“Several missed opportunities here but, as on TV, C4 News gives excellent perspective on in-depth stories.”Free
Channel 4 News has a reputation for hard-hitting analysis and it’s this ethos and overall authority that pervades through this app. But there is a little issue with the app’s raison d'être. After all, while there is a two-page horizontally scrolled grid on the main page of the iPad app (represented as a rowed view on the iPhone), it’s not a comprehensive selection of news. And, while there are categories (UK, World, Politics, Business, Sci/tech and Culture), it’s nowhere near as complete as, say, the BBC News app. It’s a hybrid of the Sky News and BBC News apps in a way – the content is easier to pick out than with the rather confusing Sky News app, but it’s not as flushed with things to read as BBC News or, for that matter, a newspaper app such as The Guardian.
In short, for a news app, it’s a little lacking in terms of news. This shouldn’t really be a surprise given the more highbrow remit of C4 News, but it does mean that it’s virtually impossible to use the app as a your main news source. It does, however, have an interesting way of keeping you up to date – every time you load the app it plays you, by default, the audio of a bulletin from Channel 4. This is quite useful the first time you open the app, but it quickly becomes irritating – you should be able to turn it off in the app’s settings.
Where the Channel 4 News app does score a home run is with its analysis. There are blogs from key presenters (which are adapted from the website but still good to see), special reports (great – plenty of content) and photo galleries (not great – just two appeared). Another content problem is that the app promises that you can watch the last seven days of C4 News, but instead we only got a single lunchtime bulletin.
There are a few little usability issues, for example when filling in the sign-up form, you need to hide the iPad keyboard to actually move on from the screen, and moving between the different sections of content is a little sluggish in the iPad app. Some special reports pages can also throw you over to a standard web browser version of the content, which still displays in the app. The iPhone app is much more standard, with navigation along the bottom of the screen and logical paths.
Most disappointing is that there is relatively little media content in the app – far less than the competing news apps and of poorer quality. Still, where appropriate, video reports are included in stories and they are able to be made fullscreen