App name: Lookout
Publisher: Lookout Inc.
Price: Free; Premium version available for $3 per month.
Available on: iOS; Android devices; Kindle
What's it supposed to do? Protect your sleek, new smartphone from any number of dangers, including misplacing it, someone stealing it or malicious software infiltrating it.
Ease of use 4/5: There's not a whole lot to the app, so it's simple to set up and operate. It's only 14.6 MB, so it shouldn't slow down your device. You'll have to provide an email address, enter a password and turn on your location services. From the home screen, you'll find tabs for finding a missing device, checking your phone security and making sure your contacts are backed up.
Features 2/5: There really just isn't much to the free version of this app. The "Locate Your Device" feature -- easily the best feature on the app -- is one you probably won't use until you need it. The feature that checks for system updates is cool, but your device should already do that on its own. Same with backing up your contacts. The app does have a feature that checks your running apps for malicious content that can compromise your device's security.
About that device locator: In addition to being able to locate your device with GPS, you can also make your device "scream" if you've misplaced. Say you've lost your device in your apartment -- maybe it found its way underneath the couch cushions. On a computer or other device, log onto your account at Lookout.com and click the "Scream" button. Even if your device is on silent or vibrate, it will belt out this obnoxious siren to make locating your phone a piece of cake.
Effectiveness 3/5: Lookout does what it claims to do. Unfortunately, that's not much. You'll have to upgrade to the Premium version to unlock a treasure trove of other features.
Value 3/5: Lookout is free and takes up less space than your average app, so it's hard to argue there isn't some "value" there. It's worth a shot if you have some free space on your device.
Verdict: 12/20 Average: It's clear that the free version is just a demo of the Premium version. The location features may offer some peace of mind, and for that, maybe it's worth the download. However, if you're uncomfortable letting apps use your location, then Lookout probably isn't for you.
It's a decent app, but if you're that serious about security, you may want to opt for the Premium version.