PressReader, Zinio get dazzling Retina makeovers

Reading newspapers and magazines on your new iPad just got a whole lot prettier.

Want to see just how sharp PressReader looks on a new iPad? Click for a full-size peek.
Want to see just how sharp PressReader looks on a new iPad? Click for a full-size peek. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

When it comes to consuming newspapers on an iPad, I've long preferred PressReader to individual newspaper apps (like, say, USA Today and my local Detroit Free Press). With the latter, I'm just sifting through headlines. But PressReader makes me feel like I'm actually "reading the paper," mostly because it provides a picture-perfect digital reproduction of the real thing.

Now it's letter-perfect as well. PressReader 3.1 has been optimized for Retina displays, meaning newspapers viewed on the new iPad look nothing short of dazzling.

In case you're not familiar with it, the app lets you subscribe to the digital editions of more than 2,000 national and international newspapers -- great for news junkies and folks who want to keep up on what's happening back home.

Before this update, a full-page view of any given paper looked nice, but you couldn't really read a story without zooming in on it (or tapping to engage PressReader's slick SmartFlow view). But thanks to Retina-optimized goodness, text looks so crisp that you can easily read without zooming. (OK, maybe not easily -- text is still pretty small at that level -- but it's just so sharp.)

Much as I like tabletized newspapers, I like magazines even better. So I'm totally stoked about the newly updated Zinio, which has also been endowed with Retina support.

Zinio provides access to mags that don't have their own standalone app editions (and some that do), including titles like Car & Driver, Macworld, Men's Health, and Newsweek.

Like PressReader, Zinio provides full-page scans of the source material. And, like PressReader, a Retina-optimized Zinio is a much improved Zinio. A full-page Esquire article on Sofia Vergara, for example, looks sharp enough to read without zooming (though, let's face it, there's going to be some zooming in a story involving Sofia Vergara -- there are pictures, after all).

I do find it irksome that there's no accommodation for print subscribers of any given magazine. Even if I already get the dead-tree edition of, say, Men's Health, I'm still on the hook for $29.99 annually (or $4.99 per issue) if I want its digital counterpart. Maybe those are the publishers' rules, but that's one reason I'm partial to the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Time, and Wired -- all of which offer standalone app versions of their magazines that are free for subscribers.

However, none of those periodicals are Retina-optimized -- yet -- meaning they don't look anywhere near as good as the stuff you get from Zinio.

And there are sample articles you can read without subscribing to anything, so if you have a new iPad and you're curious, Zinio is definitely worth a look. Good way to show off that pricey-but-impressive screen.

Looking for more Retina-optimized apps? Check out Jason Parker's "11 apps that will look great on the new iPad." And, of course, if you've found any especially good show-off apps, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

 

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