Top 5 must have apps for living in Hong Kong
Densely populated, busy, and expensive, Hong Kong can be a stressful place at times. Thankfully smartphones, when they aren't distracting people and causing them to block road crossing and MTR exits, are helping city residents improve their daily lives.
SCMP staff reporters sifted through Hong Kong focused apps to choose five must have apps. Their inclusion was based on design, functionality, efficiency, and how well they were tailored to users in the city. All are free to download.
One thing Hongkongers love even more than food is taking pictures of what they're eating and that's a major strength of restaurant app Openrice. The app features written reviews of almost all the city’s eateries, alongside users' snaps of dishes. Openrice’s rating system of smiley faces, directions from the MTR to the restaurant and a price guide gives users all they need to know about each establishment. An advanced search feature allows users to search by type of cuisine and location, so they will never be too far from what their stomach desires.
Hong Kong's weather may only fluctuate by around 25 degrees Celsius across the year, but heavy rains and the threat of typhoons mean plans must change on short notice. The Hong Kong Observatory's app gives users day-by-day forecasts as well as weather warnings such as the important T8 typhoon signal, which, if raised, means nearly all employees and students in the city get a day off. The app includes rainfall measurements and other geeky data to keep weather nerds happy.
This app is great for a rainy day when you have a film in mind and want to know the nearest cinema where you can see it. HK Movie allows users to swipe through all movies playing in Hong Kong. Tapping on the movie poster gives users reviews and ratings and a tap on "showtimes" allows users to see which cinemas are showing the film and when.
Hong Kong’s bus network is reliable, cheap and vast, but mastering its intricacies can take some practice. Much like its inelegant name, the CitybusNWFB app can appear clunky at first. Give the app a little time as you search routes to get you from A to B and its benefits will become apparent. Where the app beats Google Maps and other tools is its feature enabling users to view a picture of the relevant bus stop, which is sure to be of help on Hong Kong’s crowded streets.
China Air Quality Index
If you live in Hong Kong, you have likely wondered if the grayish tint to the sky is pollution or fog. China Air Quality Index answers your question by giving the city-wide pollution reading as well as that of your nearest measuring station. The app maps the levels of PM2.5, PM10, ozone and sulphur dioxide in each location so users can decide whether it’s worth risking a run outside. As the app tracks pollution across China, you can also track a mainland city’s air quality ahead of a business trip or holiday.