Winamp for Android review: Adequate, not outstanding
Winamp for Android is a serviceable music player, but it doesn't offer any head-turning bells or whistles.
Some may remember the name Winamp from the late '90s, back when AOL chat rooms and 56K modems were all the rage. Well today, the Nullsoft-made media player lives on, and it is now available for use on Android devices, as well as on Windows and Mac machines. Of course, it has since been updated.
Winamp for Android offers an adequate, though not particularly outstanding, alternative to the stock music player on your mobile device. It is outfitted with standard music playback controls, including Shuffle and Repeat, and it lets you create playlists with your favorite tracks. Just as many other players do, Winamp lets you browse your music by Artist, Album, Genre, or Song Title, and it can generate links to artists' bios, related news, discographies, and other information.
Visually, Winamp is drab and unimpressive, but when it comes to playback, it is reliable and offers sufficiently crisp sound quality.
One thing that's unique about the Winamp music player is its integrated Shoutcast Radio, which lets you listen to Internet radio stations streaming live. Compared with dedicated streaming radio apps like iHeartRadio and TuneInRadio, Winamp offers few stations to choose from. However, the feature is still a nice addition that presents alternative listening options.
One of Winamp's biggest features is its Wi-Fi sync, which makes it possible to push content from your PC (with Winamp installed) to your Android device, using a common Wi-Fi connection. I found the process of syncing music between PC and mobile device to be simple to figure out, but not always reliable. On more than one occasion, the process froze due to an interrupted connection. This wouldn't have been so bad, if the sync had resumed automatically upon reconnecting, but unfortunately, Winamp did no such thing. This made syncing a tedious process. Also, when transferring individual albums, I saw that several incomplete tracks had made their way onto my mobile device. When I tried to resend the albums, bunches of duplicate files were created.
While it did have trouble syncing files with my PC, Winamp did well with songs that were already locally stored on my Android device. It offered a simple navigation scheme, and I liked that it incorporated thumbnails of album art into menus.
It's worth noting that there are a few different ways to add premium features to Winamp via in-app purchases. For $2.99, you can add lyrics. Similar to SoundHound's feature, this Winamp add-on scrolls through lyrics in real time, as the song is playing. The album washer feature costs $3.99 and is meant to keep your collection whole by updating tags and adding missing album artwork. Finally, the Winamp Pro bundle costs $4.99 and gives you a handful of new features including a 10-band graphic equalizer and crossfading and gapless playback capabilities.
In sum, Winamp is a solid, albeit unattractive app that is just fine for basic music playback. It has Shoutcast radio built in, which is nice, and a Wi-Fi sync feature that would be a huge selling point if it were better designed and more reliable. Other than these, it doesn't really have any bells or whistles to speak of.