Ed. note: This review originally was published in May 2014. We're floating it back up amid the news that Playboy's print magazine is doing away with its nude photos.
In another life, some 15 years ago, I had a subscription to Playboy. As in the magazine. I'd returned home from the University of Florida, moved out of my parents' house and in with a few friends and, well, why not. I was a bachelor in my early 20s. It was time to do something (else) Mom and Dad (well, Mom, certainly) wouldn't approve of.
A couple things I remember from that era:
- The nudie pics all sort of looked the same. No real long-term gratification there, ya know, at least when it came to the nameless, airbrushed pictures. (Known celebrities was another matter, though. I'll never forget that first magazine that arrived, with Brooke Burke, and we'll never let the one roommate live down hoarding the issue with Belinda Carlisle, who was north of 40 when she posed — twice our age.)
- Never mind the timeless "I read Playboy for the articles" line — there truly was (and continues to be) some fantastic writing in there.
I'm married now. (To a woman 6 years older than me and who's also north of 40, which is just one reason why I'm smiling as I'm writing this, thinking back to that Belinda Carlisle issue. But I digress.) I have two daughters. That old stash of Playboys has long since been tossed out. (If I remember correctly, my friends and I had some sort of ceremony. Perhaps even a viking funeral pyre. But we matured.)
And now we have an official Playboy app on Android.
It's a softer side of the seminal men's magazine
Let's just get this out of the way: You'll not find any real nudity in this app. Frankly, it's not too much beyond what you might get from any one of those cheesy bro magazines that gained popularity in the late 1990s. That explains how the app's available in Google Play. If you're looking for out and out porn, look elsewhere.
Here's what you do get: An attractive app with easy navigation (though it relies a little too much on the back button for my taste) that serves up a tease of the girls (who sooner rather than later will end up being young enough to be my kid — a thought I'll continue to shove aside for as long as possible) alongside a good bit of that excellent written content.
The video splash screen is a nice touch, leading you in to a simple menu system. Scroll through "Latest" (in which you'll find more words, and some pictures — which is updated daily and includes features from Me in My Place, which we've featured here before. "The Good Life" brings more art and food and culture into the mix. "The Articles" is ... wait for it ... articles from the current month's issue. "Girls" is a smattering of women in various NSFW but also SFGP (that'd be safe for Google Play, as in nothing that you couldn't show on cable TV) undress.
And "The Vault" — marked by an old-school pic of Hef himself — is where you'll find your saved content. That is, you'll find content from previous months that you can unlock for $1.99 each via an in-app purchase (which you also get to through The Vault), and any stories that you've bookmarked. You can download individual pictures as well, but they end up in your storage file structure (sdcard>pictures>playboy) at a smartphone-standard resolution.
If you've never actually read Playboy, now's your chance
So Playboy with no nudity? What good is that? Depends on what your expectations are, I suppose. For me, it's access to the articles in a more acceptable manner (as in not in a web browser, and without magazines laying around to confuse my daughters). The price isn't horrible either — the app is free, and subscriptions run $1.99 a month, or $11.99 if you do a year at a time. And it's done right — all through Google Play. No having to enter your information somewhere else.
And at this stage of my life, that's good enough.