This is a review of the app preview, the app has not seen an update to full status as of 10/22/12. There are also several “Engadget” apps available, but this one is officially from Engadget.
Engadget is one of my favorite websites to visit on a daily basis. You can get a variety of tech news in an easy to digest format, plus they do podcasts and a nice video show. Thanks to Technology Gone Wild for the mention to look at this app.
The app opens to a mostly traditional (at least so far in Modern) style with a main article and other articles with smaller images to the right. This app takes it a little further with the ability to feature up to 5 stories. Hovering your mouse over the “featured” section brings up an arrow to click-through to see the other ones. It isn’t automatic like similar features on many websites, but first time I’ve seen it used in an app and I like it.
Above the articles when you right-click you get the nice colorful bar as shown. My only real issue with it is the first two colored “e’s”. If you haven’t visited the website before, clicking on them in this app provides no clue as to why there are two different colored “e’s”. By the way the blue “e” is for Classic Engadget – all articles, the green “e” is for alt.engadget which I take to mean alternative idea centered articles. I visit the site and I’m not even sure. The pink “m” is a little more obvious to have articles devoted to the mobile phone/tablet area. The HD section being devoted to HD related content is also fairly obvious.
Oddly you can’t get to one of the 4 areas unless you are on the main page for one of the areas. – and there is no way to return to the home screen directly if in an article. So a minor inconvenience for navigation, it is after all only a click or two away to return to a main section.
The app boasts other sections when it first opens, two of which are shown above. You get image galleries, videos, podcasts and topics. The latest posts go back quite awhile, but there is no indicate how old any news is as there are often no dates unless you click to read one. The galleries and videos only show 10 each, but the podcasts do go back 150 days currently.
The image gallery pulls together in a slide show all the images related to a given article as only some have a gallery. Frustratingly there is no way to find the original article. Also the same galleries appear on each of the 4 groups of pages, so not linked to the subject matter as you would think it should be.
The video section groups all videos provided on the site recently. It immediately opens full-screen giving you information about when it was posted and by whom. If it is associated with an article there is no link provided. It will also have “The Engadget Show” videos which is really awesome to have there, though for some reason they wouldn’t show up in the listing for just Engadget show videos. (seems to be a bug as it is got stuck on the Engadget show section in videos for me until I closed the app and reopened it).
The podcast section is rather dull looking. Even though it is just audio, it needs something graphical to spice it up. It plays right when clicked on and it continues playing even if you use another app. It won’t keep playing if you move off it within the app itself but you can just as easily snap it and go work on something else while you listen.
The last section on the main screen is topics. This does exactly what you think it might, narrow down the articles to the ones about specific topics of interest. It gives you quite a few choices in each one with an accessible semantic view (without images) that can help find the topic you want. Quite handy.
I guess it’s time I cover the article view since that is primarily what I would expect you might use this app to read the articles. This particular article is from the HD section, but the parts you see in orange above correspond to that section of Engadget in the article view. I do like the faint “Engadget” on the background, that is a nice touch. The really nice part is you can comment within the app. It makes it easy to do so as a panel opens out from the right. You can sign into your Engadget account, but I tried to use it via my Facebook and it wouldn’t do it with Modern IE10. I’m unsure why. Still very nicely added in.
Search – in search as you’ll see below there is no separation for which page the article appears on, which is fine, but then why is the orange color there? It is there to provide you with which choice of refining your search you have chosen, but I just find it a tad confusing. You can see it below. Share – this app does a fine job sharing to many apps. Settings – there are no settings. I’d prefer to be able to sign into Engadget here than in comments, but it isn’t a deal breaker.
It snaps quite well and adjusts how it works in the one-third view. Even the choices for reaching the 4 different sections of the app are there (just with no text) but still easily accessible. It shows they worked on this view just as much as the rest of the app.
The live tile rotates between a few stories and gives you an image and idea of what the story is about with easy to read text with a solid color background.
This app is something Engadget can be proud of and aside from a couple a minor nitpicks about colors and how it is set-up, it works extremely well. If you like Engadget you’ll feel right at home in the app using it on your tablet or even desktop/laptop. Technically still an app preview, but it works very well in its current state.