With the Foursquare app for Android, you can check in to all your hangouts and keep tabs on friends who do the same. It's a great way to discover new locations while on the go, and possibly earn discounts and special deals at participating businesses that have partnered with the service. What's more, the app provides a great way to get (and give) short pieces of advice about a particular hotspot.
To begin using Foursquare, you first need to log in with your account. If you don't already have one, the app supports Facebook log-in for an extra-quick setup. This log-in requirement sets the Android version apart from the Windows Phone app, which lets you poke around even without an account.
Once you're on your home screen, you'll notice an activity feed front and center, a check-in button on bottom, a search bar up top, and a few recommendations. Meanwhile, additional navigation options are tucked into the menu on the left. While most of this seems straightforward, my issue is that the navigation isn't always easy to access. In fact, depending on where you are in the app, you may have to hit the Back button several times just to get home, and give the screen one more tap to pull out the navigation menu. With that in mind, I think Foursquare could have benefited from a fixed menu or at the very least a fixed Home button.
Discovering hot spots
If you're looking to discover new hot spots around town, Foursquare offers a number of ways to do. The most obvious ways are to run a search or tap around in the app's Browse menu, where businesses are broken down into categories. Whichever direction you choose, you'll be able to narrow your search to a specific neighborhood and sort your results by several criteria, including Distance, Price, Open Now, Offering Specials, and others. These tools can be a big help, no matter what sort of business you're looking for.
Similarly to Yelp, business pages on Foursquare contain a lot of useful information, including hours, address, menus, phone numbers, and photos. What you won't find on these pages, though, are lengthy reviews. Instead, Foursquare shows you check-in history and a list of quick tips left by other Foursquare-using patrons. As well, you can leave your own tip directly on the page, or give a business a vote of Like or Dislike. My only problem with this page is that there's no way to sort tips by date. As of now, they can only be arranged by number of Like votes received.
Lists are another important part of the Foursquare experience, as they let you see how others might be categorizing businesses. If you poke around the network, you'll likely find user-created lists of the city's best burgers or swankiest bars. And of course, you can create your own lists too.
Perhaps the feature that Foursquare is best known for is check-ins. So, as expected, the mobile app makes it easy with an intuitive interface for broadcasting your location. The easiest way to do this is to hit the floating check-in button at the bottom of the Home screen. This automatically brings up your location and a number of popular and frequently visited sites in the area. If your target is on the list, you can simply tap it and jump right to the check-in screen. Otherwise, you'll have to run a search.