“App Review: Lookzee” is an official iOS app review by Jack Topping for JET Numismatics. This review was completed on an Apple iOS device, for Apple products. All images and other copyrighted material displayed in this review were used with consent from the Lookzee development team.
[3 July 2018]
The scenario: You are in a public place, such as a grocery store, shopping mall, or park. You look at the ground and something catches your eye: some kind of coin, but you’re not quite sure what it is. After spending a disproportionate amount of time browsing the Internet for clues, you admit defeat. Frustrated at the lack of answers on what you’ve found, you’re not sure where to look next.
This is where Lookzee comes in. A personal favorite, shockingly free to use, and a pinnacle in coin identification.
Although the app is still in development, it deserves praise for a smooth and well built process. Currently, it identifies basic United States coins such as wheat cents, Jefferson and Buffalo nickels, Roosevelt and Mercury dimes, and Washington quarters. The speed of analysis, photo identification and image formatting shows the immense potential for this app once it reaches a fully developed state. The goal in one year’s time, according to the Lookzee team, is to “have several more coins identified”. Even though it seems like a daunting task to eventually code many different modern and circulating American coins into a streamlined process, the development team led by Tim Rathjen have proved themselves up to the challenge. In short: It is my belief that this app, once fully complete, will change the way coins are identified in the modern, digital era.
After downloading the free app in the Apple App Store, you’re first greeted with the login screen. Although account registration is optional, it is recommended in order to share your coins with other collectors in the app. After registering and confirming your email, you are greeted with full access to all three bottom tabs: “Me”, “Analyze”, and “Social”.
Under the “Me” tab, your complete collection is stored in one place. After snapping two photos of your coin, a result is made in regards to the the coin’s identification, and you have the option to save that coin to this folder. As such, your collection will be empty by default after registering for the first time.
To begin the identification process, simply tap on “Capture A Coin” under the “Me” tab, or hit the “Analyze” tab, and accept Lookzee’s request to use your camera. The interface is simple, straightforward and clean. Capture images of the obverse (front) and the reverse (back) of the coin, and you’re good to go.
After a few seconds of analysis, the app will churn out the “Results” page, as seen below. In my test, I used a circulated 1989-P Washington Quarter, one of the currently accepted and recognized coins. On the first try, it correctly identified that it was indeed, a “USA Washington Quarter”. In addition to correctly identifying the coin with lightning speeds, the “Results” page immediately formats the obverse and reverse images of your coin in a properly oriented, zoomed fashion, akin to professional coin photographs with the iconic and crisp black background.
After analysis is complete, there are five options for you to choose from: “Capture another coin”, to re-take your photographs should it return as unidentified, “Re-Orient Coin” to simply rotate the image of the coin, “Open in Chat” to discuss your coin with others on the Lookzee forum (under the “Social” tab at the bottom), “Share Coin” which gives you the option of sharing your findings through iMessage, Mail, and other social media apps, and lastly, “Save to collection”, which stores this coin under the “Me” tab for quick and easy reference.
In addition to being a leader in mobile coin identification, the app also focuses heavily on the numismatic community. Through the “Social” tab, members can post pictures, ask questions, and engage in overall friendly discussion, and receive related Lookzee notifications. According to the Lookzee team, they are looking to expand the social and communal aspect of the app just as much as their coin identification and analysis program, saying, “The team is looking forward to more people posting with Lookzee. The social/forum part is growing now and we are excited to see users helping one another. It’s really about community and are super happy to see it growing”. Although the “Social” tab is an online feature, the analysis and coin identification process does not need an internet connection.
Personally, I can see the app bridging the very growing gap between our technologically obsessed society and the “Hobby of Kings”. Contrary to the belief of some, it does not replace or compete with Google Images- it complements it. It’s not a replacement to in depth research, it’s simply another tool in the numismatic “toolbox”, right alongside various guidebooks and other related literature. With the added bonus of a community of collectors, all sharing their thoughts and participating in the quest for knowledge makes the Lookzee app well rounded and very desirable to any collector. The app (and the team behind it) deserve much praise for a quality product that is only going to get better with time. I am eager to see what kind of additions will be added and what kind of improvements will be made. Until then, I recommend using the app for the social aspect, to engage in their community of collectors, to gain additional insight, and to share your collection with others. In the end: I am very pleased with the app as it is today, but I am even more excited for what’s to come.
Special thanks to the Lookzee development team for their contributions to this review.
To download Lookzee on iOS, click here.
To download Lookzee on the Google Play Store, click here.