App Review: Associated Press
Many of us prefer to get our daily dose of news on our mobile phones these days. We just do not have the time to sit and enjoy the morning paper. And whenever we are in front of a laptop or a desktop, we are either working or enjoying something entertaining. News falls into none of those categories, and hence gets relegated to just those things that we do on-the-move, like on trains, in buses, or on the back seat of a car. Sure, not everybody is the same, but we all tend to check for news on our mobile phone more than we check on television or a computer. Naturally, it has become absolutely crucial for new agencies to have their own apps. Associated Press certainly wasn’t going to be left behind. Associated Press has an excellent reputation as a source of news, and is usually among the first ones to break major news. So, its app is a very useful tool for those hungry for the latest news. Here’s a thorough review of the app.
The layout of the app is remarkably simple and easy to navigate. The home page of the app features Top News by default. Each piece of news is displayed in the form of strips. Each strip features a long headline, which is usually accompanied by a photo. Clicking on the strip opens up the respective news item, which the user can then read. At the top of the page is a search button, which can be used to find and browse through any specific news.
On the left, there is an Options button. You can click on it to quickly access the left-hand sliding menu. The menu features different categories of news, such as business, sports, technology, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, health and science, and so on. In addition to news categories, there are options for choosing your region, so that the app can display news specific to your region. In the same menu, you can add another category, and also check for latest press releases. When you select a menu option, the rest of the options appear as tabs at the top, which you can click and access quickly. When the menu is open, a Settings button is provided at the top, which can be accessed to make any changes to the app.
The app provides a good number of customizations. Many of these are designed to be utilitarian, rather than fancy. For instance, you can change the font size to suit your preference. However, instead of providing multiple choices for font, the app only allows the users three font options. The smallest is too small, and the largest is uncomfortably large. In effect, only the mid-size font can be used. That being said, the app allows you to choose whether you wish to receive only American news, or international news as well. If you choose international news, you will get options in the Left-Hand Sliding menu to access news from different continents.
If you are running on network data, and do not wish to waste your data on downloading photos, then you can disable the Photos option in the settings. Now, you will be receiving only text news, without any photographs. When you are back on Wi-Fi, you can always enable the photos again. Further, you can turn off the notifications of latest news from the app, or enable it. If you do enable it, you can activate ‘Quiet Time’ during which you will not be getting any notifications, such as during your normal sleeping hours. Although there are not many customization options, the simple approach makes it easy to use.
The app is very light to use. Even a below mid-range smartphone can run the app smoothly. The interface is fluid, and the app exhibits no lags on most smartphones. Each news article comes with a Share button and a Bookmark. The bookmark allows you to tag the new article to the home page. Clicking on the Share button throws up all the sharing options available to you depending on which apps you have. If you have the common sharing apps like Whatsapp, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and so on. Some of these sharing options appear even when you have not downloaded those apps.
The Associated Press app is a very robust app, and works with amazing speed. It is very easy to use, and is not loaded with unnecessary features that slow the app, and make for a bad experience. Instead, only necessary features are retained, which makes it a pleasurable experience to use the app. Also, the app does manage to bring breaking news most of the time, almost at the same time as other networks. Overall, it is quite a handy app.