Fri, 11 Sep 2009 Spotify for iPhone review
iTunes' biggest rival arrives on the iPhone. Spotify has muscled in on Apple's home turf, but does it live up to the hype? We investigate Spotify on the iPhone
- Manufacturer: Spotify
- Manufacturer: Spotify
- Pros: Access to 3.8million tracks on your iPhone; free up space by streaming instead of storing music; fantastic Offline Mode for storing tracks when no connection available
- Cons: Requires you to sign up for Spotify Premium (£10 per month); adding albums as playlists is clumsy; lacks some of Spotify's browsing features
- Min specs: iPhone running 3.1 software of later required
- Price: Free (£10 per month Spotify Premium account required)
- Star rating:
Looking at the Spotify for iPhone app
So you've downloaded Spotify and signed up as a Premium member. What can you expect?
If you've been using Spotify for Desktop you'll instantly be greeted with your Playlists menu, and a list of any playlists you've saved on the desktop application. Clicking on one of the playlists scrolls to the list of tracks, and clicking on a track starts to play it along with full-screen artwork, and sliders and shuffle controls that are very close to the iPhone's iPod application.
The slider at the bottom controls the playback position, rather than the volume. This is confusing for people used to the iPod app on the iPhone
There are a number of annoying differences, though, for example, the slider at the bottom of the screen is a shuffle control rather than the iPod's volume slider.
But there are neat touches. You can move between tracks in a playlist by sliding the main image left and right (doing this moves back to the list of tracks on the iPhone’s iPod app).
As with the iPod application, tapping the artwork overlays a second set of controls. On Spotify these are a volume slider, Shuffle, and Repeat buttons, plus a link to the album that the song appears on, a link to the band that is playing, and an Add To Playlist button. One niggle is that the volume slider is independent of the main volume of the iPhone. We found it easier just to set a level in Spotify and then use the iPhone's volume controls on the left of the device to adjust the sound settings.
Of course, Spotify’s key draw isn’t just the playlists: it’s also the ability to search those 3.8 million tracks for new music. At the bottom of the screen are three buttons: Playlists, Search and more. Clicking Search takes you to a search window with a text box and three entry tabs: Tracks, Albums, and Artists. Actually, you can search either category just as you do in the desktop app: type Prince into the Tracks tab and you'll get tracks by Prince, not tracks with Prince in the title. But the tabs do help to narrow down a search.
NEXT: The trouble with playlists