If misplacing things is your M.O., Marco Polo’s got you covered. It’s as simple as it sounds – shout Marco until your phone shouts back Polo, just like the good old days as a kid in the swimming pool. You know, when you had friends to play with instead of a smart phone.
I’m the kind of person who misplaces my phone under a pile of something just after switching it to silent, so I get the appeal of Marco Polo immediately.
If you’d rather not shout “Marco”, you can customise the call and response to fit the app’s preset voices or any short phrase you can think of. Yes, even ‘I’m here, dimwit!’
The volume boost function on the app makes sure the app will shout back loud and clear no matter what settings you use, and push notifications from the app promise to help you find your phone in the dark.
Marco Polo is available for $1.29 in the iTunes app store, but not yet available for Android devices.
The best thing about Marco Polo is the fun factor – it feels more like a game than a functional tool. The app’s available response voices include nods to Bill Clinton, David Attenborough, Jack Nicholson and Homer Simpson, not to mention more generic grandma or grandpa options and an Aussie voice setting somewhat aptly called “Outback”. (Editor’s note: That’s a flamin’ outrage, it is!)
Preloaded answers range from the standard “Polo” to an enticing “getting warmer”. It’s worth testing the features before relying on Marco Polo to locate your phone – it seems users with accents from outside the North American standard may have trouble getting the app to respond.
As far as functionality goes, that’s only one of the downsides to the app that weigh it down. The most glaring issue is that the app also has to be running for it to work. Not only does this place a red bar at the top of your display, it’s a big battery drain. You can turn the listening function off, but then the app won’t work and you’ll have to have the foresight to turn it on again before you lose your phone.
Getting more organised may be more effective than playing Marco Polo when I lose my phone in my own living room, but listening to a Scottish 007 voice respond “Yes master” every time I shout “Connery” was definitely worth the download.