Flash My Brain for the iPhone: A Review

UPDATE: April 2013 – The developer appears to have given up on this app and ithas gone a long time without updates. Despite having a lot of promise, I would no longer recommend this app ;-(

Whilst I’m on a Greek and an iPhone App roll, I thought I’d introduce you to another iPhone App that I have been using recently that has enhanced my Greek study no end.

As soon as the App store became available I was aware of the possibility of using my iPhone to aid my Greek study. I held off, thinking that written memory cards suited me just fine. Eventually I caved in however, and have been happily using ‘Flash My Brain’ for several months now. There are now an impressive array of flashcard apps available for the iPhone – but in my view, this one beats them hands down for biblical Greek study.

I have uploaded all of the 600 vocabulary words used in Jeremy Duff’s ‘Elements of New Testament Greek’, including one version that includes audio helps for each of the words. Hopefully the somewhat poorly shot embedded video demonstrates something of the feel of the App…!

Many of its reviews on the App Store are all over the place, with mixed reviews elsewhere too. By and large I feel this is a little unfair. I’ve therefore decided to give my reason’s for using it below:

Things I like:

  • I have found that the Leitner memorisation system and customisable shuffling incorporated as options have made my learning more systematic and works really very well for me.

  • The online card view system makes it really easy for you, if you wish, to make your flashcard sets available for other users to access. Last time I checked, there were 243 different cardsets just for Greek vocab and grammar that people had uploaded and made available through the online server – with many hundreds more in everything from taxes to Tibetan to time tables! Whilst I guess most people have specific and individual requirements when it comes to their flashcard content, there is so much good stuff available on there that it does deserve a mention.
  • You can take photos with the iPhone’s camera, or add photos from your saved albums on both the iPhone and iPod Touch – you can even then slice them up and use bits from the front and back of your cards. I have added sound recordings to my flash cards that can be set to automatically play or play on my command (see embedded video for an example of this). This I find really useful as I have both the visual reminder of the word with an audio pronunciation right there to reinforce it. However, the editing process through the iPhone editor can prove to be a little time consuming. If you’re prepared to shell out for the desktop version, you’ll find that it seamlessly integrates with you iPhone and makes the process of creating cards SO much easier! Having created over 600 now, I don’t think I would have managed just using the built in iPhone editor, even though it is very good.
  • It’s always on you! (well, always on me anyway). Whether I’m on the train, walking out and about or lying in bed, I can always reach for my phone and have my vocab easy to hand. Fantastic!

Things I would like to see:

  • A cheaper price! ‘Flash my Brain’ for the PC or Mac weighs in at $29.95, with the iPhone App setting you back $5.99 currently. Whilst these apps are the best in their market imo, they are still a little pricey.
  • The font used to display Greek text on the iPhone is readable, but ugly. To be fair, I guess this is the fault of the current iPhone software for not supporting more attractive fonts for biblical Greek study so this may change in the future.
  • I’d like there to be some kind of free uploader available so that users can easily upload their own cards without being reliant on either using the iPhone editor (laborious) owning the PC / Mac version (expensive).

Check it out:

Flash My Brain

for the iPhone.