Our Rating: 40 /100 ( )
Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader App
While Kindle and iBooks duke it out to become the dominant iPad digital book reader, Zinio aims to become the medium for magazine reading. Overall, Zinio’s off to a good start. However, for the app to replace print magazine reading, major changes to usability are required.
Zinio offers interactive digital copies of print magazines from your iPad. The collection of free magazines that come with the app range from diverse genres including: National Geographic, Macworld, Elle, Esquire, SportingNews, Car and Driver, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and others. Also, the Zinio store lets you pay to download over 2,000 magazines to your iPad.
As for the interaction you have with the magazines, is limited to expanding pictures and videos linked to “interactive magazine” articles. The standard or non-interactive magazines are exactly duplicated from their print version and reading them on Zinio at times feels like reading PDFs. Setting pages to a comfortable reading size is tiresome and requires ‘s calibration on the user’s part. Magazine pages are loaded to fill the entire screen and an all text version of the magazine is offered. But being able to format the article to read along with the pictures requires resizing each page individually.
Magazines are downloaded on the spot and as a result, there’s a noticeable 2-3 second lag as you flip through pages. The download begins as soon as you load a magazine, but downloading an entire magazine takes some time and makes the doing a quick flip preview of a magazine like you would the print edition impossible.
Another early flaw with the Zinio app is that upon loading the app, Zinio shuts down any iPad-iPod music you have playing in the background. A major flaw on the developers part, the lack of music integration hampers those of us who enjoy listening to music while flipping through magazine pages.
As the first version, the Zinio app shows a lot of potential to where it can be with a few more updates. But as the first version, the app fails to take advantage of the iPad’s resources and user experience is ultimately hampered by load times, poor page display, inability to play music simultaneously, and little more than displaying .PDF like copies of our favorite magazines.