If you didn’t know you needed a new application for watching videos on your iOS device, fear not! You are not alone. Between Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube—and Daily Motion, and every other website devoted to video content that’s put out an app—it seems like that part of the market should be saturated by now. After all, how many ways do you need to be able to access the same Funny or Die clips or videos from E! Online? Well, Squrl, the latest video app to test its mettle in the App Store, seems to think you could use another option.
This reviewer was certainly skeptical of the app which boasted that it would allow users to “Find and Watch YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu videos.” After all, we’ve been finding and watching YouTube videos just fine so far, and there’s even a dedicated app for Netflix—and one for Hulu too! And since there’s only so much free video content to go around, how many different ways do we need to watch the latest Team Coco skit?
Squrl iPhone App Review
Squrl does pretty much everything those other video applications do, but it does a few of those things better. Time will tell if Squrl actually ends up stealing any of YouTube’s established market, but users looking for a change of pace might enjoy Squrl’s simple interface, curated content, and high-definition streaming video.
Squrl’s interface succeeds in a lot of key areas. For one, you can browse other videos pretty easily while viewing a clip, which is a welcome feature. Furthermore, you can browse videos in other content areas or Channels while viewing your clip, no longer restricting users to related videos or videos from the same content channel.
The touch controls work well and do a good job letting you navigate through videos without getting lost in the sea of content. Tap a video and it moves to the top of the page and starts to play. Tap it again and it enters full-screen mode. The Play/Pause button, timeline, and Previous and Next video buttons are all fairly large and easy to see and touch. The video area is kept clear of extra buttons like Share and Like, which are conveniently located above the frame and out of the way.
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For users who want a little more freedom, Squrl’s organized and curated content channels might seem restrictive, but when dealing with hundreds of clips from dozens of content providers, the logical organization of the videos into content areas that are all well-labeled and easy to search and navigate is welcome. Squrl seems dedicated to content generated by media outlets and not general users. While you won’t find nearly as many videos of cats in compromising situations, what you will find are well-edited, professional clips from the Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS and other outlets like that. Of course, there are plenty of cat videos if you want to search for them, so don’t worry.
Most of the content streams in HD, and there is no option to choose which stream you want. While this can be a real pain if you’re using the application on a slow connection, if you have decent bandwidth, watching in high definition is a real joy, especially on the iPad where lower-resolution videos can look particularly poor.
All in all, while Squrl may seem redundant among the multitude of choices for video players on iOS Sevices, its strong interface design, curated content, and wide range of high-definition content are certain to win over users who welcome a change from YouTube and Hulu’s more popular apps.