need a quick reference for usage forms for nearly every word in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Combined with 20 000 audio samples, Paragon’s software is a good tool for study and reference.

It too features similar searches to Mobile System’s COED: wild card and similar word lists, but has a dedicated search button which makes for fewer search errors. Nearly any word is searchable, even abbreviations, numbers and symbols – a time saving item.

Apart from the above however, Paragon have brought nothing new to the table other than an oftentimes unwieldly GUI. It makes no apologies for clumsiness and even replaces the elegant Safari-style search bar with a rounded rectangle that neither fits the screen or the GUI very well. It is too much a hybrid to be of much use and does not even feature a true bookmark function. The bottom row of icons is nicely spaced but basic search function icons are crowded together, making pressing buttons a chore. Paragon’s software has a thrown-together look and feel to it that is unfortunate as it carries some great tools that are simply not a joy to use because of the poor GUI implementation.

Misses
Other than the flung-together GUI, Paragon’s COED suffers from crashes and unexplainable items such as the ‘Dictionaries’ function which has the following options: ‘English explanatory’. Paragon are a notable production house of good translation software – this pancreas of a function is probably just an evolutionary leftover from their other dictionaries. Unfortunately, this begs the question: did Paragon make this version of the COED for their customers or merely to block funds from flowing to other production houses? After spending time with their software, I am inclined to believe the latter.

Concise Edition Omissions
Lastly, failings of the Concise Oxford Dictionary need to be considered. US spellings are laregely omitted in the Concise Oxford, however, even the shallow Oxford in OSX, includes where applicable, both spellings in a single definition, not annoying links between US and British variants. This feature needs to be implemented in iPhone dictionaries especially as the iPhone is at heart an internet device which has an international audience.

In the same breath, The Concise Oxford is a selection of aggregate definitions, sources and etymologies. It is a great reference tool in paper, but when making the trip to digital publishing, much more functionality could be added.

Important Features

History
Search
Index
Book MarkN/A
Digitised Pronunciation√ 20 000
History
Search
Font SelectionN/A
Font Size AdjustmentN/A
Web ContentN/A
Idioms
Etymology
Content240 000 words
Usage Notes√ (Word Forms,

excellent)

Pronunciation GuideN/A
ImagesN/A

Conclusion
Mobile Systems’ entry is strong and one of the best COED editions in the App Store, but it sorely lacks when compared to the superior Enfour American Heritage Deluxe especially at the price. It never flounders, but offers stolid performance as an electronic dictionary, however Mobile Systems’ COED brings too little innovation to the App Store to be worth 34.99$. It needs digitised voice, better linking options and an iPhone consistent or original GUI interface.

Paragon Software’s COED gets Slapped by TouchMyApps. Follow the link for our other Oxford reviews.

slap

App Summary
Title:The Concise Oxford English Dictionary and ThesaurusDeveloper:Paragon Software Group
Price:$24.99App Size:14.4 MB
  • COED text
  • Unique search functions
  • ‘clickable’ words from almost anywhere in any article
  • ‘Word Forms’ study guide
  • 20 000 digitised voices
  • GUI
  • Crashes
  • Interface is sloppy
  • Entire package seems ‘flung’ together

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