Features & Use
The cell phone market is expanding at breakneck speeds. Whether it’s an OS update or a new device – there’s always some fresh news related to Android, iPhone and the rest of the smartphone family. The new Samsung Galaxy II, a new feature with the next Android update, tests of new devices or yet another smartphone legal battle – these are all examples of fun and exciting news that fill the pages of tech blogs all over the globe.
Besides our own wonderful AndroidPIT Blog & News section – which we all love very dearly – few can deny the importance of Engadget in the tech world. Not only does Engadget keep you up-to-date on the latest Android news, but it also offers more general technical information for cameras, TVs, sound systems, cars as well as interesting reports on the impact of technology on modern life and the environment.
Personally, I visit the site on a daily basis to read all the articles and reports. This works really well with the Android Browser on my 4 inch Nexus S display. The only problem is that the website is so huge, data-wise, that it takes a while to load all the pictures and tabs on smaller screens. It’s also difficult to navigate the site with a slow internet connection or a limited data plan. That’s why there’s a new practical Engadget app. But is it a good alternative to the site?
Well, sort of. After start-up, you select which website you would like to read -- Engadget, Mobile, EngadgetHD or Alt. Engadget. Don’t worry because switching between the sites within the app is a piece of cake. Just click on the little arrow at the top right corner, which opens up a menu with all of the Engadget sites. But which site does what?
- Engadget: This is the most informative site with reports on every possible kind of technology.
- Mobile: This site collects all the reports and articles related to cell phones from the main page.
- EngadgetHD: Here you’ve got TVs, streaming services (Hulu & Netflix), TV accessories and more.
- Alt.Engadget: More general articles and news related to technology (new trends, environment-friendly technology) as well as the latest information on robotics, space technology and other fun stuff.
The articles may be arranged by category, but it’s possible to access virtually all of the articles directly from the main Engadget website.
In the list of latest news, you can easily scroll through and click on any article that you wish to read. Things are not so pretty when you hold your phone horizontally. When the screen adjusts to your phone’s horizontal position, you can’t see most of the article because the tabs at the top and bottom of the screen appear wider. People from one of the world’s leading tech site should know better! In addition to scrolling, you can read an article by tapping the arrows on the side of the screen. There’s also a share button at the bottom of the page (Facebook, Email, Bluetooth).
In addition to the latest news, the bottom navigation tab also includes videos, podcasts, picture galleries and topics. Videos are played in the default Android player, which worked perfectly during our test. Podcasts can be heard using the music player and the picture gallery is also well-done. There are 12 picture galleries available and just click them to start browsing. Slide your finger across the screen to switch between the pictures in the gallery. The topics category is also very useful: you’ll find everything from announcement to gaming, from laptops to wireless and much much more.
The app is especially practical for devices with small screens or people with slow internet connections. There’s another slight problem, though: videos integrated into the text (e.g. flash videos) cannot be played. Otherwise the app is not too shabby, although I would still prefer to use the website with a decent Android device.
Screen & Controls
The app is very easy to use and navigate. Anyone can figure out how to use the app right from the start. Although the scrolling feature works well, you can't zoom in onto the picture. The Engadget app looks great on both the Nexus S and the Galaxy Tab. Unfortunately, they really screwed up with the horzitontal view.
Speed & Stability
All five stars for Engadget! Absolutely brilliant speed!
Engadget can be downloaded at no charge and ad-free from the Android Market.