The Guardian is the fifth most read English-language news site in the world, so it was only a matter of time until this top notch British publication reared its head on the Android Market. Content rules in terms of newspaper apps and The Guardian has enough free news, podcasts and videos to make up for a dull design. The ability to download content for your daily commute is a welcome is a welcome touch too.
There’s a huge amount that’s good, nay great, about The Guardian app but since we’re hard to please, we’re going to start with the bad stuff. As the spawn of an extremely well-designed website, we were expecting this app to be a bit more of a looker. Every article is displayed in a standard format of headline, photo and copy with no sidebars and few additional links available to push you towards relevant content. Furthermore, menus are purely scrolling affairs lacking in a methodology for ranking categories by size and importance other than by a limited manual customisation tool. In fairness, The Guardian looked a whole lot better when running off our Android tablet but it was still far from stunning.
It’s a real shame the app’s layout is so dry because it does its unfathomable wealth of content a great disservice. Whether you’re a fan of Charlie Brooker, the paper’s regular politics live blogs or its New music column, they’re all here to digest at your convenience. Needless to say the quality of writing is top notch whatever topic you decide to read on. So are the app’s excellent array of video and podcasts for that matter.
Sharing any great interviews or reviews you discover is easy too. Facebook and Twitter connectivity is actively encouraged with the help of a big button on the top menu. Bizarrely you can’t search for your favourite articles of old, yet this gaping flaw is compensated for with the ability to download content for offline reading at a time of your choosing. Never again will you be lacking in quality journalism on your early morning train journey to work.
Given this app is entirely free and, as of yet, there’s not a jot of advertising clogging up our touchscreen, it seems a bit ungrateful to complain about missing features and functional design. Since we’re reviewing The Guardian app and not the The Guardian newspaper itself though, we feel entitled to air our qualms when there are similar offerings, most notably IMDb Movies & TV and CNN App for Android Phones, that do a much better job. While The Guardian remains our news source of choice, it’s by no means the creator of our favourite current affairs app for Android.
The Bottom Line
A great newspaper makes for a pretty good current affairs app. Additional Info
Version reviewed 1.0.1
Requires Android 1.6 or higher