Review: Next Issue magazine subscription service

next issueNext Issue which intrigued me. It offered a Netflix-esque model where you paid a fixed monthly fee and could access any title on the service. My last tablet magazine experience was Zinio, which I stopped using after some difficulties with the way they automatically renewed subscriptions. Since there was no subscription to deal with here other than a single fixed monthly fee, I wondered if Next Issue would be the app which got me reading magazines again.

And the answer is: no, it is not. With Zinio, I liked the magazines but hated the service. With Next, I liked the service but hated the magazines.

I signed up for a free trial under the $14.99 plan: it included all the magazines in the cheaper $9.99 level, plus People, Us and some other weeklies. I figured since I was in a free trial anyway, I may as well go for the gold! And I must admit, my first impression was very positive. I found the selection comprehensive and found many magazines which interested me. I was eager to start reading.

And…that is where it all fell apart for me. The reading process was just so darned slow. I tried it on both my iPad 2 and my more recently released iPad Mini. The first title I tried was People, which had a lot of video extras (which, by the way, were very well-integrated and slickly done). I thought the slowness might be due to that, so I restarted my iPad, deleted all the People stuff and tried a few different magazines. Same problem. I could go maybe four pages max before the whole thing would go blurry as it tried to reload the next section.

It was a simply unacceptable reading experience. I was prepared for there to be a lag when I first opened a new issue, while it loaded all the content for that one magazine. But I assumed that once the magazine was ready, it would be, well, ready. But it seemed that no matter how much time I gave it to pre-load the issue, it never seemed to be able to keep up with me. I would get a few clear screens, then blurriness, and waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Maybe I need newer hardware. Maybe they need a smoother app. I don’t know. But I do know that I simply can’t read this way. I have cancelled my free trial, and it’s back to the less-slick but super-speedy RSS feeds for me. Sorry, Next Issue. Maybe I will try again in five more years, when both of us have had some time to upgrade our respective ecosystems.

Editor’s Note: I reviewed Next Issue last year and had exactly the same lag issue Joanna experienced. It seems they haven’t improved it yet.

2 Comments on Review: Next Issue magazine subscription service

  1. I have been using Next Issue on both a Nexus 7 (2013) and a Samsung Pro Tab 10 (2014). I have not experienced any of the issues noted above. The app is snappy; the interface clear and intuitive. I like the ability to view not just the current issue of, say, The New Yorker or Consumer Reports, but back issues. In many cases, you can look back a couple of years. And by opening a specific issue, it remains “in your library” permanently, even if you remove it from the device. Issues can also be downloaded into onto the device in the background as released or on demand. Some of the files are large and this can take some time but they do flow in progressively so several pages have arrived as you flip through if it is brand new.

    All this experience is on Android KitKat 4.2 and up. I highly recommend the service over Zinio — assuming the collection of magazines is of interest.

  2. One thing that Zinio has over Next is that Zinio has partnered with a lot of libraries.

    We offer it for free to our users.

    BOB

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.

wordpress analytics