Google Play Magazines (Android) review: Google's often-overlooked magazine reader app

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Google Play Magazines is easy to navigate, and downloaded issues are viewable while offline.

The Bad Sometimes lags when loading pages.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a way to subscribe to and read digital magazines, then Google Play Magazines is a fantastic choice.

8.2 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 10.0
  • Features and Support 8.0
  • Interface 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

Google Play Magazines is probably the least popular of Google's media-centric "Play" apps for Android. The app lets you purchase and read magazines, in high resolution, right on your Android device. Similar to Google Play Books, the Magazines app can save you from having to lug around a stack of printed issues.

Before you get started, head over to Google Play to find some magazines to read. You can either purchase individual issues or subscribe (monthly or yearly) to a title, right from the Google Play store. For the most part, Google Play's prices for magazines are comparable to Zinio's (a popular competitor). Some titles are more expensive on Google Play, while others are cheaper. But the majority of titles available through both services are about the same price.

After you stock up on magazines, you'll have to download them onto your device in order to read them. You can set Google Play Magazines to automatically download purchases and subscriptions without asking, but you should check your local storage space before enabling the feature, as some magazines can exceed 1GB in size. The great thing is that once an issue is downloaded, you can view it even without an active data connection.

Like many of Google's homegrown Android apps, Google Play Magazines leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to visual design. The main dashboard consists of only a flat black screen with the covers of your purchased magazines laid out in rows. To get a slightly more attractive carousel-style interface, switch to View Recent.

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