The Economist is one of the most popular and respected magazines when it comes to international relations and global politics. That’s why it’s a shame it took so long to get an official app for the Android platform. Nevertheless, it's here for non-Honeycomb devices at least, and it’s pretty good.
First thing’s first: you need to have a subscription to The Economist to use this app. You will be able to download it without one, but it will be pretty useless.
When you first open the app, you'll see the latest issue's front cover. You can also swipe left for back issues if you would like. In order to read the issue, you’ll have to download it to your device, which can be done automatically or manually. In the settings, you can choose whether the auto-download feature will do so on 3G or WiFi-only. When you click the issue manually, it will start downloading instantly, so data conscious users be wary. You can always cancel it if you accidentally start it over 3G and don't want to do so.Once the download is complete, click on the issue to view the Contents page, which gives you quick access to any section you want.
The actual text and content pages are constructed well with a good default font size (that can be adjusted) and a Night and Day setting to appease different preferences. Day is on by default which means the pages will have a white back with black text. Turning the Night setting on turns the page black and the font white to make it easier on your eyes.
Navigating the issue is straightforward. When you’re on a specific page, rather than having to go back to the table of contents, you can swipe left or right to get to the previous or next article.
In the settings, there is also an option to lock the orientation mode if you have a distinct preference.
There is a widget that comes with the app that displays the latest issue as well as prior issues. You can quickly swipe around to find the one that you prefer and once clicked on, it will open the app.
As many readers of The Economist know, with a subscription, you also get access to the full audio edition of the issue. The app provides the complete audio so if you prefer to listen during a commute you have that option. You can download the entire magazine or choose different sections and even create a playlist. The audio download, unlike the text, is only available if you’re on a WiFi connection.
All in all, The Economist is a good app from the popular magazine. It provides a very usable and pleasant experience to read it on the go. For any fan that has a phone or non-Honeycomb tablet I would highly recommend it. Hopefully the Honeycomb version we saw back in February is released sooner rather than later.
Please find more pictures after the break as well as links to the app.