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Zinio for Android on a Motorola Atrix: Hands-on photos

While reviewing our Motorola Atrix we happened across the Zinio app for Android.
Zinio’s Magazine Newsstand & Reader app is already available for iPhone and iPad and a handful of Android devices as well.

In a nutshell, Zinio gives you access to high resolution scans of print magazines. You can read them in portrait or landscape on your phone, flick left and right through pages and pinch to zoom to get up close.

There’s an option to switch to a text-only mode if you don’t want to be distracted by pretty pictures and outgoing links. It’s all very slick looking and easy to use and worked a treat on our Atrix.

We’ve spent some time playing around with it, downloaded a handful of titles and thought we’d throw up some hands-on pics of it in action.

Bar a few tweaks and changes we’d like to see, it looks pretty much finished to us, suggesting that Zinio will be hitting the Android Market pretty soon. We contacted Motorola to check whether or not that this comes be pre-installed on retail versions of the Atrix; we’re assuming yes.

Until it arrives in the Android Market for other devices, have a look to see how it all works.

The first page you come to when you open up the app for the first time. This is your ‘library’ of  titles. You can choose to ‘stream’ magazines if you’ve got an internet connection or download them for offline reading, for when you’re on the tube or train etc.

The little shopping basket icon, accessed by a tap of the Menu key, takes you to the checkout section of Zinio.

When searching for a magazine you can manually enter the title of what you’re after (Macworld, PC Pro, Home Cinema etc) or choose from a number of lists.

Your search results are displayed in a nice, visually rich virtual news stand. When you’ve found what you’re after or something that catches your eye, simply tap on the magazine cover.

You can buy either single issues or subscriptions directly from within the app. You only need to enter your card details once (Zinio accepts Visa, MasterCard and America Express); after which you’ll be able to buy titles with a single click.

When you open up a magazine in Zinio, you’ve got the option of skipping to a specific article via an old-school contents page…

…or a more visually rich approach, which allows you to thumb through pages manually.

As you can see, Zinio works in both portrait and landscape modes. Double page spreads obviously look better in this orientation. Normally though, we found that on the Atrix it was easier to thumb through individual pages in portrait mode.

As we mentioned earlier, there’s also a ‘text only’ mode which does away with images if you just want a pure text experience. When reading articles in this mode you get the option of two text sizes, small and big.

Currently, you can only enable text mode by going to the first page of an article and selection the option from there; there’s no way to start reading an entire magazine in a text-only format from the get go – a change we’d like to see in future updates.

Also, there’s no ‘night mode’ yet, i.e. white text on a black background. This’d make things easier on the old peepers if you were indulging in some late night reading.

Reading magazines on Zinio is pretty straightforwards, but the app seems keen on helping you out every time you fire it up. Thankfully once you’ve mastered the art of Zinio-ing, you can turn these tips off with the checkbox, or heading into the settings menu.

There’s also a handful of comics available to buy from Zinio as well, not just magazines – we got stuck in to an issue of Tank Girl. Watch out ComiXology.

Lastly, we couldn’t help but show this off – the T’s & C’s of Front Magazine on Zinio. Looks like, despite what Hugh Hefner says, the iPad still isn’t for ‘rude bits.’

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