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YouTube for Android review: The best way to watch YouTube on the go

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The Good YouTube for Android has a clean, mostly white interface that matches the design of Google's other mobile products. Stable performance and picture-in-picture are among its best attributes.

The Bad A smaller grid view for browsing videos would be nice. Also, continued playback even while outside of the YouTube app would allow for true multitasking.

The Bottom Line With its solid performance, beautiful design, and nifty picture-in-picture, it's hard to argue that there's a better way to watch YouTube videos on your mobile device.

Free

9.4 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 9
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 10

Review Sections

If you want to watch YouTube videos from your Android device, there's really only one way to go: the official YouTube app by Google. You can try other third-party apps or even the mobile YouTube site, but none of them compares to the official app's feature set and stability. Heck, in some ways YouTube for Android's mobile-specific functionality even surpasses the full desktop site.

As expected, the YouTube Android app is styled with the minimalist, card-based theme of Google's other mobile products, like Google+ and Google Now. Thumbnail images are wide, and most of the interface is skinned in white and muted gray, save for the high-contrast menu bar on the left. Details like the pinned searchbar up top, HD-quality content (when available), and smooth scrolling throughout give the app a polished feel that makes it a pleasure to use. It's even optimized for tablets, giving you even more screen real estate to watch and search.

Finding videos
With YouTube's extensive navigation bar, there are plenty of ways to find content on the video site. To start, there's the What to watch page, which offers a mix of recommended videos and new content posted by your channel subscriptions. Beyond that, you can see just your Subscriptions, just your Recommendations, videos that are Trending, and any Live programming that might be playing at the moment. Playlists and Favorites are, of course, easily accessible from the menu bar. And lastly, you can jump directly to any of YouTube's categories, so you can browse videos related to Film, Gaming, Comedy, and so on.

As a whole, the browsing and search experience here is very much on par with the Web site. However, I would have appreciated a smaller grid view, which would allow me to browse more videos on one screen.

Watching videos
Watching videos on the YouTube app is dead-simple if you're at all familiar with the video site (and I'm sure you are). You can read or leave comments below the video, or simply give a video a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. One detail that's really nice is the way the app keeps the video pinned to the top of the screen in portrait mode. This allows you to scroll through an endless list of comments while keeping your eye on what everyone is chirping about.

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With the YouTube's picture-in-picture mode, you can browse other content while watching. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

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