BreakingModern — In all probability, if you’re reading this review, you’ve at the very least heard of Netflix. In fact, I’d be willing to say it is such a cultural phenomenon that even your grandparents have probably heard of Netflix. The video streaming service is talked about almost everywhere and by just about everyone it seems. Video streaming high quality content to your mobile device is just an app download away.
The Netflix service is available on just about every device with a screen, including your smartphone. I am reviewing the Android version of the mobile Netflix app, but there is a versions available for Apple iOS as well. Of course the service is also available on PCs, Macs, Smart TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and even game consoles.
The mobile Android app itself is free, but you’ll have to have a Netflix subscription before it streams any television show or movie to your device. If you start a new subscription, you can get free access to the service for a month before having to pony-up the minimum $7.99 a month.
There’s one thing to note about the Netflix app on Android — it requires a relatively new mobile device. For example, my Galaxy S smartphone is too old to run the app. The Android version requirements vary with the device being used, so you’ll have to consult Google Play to see if your device qualifies.
The way the mobile app works is consistent with the way Netflix works on a PC, Roku or any other device. The top of the screen will highlight a featured television show or movie, typically it will be one of Netflix’s exclusives. Orange is the New Black is a prime example.
When you log in, you will be asked to establish and/or choose your profile. My brother and I each have a profile because he tends to watch conspiracy theory “documentaries” and I don’t want those suggested movies in my profile. Establishing profiles for the various members of the household can really help personalize the Netflix service for everyone. Kids get kid-friendly suggestions and adults get adult-friendly suggestions.
As you scroll down from the top of the page you start to see suggestions based on the current profile. I like thrillers so the Netflix algorithms make suggestions based on that preference. I have seen The Conversation several times, and consider it a great movie. But it has been a long time since the last viewing, so that is actually a very good suggestion by Netflix.
The mobile Netflix app works great in general, but there are a few things you should consider before you start streaming video to your smartphone for hours at a time. Streaming is a high-bandwidth activity, so if you have a limited data plan you are likely to blow past those limits quickly. Getting a huge bill from your carrier next month could be a very unpleasant experience.
In addition, because of the high bandwidth requirements, there may be occasions where the streaming transmission is slowed or interrupted, especially if you are receiving the content via cellular protocols like 3G, 4G or LTE. While those wireless protocols may be fast for mobile devices, they are nowhere near as fast as Wi-Fi.
However, with those caveats in mind, the Netflix mobile app is practically a must-have, standard-issue app for your smartphone or tablet. For many of us, Netflix and other streaming services are the way we watch television and movies now. We have to have the app to make that possible.
All Screenshots: Mark Kaelin