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Hands-On Review: Spotify Premium

Spotify on Your Android and iOS Devices

Naturally, the iOS and Android apps don't share the same amount of digital real estate as seen with the desktop client. Both are cleanly compact and designed to match their particular OS theme: iOS sports an unattractive monochrome color scheme and the Android version features greens and grays. Both feature Playlists, Search, What's New and Setting tabs, but the Android app sports a cool additional sliding drawer that allows the user to pull up or tuck away whatever is currently playing. The iOS version does this by offering a Now Playing button on the top right corner of the screen.

As with the desktop client, you can search for music, highlight the resulting tracks or albums with a star, make playlists and so on. Users can also enable offline mode for listening to music when there's no Internet connection available (or you simply don't want to bother with streaming), and can even choose between 96 kbit/s or 160 kbit/s streaming. Users can also toggle the apps to sync music over Wi-fi, 3G or both.

Outside the color schemes, the biggest difference between the iOS and Android apps is the way the What's New panel is designed. On the iOS version, there's one page featuring the New Releases section at the top, the Top Tracks section in the middle, and the Spotify News Feed at the bottom. Users simply scroll through the New Releases and Top Tracks by swiping a finger from left to right.

On the Android version, the page is split into three tabs. The first tab shows What's New by displaying smaller album/single icons than the iOS version, but uses larger text. The same holds true for the Top Tracks tab and the Feed tab. Users naturally scroll up and down by swiping a finger vertically.

Whether you're using the mobile apps or the desktop client, Spotify has an enormous library. But like most music subscription services on the market, its not perfect and complete – many artists and publishers just don't want you streaming their music to any device without purchasing the media up-front. As previously mentioned, you can see what the entire world is listening to, but that doesn't mean the music is accessible to your fingertips – these are usually grayed out and will produce a "this album is not available in the United States" error. Some grayed out listings will even specify that the artist or publisher has chosen not to allow streaming of those specific tracks. Stingy.