The App: Netflix
The Device: iPhone/HTC Incredible
The Price: The app is free, but a subscription will cost you
The Basics: Surely you know about Netflix. In fact…surely you use Netflix. After all, it is the year 2012 and you know how to use the internet. What was once a rent-DVDs-through-the-mail service has evolved into a digital streaming service, with an impressive selection of ready-to-watch movies and television shows. Since you could now watch movies through an internet connection with no need for a disc, a mobile app was inevitable. I’ve used the Netflix app on both Android and iPhone and both versions are just about identical…but is that identical experience good or bad?
The Review: The Netflix app gets the job done. You open it, you find the movie or show you want to watch, you tap play and watch it. It’s entirely functional and delivers what matters most about the modern Netflix experience: you can watch a crap-ton of movies anywhere you want to watch them. Taken as an extension of the main website, the Netflix app is pretty great, but the moment you look at it by itself, it’s lacking in a few key areas.
Navigating the app can be a pain in butt. Want to add movies to your queue? Re-arrange your queue? Extensively browse? Good luck. The small screen isn’t built for the current Netflix layout and doing anything that intensive will give you a headache. Thankfully, this is essentially negated by the extension of the actual website, where building and re-arranging you movie queue remains pretty effortless (in all fairness, the iPad version supposedly has a superior layout, but I have not used it). As long as you maintain your account from your computer, the app remains incredibly useable. All you’ll ever have to do it tap the “Queue” button.
Speaking of buttons, I wish the app had a better visual response for your interactions. When you select a movie or hit the play button, there’s occasionally a slight delay as the app loads, but there is no cue that your tap has been registered, leading to few seconds of unease as you try to tap it again or wonder if the app has locked up. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re trying to do this while at the gym or riding on a bumpy bus, it can be a headache.
But let’s face it: that’s a real first world problem. Issues aside, Netflix still lets you watch thousands of movies on your phone. That alone makes it worth your $10 a month. Hey, the app may not be perfect, but it’s still an A+ service.
The Grade: B+