Spotify – It's Here!
Tested version: 0.4.12.180
Latest version: 0.6.0.20
Requires Android: from 2.1
We’ve been waiting for this for months and now it’s finally launched: the music streaming giant Spotify is now officially available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and of course the United Kingdom and the United States. With the demise of other streaming services such as Simfy and Rdio, Spotify seems a bit like a knight in shining armour for music lovers the world over—well, at least in certain European countries and the USA.
When it comes to streaming services, a good mobile app is a real must. So how does the Spotify Android app fare? Does it live up to the hype? Find out in today’s review.
Features & Use
Please note that a Facebook account is necessary in order to use Spotify.
We’ve tested a few music streaming services for you, and Spotify provides a similar service to what you might be familiar with if you’re a Rdio or Deezer user: it plays music via stream and allows users to temporarily save tracks and/or playlists to their devices.
So if there are other good music streamers out there, why have music lovers been waiting impatiently for Spotify to launch in their respective countries? Spotify has two major things going for it: a wonderfully large selection of music (this goes hand in hand with deals with the four major record labels) and a brilliant desktop version of the service. Using Spotify you can create playlists, set up music libraries and integrate locally saved music.
While this all works out beautifully on the desktop version, the mobile app does not live up to our expectations. In fact, we encountered problems only minutes after having installed the app, which turned out to be frustrating to use on the whole.
But before we begin butchering Spotify (wow, alliterate much?), let’s list the good features. Firstly, Spotify is one of the few streaming services that allows users to integrate locally saved music. This means that switching from the Google Music Player to the streaming service becomes obsolete—hurrah!
…And that’s about the only big advantage that Spotify brings to the mobile platform. Aside from this one – admittedly very useful – function, Spotify has little with which to trump other services such as Rdio.
First off, there’s no landscape mode within the app. Then it isn’t possible to continue playing a track where you paused it. Nor is editing a playlist. Worse yet: it isn’t possible to use the radio function we all know and love from the desktop version. And the streaming quality is limited to 160 kbs, which just doesn’t cut it. By the way, the iPhone app comes with an ‘Extreme’ option which provides a higher streaming quality than 160 kbs—and what are we, chopped liver?
But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You will find that should you wish to save more than 30 tracks they won’t be sorted according to albums, artists or genre. WTF is all that springs to mind, Honestly, what were the good Spotify folks thinking? Sorting and search filters are a big must-have for streaming services!
Lastly, it isn’t possible to download entire albums, only playlists. Rdio proved that it is possible to create an efficient network between desktop and mobile app, so why is Spotify so gosh darn user-unfriendly?
Users who are perfectly content with working on Spotify from their computers will get a big kick out Spotify because the desktop version, as mentioned, is the bomb. What’s more is that you will find syncing playlists and tracks to your Android device to be nice and easy when done via your computer. However, if you’re the type of user who likes to do things via your smartphone you may find your patience running low as the app does leave a lot to be desired.
Overall I’m disappointed with the Spotify app for Android. To my mind, the Spotify desktop version is the best music streaming service out there, but the app in no way lives up to that standard. What’s more is that users are asked to shell out EUR 9,99 a month for the app.
Screen & Controls
The Spotify controls are good and easy to figure out. The graphics are a bit too reminiscent of the iPhone style for my taste. Also, the app’s speed isn’t exactly the cat’s pajamas. This is especially noticeable in the pop up windows displaying albums and track titles.
It isn’t possible to swipe from one tab to the next, which is a shame.
Speed & Stability
Spotify does not do too well in this category. The app crashed several times due to the same instances. These include: having a track that’s in the process of being synced in the playback field. In fact, the app crashed several times after syncing, and what’s worse is that the synced songs were nowhere to be found in the playback field. This bug can’t be provoked every time, but it does occur.
A force close can also occur when listening to a track and simultaneously trying to include it in a playlist.
We tested the app on several devices (HTC Desire, HTC Sensation and Galaxy Gio) and found the bugs to rear their heads on all of them, though how often is contingent on the device.
The desktop version of Spotify is excellent—great functions and easy to use. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the mobile version. We’ve tested the app for one month and have been billed for EUR 9,99, which is steep to say the least.
Spotify is available from the Play Store and can be used for free for a 30 day trial period.
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