APP OF THE DAY: Napster review (Android)

We've given Napster our coveted App of the Day award before, but not in its Android version, and not since it was all change at the firm, and it merged into Rhapsody by its owner, US tech giant Best Buy.

It's worth noting too, that since the switch to being Rhapsody, Napster has changed significantly since the last time we looked at it. Its music library is now smaller than Spotify's at 18 million - Spotify claims 20 million, although it's hard to tell how many of those are either karaoke versions, cheap covers or Justin Bieber tracks and therefore not worthy of counting.

Napster

Format
Android
Price
Free
Where
Google Play

The first thing we noticed was that the app is a lot more responsive than the version we've used on Android in the past - we're talking a couple of years ago here. When you load it for the first time, you're presented with a simple screen that allows you to log in. Once done, you're on the main page with recommendations of what to listen to. There was some One Direction here, but no Katy Perry, strange, perhaps Napster wasn't told we'd be using the service.

A quick search and we found both Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen. We suspect that search for Pink would have been a rip-roaring success too. We couldn't think of any tracks that weren't on the service, but there almost certainly are some artists who have opted not to be contained within the walls of the Napster library. Their loss.

You can download tracks too, should you be taking a trip somewhere that downloading via Wi-FI isn't practical, or if you're going on a plane. It's quick to get tracks too, so last-minute additions can be made just before you leave for the airport. If you don't need or want to download, then you can still build playlists

If you're not sure what you want to listen to, then there's always Napster's Artist radio option. Like all such services, just hit the name of an artist you like, and press the radio button and let Napster find similar tracks and artists for you. Groovy.

With sound quality we used to have major issues with Napster. However, based on the sample tracks we listened to for this test, we're very happy now. There's an HQ download option for the app, so you need to make sure that's selected to get the best out of the service, but the quality is easily as good as Spotify.

To use the mobile app, you'll need to subscribe to Napster's £10 a month package, there is a £5 version, but you can't use it on phones and it's limited to single-room audio systems and computers, useless for App of the Day! Still, at that price it matches nicely with Spotify, and the service and app are every bit as good. So now you have a choice, and that's grand.