Squrl for iOS review: A one-stop hub for videos from around the Web

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.5
  • Installation and Setup: 10.0
  • Features and Support: 8.0
  • Interface: 9.0
  • Performance: 9.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Squrl lets you search many of the Web's most popular video sites. It also serves up video recommendations, and has an interface that's both simple and attractive.

The Bad A Home button and a way to bookmark favorite channels would be nice.

The Bottom Line Rather than jumping around the Web to watch videos, download the beautifully designed Squrl, and use it as your one-stop video hub.

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Squrl is a streaming-video player that lets you search and browse many of the Web's most popular video services, all from one place. The main dashboard offers a number of ways to quickly find interesting videos from around the Web, and even has a powerful engine for serving personalized recommendations. What's more, Squrl didn't degrade the video quality from its original sources, and playback seemed to be smooth without any glitches or freezes.

While it's not required, we suggest connecting Squrl with your various social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Netflix, in order to get the most out of the app. By doing so, you essentially open up other channels that Squrl can sift through, which ultimately means more video access for you. Also, once you're connected, the app can take these sources into consideration when it comes up with recommendations for you to watch. Squrl looks at not only the content that you've consumed, but also what your connections on Facebook and Twitter have liked or shared, which make it a great source for good video recommendations.

When you first boot up Squrl, the thing you'll notice is its beautiful interface. The ample white space, sans-serif type, and single-color icons make for a refreshingly minimalist visual experience. Video thumbnails are sharply rendered, and navigating content is as easy as swiping vertically and horizontally. The global Search and Back buttons up top are nice touches, but there's one thing missing: a Home button. Without one, backing out of a deep browsing session can get tedious and involve several taps. That said, even without the Home button, we still enjoy zipping around Squrl's many different pages.

Of course, the best thing about Squrl is its wealth of content. It pulls from many of the most popular sources like Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, CollegeHumor, CNN, ESPN, and more. The Home screen lets you jump straight to recommended items, trending items, and featured items, and it lets you keep track of items you've watched, liked, or added to your queue. And then there's the all-important Channels screen. From here, you can see videos organized into categories, like Comedy, Entertainment, Music, and News, as well as less predictable channels like Cool Blogs, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also customize channels, so that you see videos only from the sources that you like. Whatever your interests are, there's a good chance Squrl has you covered. Squrl even includes a hand-curated selection of Live channels from sources like HuffPost Live, Al Jazeera, and the Home Shopping Network.

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Where to Buy

Squrl (iOS)

Part Number: id398256703

Free

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Entertainment
    Video and screencasting
  • Compatibility iOS
About The Author

Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.

About The Author

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.