Nokia Collection Windows Phone app: ESPN review
Continuing our series focusing on the Nokia Collection of Windows Phone apps, we review the ESPN application. Is this the only sports news app you need on your Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 or soon your Nokia Lumia 900? Read on to find out.
Sport – we’re surrounded by it in the UK. The whole nation’s football mad, of course, but when you factor in cricket, rugby, horse racing, snooker… the list goes on. We haven’t even mentioned the 2012 Olympics yet.
The fact that we’re crazy about sport means that the ESPN app Nokia has helped bring to the Windows Phone marketplace should be of interest to a large proportion of UK Nokia Lumia owners. Fortunately, it fully justifies such attention.
You may have encountered ESPN Goals already on the Marketplace. It’s one of our favourite apps, thanks to the way it provides Premier League video highlights quickly and for free. While ESPN has a far wider remit, it retains the same level of polish and attention to detail.
Adopting the Metro UI approach to navigation, booting up ESPN presents you with a horizontally scrolling list of story options. First up there’s the main News tab, which presents you with a simple list of headlines for the latest stories. We applaud the decision to eschew images on this section – it’s all about the stories, and you can browse through the latest news quickly and efficiently here.
Click on a headline and you’ll be taken to a similarly sparse story. No images, no links, no whizzy effects – just white text on a black background. It’s oddly refreshing – if a little lacking in personality.
Back to the main menu, and scrolling right will bring up the Video tab. This is far more visually rich, as you’d expect, with a thumbnail representing all the latest video snippets. The breadth of video content is beyond reproach, with the six most recent contributions covering anything from 25 minute football magazine shows to brief excerpts from on of ESPN’s many news programmes. There’s more video to be found in the individual sections.
The only issue we have with the video in this ESPN app is quality. Video is extremely low resolution and isn’t even widescreen. You can stretch the picture out, but it’s disappointing that the video’s native aspect ratio isn’t that of your Nokia Lumia. Hopefully ESPN will improve this side of things in future updates.
As we say, though, the sheer range of free video material on offer here is a definite plus. This range is something that permeates the app. Alongside the Video section is a Social one, so you can monitor all ESPN’s Tweets – often the best source of breaking news, as you get the meat of stories before they can be processed and written up by a journalist.
Finally, the Sports tab breaks all this content up into six major sports, including football (of course), F1 and the US NBA. Go into each one and it’s not just a glorified filter for stories relevant to those sports – far more care and attention has gone into them than that. You’ll also get results and tables, and clicking on individual participants in the latter will take you to a form guide on the relavant ESPN website.
Comprehensive really is the word here. Sure, more could be done to expand the number of featured sports, and it would be ideal if all of the deeper information was browsable through the app rather than simply linking to a website. Video content too needs to be improved when it comes to the quality of the files. But as an all-round sports news app, ESPN is right at the top of the table.