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Review: Presentics makes nice-looking presentations on iPad

Presentics (free, but a full version is available for US$9.99) is a fascinating presentation app for the iPad. Once you get the hang of it (more about that later), you can spin up some very nice presentations that work on your iPad alone or when it's connected to a big screen or projector.

The app has some innovative features, and there are some attractive examples to help you get started. Presentics allows you to draw on screen in real time, or import just about any media or text from the web, Dropbox, Google Drive or your own media already on your iPad. There is support for images, video clips, audio clips, documents (PDF, HTML, Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote) and web pages, along with streaming media if you have an internet connection.

Extensive help is built into the app, but I had real trouble getting started with only a cursory glance at those help files. Building a presentation did not seem to have a natural flow, and it was unclear what some of the program buttons accomplished. After a few tries, I understood how it worked, but a video tutorial that starts from scratch and takes the user through an initial presentation setup would be extremely helpful. There are some videos on the developer website, but not in the app itself. I think most first-time users will be baffled about how to get started and what to do next.

Performance is good, but I noted that it was pretty slow loading images from my camera roll, sometimes taking up to 30 seconds.

The real problem Presentics has is competing with Keynote from Apple, which is also $9.95 or free with the purchase of a new iOS device. Keynote seems easier to use, integrates nicely with the desktop version and I could get up and running with Keynote a lot faster.

The free version of Presentics allows you to create two presentations. Buying the $9.99 upgrade lets you create unlimited presentations, and use the cloud features that allow you to privately share your presentations online.

I like Presentics as an app, and if Keynote didn't exist, it would be a compelling offering. It's not the easiest app to figure out, but when you take the time to do so, you will be able to generate great-looking presentations.

If you are considering Presentics, be sure to download the free preview and see if its features are a good match for your needs. You may also want to consider Prezi, a totally free app that gets good reviews from users.

Presentics requires iOS 6 or later, and it's an 8.4 MB download. It supports English and German, and is iPad-only.

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