Weekly Web App Review: PocketVidz

You know what the iPhone popularized? Not just iCloning. Not just multi-touch. Not just visual voicemail. What I’m talking about is watching video on your mobile device. Youtube was integrated into the iPhone from the beginning and well, most other mobile users were jealous.

But the iPhone has so much more video potential than just Youtube. As popular as Youtube is, there are other video sites out there. Take the webapp PocketVidz for example, they have thousands of videos available for your iPhone, sized and optimized for your viewing pleasure. What is the selection like? Should you try it out?

Read on for the rest of the review!

Design/Interface

PocketVidz is currently in beta for the iPhone which basically means it isn’t a finished product yet. And it shows. The interface of the program is not at all polished, offering simple links for their categories. The simplicity of the design kind of limits what it offers but at the same time categories for videos is a great way to start.

After selecting a category the next page shows certain ‘broadcast networks’, if you will. The videos that populate PocketVidz are mostly vodcasts, so if you’re looking for the latest music video, you’re out of luck. You select which vodcast series you wish to watch and tap it for a short description and a listing of the latest episode. There is also a link at the bottom of the screen for all videos from this vodcast.

Usability

Understanding that PocketVidz is mostly a vodcast provider should temper your expectations. After I realized this, I found the video selection to be fair. Though there are only so many vodcast providers listed, there are plenty of back episodes for you to catch up on. But remember, the project is currently in beta so there are going to be videos that aren’t currently available for the iPhone.

Over Wi-Fi, the videos load quick and snappy and the quality of the videos seemed to be on par with what Youtube currently offers (sorry I couldn't screenshot a video). Loading the videos on EDGE was expectedly slow. There is also an option to download the videos as well which means you can step away from the typically iTunes-only videos of the iPhone and watch PocketVidz' videos at your leisure.

The best feature of PocketVidz is the seamless way it loads videos onto your iPhone. Sure the layout of the whole web app is clunky and dated-looking, but when clicking the play button it effortlessly transitions into the video player. Also, unlike Youtube, you can watch videos in portrait mode which is of course smaller, or watch it in landscape (the recommended way).

Overall, the web app is still in its beginning stages. Its easy to use because there isn’t much flair to it and I was watching videos in a matter of seconds over Wi-Fi.

Criticism

I can deal with the video selection, no video app is going to offer more selection than Youtube so I think its smart that PocketVidz is focusing on vodcasts for your viewing pleasure. What I can’t deal with is the bland approach to design and overly basic layout. Perhaps this is the fault of just being a web app but PocketVidz just doesn’t have the look and feel of being an iPhone program and doesn’t do Safari justice.

PocketVidz claims that the experience is optimized for iPhone users and though the videos are sized correctly, the interface is clearly not. In order to have your application stand out among the rest of the more polished apps available, PocketVidz will certainly need to improve their layout. It functions fine, but man, it doesn't feel like using an iPhone at all.

Final Thoughts

I do see a future in PocketVidz and apps like them because it offers an alternative to the integrated Youtube program in the iPhone. I like the categorization of the videos because sometimes relying on search and ‘most popular’ isn’t enough. I also found watching the videos to be a joy, they were quick, good enough quality, and launched effortlessly.

But PocketVidz definitely needs to step it up in design. The program is functional, to be sure, but it just lacks a certain amount of oomph to it. Put it this way, the program looks like it was made for smartphones with bad screen resolution and a trackball. And in the iPhone world of polished and multi-touch, PocketVidz current design layout just doesn’t cut it.

PROS

  • Quick load times over WiFi
  • Offers Categories and Channels to choose from
  • Video launches effortlessly
  • Serviceable Alternative to Youtube

CONS

  • Poor, ‘rest-of-the-smartphone-world’ design
  • Not all videos are available

Final Rating: 3/5

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Weekly Web App Review: PocketVidz

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