Whether you’re a small business owner or you manage a huge corporation, whether you’re planning a short trip or a move to another country, or even if you just live in a country that imports most of its goods from the EU or the USA, you probably keep a close eye on the currency rates and conversions.
Take me for example, I own and manage a pharmacy in Lebanon, where we import most of our brand name drugs from the EU. Prices are appointed by the Ministry of Health and changed once the currency rates of their originating countries rise or fall by about 3 to 4%. This part of our work is an exercise in frustration, because if we stock on too much of a drug from France for example, and the Euro declines by 3-4%, the Ministry will lower the drug’s price accordingly and we’ll end up losing a part of our profit margin.
That’s why it’s not only important to have a good currency conversion app, it’s also essential to be able to track a currency’s rate across several months. To that end, I recently started looking for a solution on the Play Store, and fell in love with XE Currency. Read on for my full review.
Rates and Conversions
XE Currency uses a minimalist interface that relies on one screen as a converter and a rate updater. Adding currencies is as simple as searching for their name, symbol or country, and rearranging them via drag-and-drop lets you prioritize the ones you want to see first. With one tap, any currency can be pinned to the top to act as your base for all conversions and rates.
Then, you can click on the amount next to the top currency to specify the amount that you want to convert. Once you’re done, you can shake your device to reset the value to 1.0 — a simple yet highly useful feature.
Tracking Currency Rates
One welcome aspect of XE Currency is that it goes beyond the conversion to allow you to track a currency across one day, one week, one month, three months and a year. As I explained above, this is a crucial feature for my work, and will also be important if you’re interested in any rate change trends over long periods of time.
Simply clicking the arrow next to any currency opens the rate chart where you can pick the different time intervals or invert the graph. The killer feature here is pinpointing any day for XE to show you the exact value, or two days for the variation between them. It would have been excellent if it calculated the variation percentage correctly: a £0.13 decrease over £1.62 (as shown in the graph below) is an 8% variation, not a 0.08% variation. The app forgets to multiply the result by a hundred.
Besides picking and arranging your favorite currencies, XE lets you choose the update interval, the number of decimals in the rate, whether or not to turn on the shake to reset, and which currency rates or conversion details to show. For example, you can choose to see the unit inverse, which is the method I actually prefer for currency tracking.
Many Highs and Few Lows
Putting aside the error in calculating percentages of variations in the graph, and the odd design relics from Froyo and Gingerbread that creep up at times, XE Currency really misses one feature: widgets. The fact that you have to open the app every day to view the new rates defeats its purpose of speed and efficiency, and widgets would have been perfect for quick information at a glance.
Still, XE Currency remains one of the most popular currency converters and rate trackers on the Play Store, and that’s understandable given its simple design that doesn’t compromise on important features like fast refresh rates and multiple charts.