Good eatin' from Yelp, the iPhone way

Using the iPhone's built-in GPS, Yelp guides users to user-rated restaurants and businesses nearby.

Yelp on the iPhone
Yelp on the iPhone maps and calls destinations and provides user ratings, but leaves off other social-networking elements. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Yelp for iPhone contains all the ingredients you'd expect from the well-known site for users to rate local business and restaurant listings--except one. It has a perplexing tendency to space out when loading user reviews. The instability is surely an early bug, but a detraction nonetheless.

Apart from that, Yelp for iPhone features a clear display composed of category listings for nearby restaurants, bars, banks, and so on. Like so many of the other apps that CNET editors have reviewed, Yelp's iPhone offering taps into the phone's GPS receptors to find matching listings in your neighborhood, with further parameters on distance and hours available in the button marked Filter.

Each listing on the results page squeezes in the address, user ratings, distance, and price range. Drilling deeper spreads the information out in a format that lets you map the location, click to call, begin browsing through user reviews, and bookmark the page.

Yelp for iPhone is a data-intensive site bulging with user opinions and social-networking addenda. The iPhone app was clearly never intended as a replacement, but as a companion for the lost or weary to seek out a bike shop or bite to eat. That much is evident by the read-only quality, mobile-specific mapping and call functions, and the de-emphasis on social networking. Still, while the closed, self-centeredness of Yelp for iPhone is somewhat refreshing, certain scheduling capabilities would be welcome--like the ability to invite a friend to lunch.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.