App of the day: Rdio review (Android)

Have you listened to the radio recently? It's dreadful. The reason it's dreadful is that it's filled with annoying adverts that go on forever, and is packed with mindless idiots droning on as if their voices are the only ones that matter. So what options do we have? Well, thankfully, in the era of music streaming, you can pretty much listen to any song you fancy, with no one to introduce it, talk over the end and then force you to listen to Justin Bieber.

Rdio is one such streaming music service, and we've covered it before, but because its Android app is so good, it bears mentioning here, in the place where we salute the apps we most like. So, it should stand to reason that you'll need either a Rdio trial, or full subscription to make the most of this free app.

Rdio

Format
Android
Price
Free (requires subscription or free trial)
Where
Google Play

So what is it we like about the Rdio app? Well, it's one of the nicest looking Android apps we've seen. When you're playing music, there's a massive bit of album art, which is always nice to see. But if you want to see the album tracklist, simply scroll down and it's there for you to select a different track, or see what's playing. This is nice and easy, and means you don't have to mess about loads to get to a different song.

The play controls are also handy, and they sit on screen most of the time. That means if you need to stop music, it's not difficult to do so. Even better though, there's a controller that sits in the notifications area of Android and allows you to control music, and get back to the Rdio app quickly.

As with all such services, you can download music to your phone for offline listening. And this is where we found the only major problem with it, which is that while you can alter the music save position, it's far from easy. There's a whole procedure you have to follow, and it's more involved than most casual users would care to be involved with. On the plus side, the Rdio app should detect an SD card, and automatically store music there.

As with most streaming apps, you can select better-quality music when you're on Wi-Fi if you choose, or you can say "to hell with data caps" and have the good stuff even when you're on 3G. We like that, and we relish the option to make the decision ourselves.

There's also a decent amount of potential here for playlist curation. Here, Spotify reigns supreme, but Rdio has similar functionality, and that's good becuase it allows for the replacement of the ever-tedious radio DJ. If you don't know what you want to listen to, then you can let the app help you, although we aren't sure if it's quite there yet with music discovery.

We think that Rdio is a good service with a slick app, and we enjoy using it. Perhaps the total amount of music and track choice might not be as good as some - we think it's pretty good though - but the functionality is up there with the best. So it's at least worth having a trial and seeing what you think.