Media consumption is one of the major reasons for modern smartphones and tablets. We consume content either through video, pictures and even books. It is no surprise that we use specialized apps for these reasons. Netflix for movies, MixRadio for music etc. Readly is a service that approaches the digitalization of content, this time tackling it from the angle of magazines.
In 2015, magazines are no longer what they used to be. People prefer to get their reading done in media websites and tech blogs such as these. There is still the draw of the curated content presented in a magazine. Rather than picking and choosing your own content, someone else does it for you in a style that you’d enjoy over and over again. In a partnership with Microsoft UK, Readly helped bring their magazine experience from IOS and Android to the Windows Platform on both Windows devices and Windows Phones. We used the app for a while on Windows Phone, and here are our impressions.
Readly for Windows Phone is a pretty well designed app as far as Windows Phone apps go. It is built with three main pivots, recommendations, magazines and my pages. Recommendations are pretty Spartan on first launch, this makes sense the app needs to learn your taste to be able to recommend you magazines. After reading a few magazines, it quickly populated itself with health and fitness as well as tech related magazines. The app also recommends you popular magazines in the “Discover” section located below the recommendations. Magazines like GQ, home improvement and others show up. A great resource for people looking for new magazines I’m sure, but not for people who know their tastes.
The magazines tab allows you to quickly browse through magazines. It has options for filtering and search. Readly’s magazine selection is pretty decent overall. Featuring over 9000 magazines, all the mainstream magazines are there so it is hard to complain. Finally, My Pages is where your favourites and saved magazines live, so you can quickly navigate to them.
One oddity I’d note in the design is that the ellipsis menu and the top bar both contain the same functions so there is a bit of wasted space in terms of duplicated functionality present, this doesn’t really detract from the experience though it is slightly puzzling.
The main function of Readly is reading magazines on a mobile device, so if that falters, then the whole app’s raison d’etre is removed. Luckily Readly is a competent as a magazine reader. You can swipe through pages like you’d expect an e-reader to be able to do, you can choose to bookmark pages and you can search text (this didn’t work consistently in our testing). You are also able to pull up a quick overview of the magazine that allows you to quickly skim through the magazine like you would a regular magazine. For convenience reasons you are also able to pin your favourite magazines to the start screen as is the norm in Windows Phone apps.
Performance was fairly good on my Lumia 830. Pages were loaded quickly and there was rarely lag in navigation. The app was well designed and apparently optimized to work for a Lumia 635, it makes sense that It would perform better on higher specced devices.
Readly for Windows Phone is a pretty good app for magazine readers with a wide range of magazines available. While many people may not read magazines nowadays, I believe that is just due to the convenience factor of websites and blogs vs magazines. With a magazine like experience on the small screen, Readly makes a case for why magazines can remain relevant in a mobile first world.
Readly is available in the Windows Phone store for free with a £9.99 monthly subscription.