iPad & iPhone Reviews for Kids, Parents, Educators, Artists, Art Lovers: Fine & Performing, Readers, News Junkies, Writers, Casual Gamers & anyone interested in the Best iPad and iPhone Reviews, Tips, Contests, Sales, Exclusive Sneak Peeks & Swag

National Geographic Interactive for iPad vs. Zinio’s National Geographic Interactive

A Side by Side Comparison

National Geographic for iPad is one of the best major magazines to bring an interactive version to the iTunes App Store with an iPad app of their own. Or are they?


I know I have had an app with their logo on my iPad for a while now. But that one was powered by Zinio, and it seems to have been discontinued, at least in the US and Canadian App Stores.

If you have the old app, or you use Zinio to deliver other magazines, you can still get National Geographic Interactive, but now you can get the classic yet fresh content direct from the source.

The question is, why would you?

I already buy almost every issue and was excited to see this app. I was more than willing to switch to get even an even better version of the already amazing magazine. If you already have a subscription via Zinio it DOES NOT carry over. Just a word of caution.

Note: From here on down pictures on the left are from the National Geographic Society app and on the Right are pics from the Zinio app unless otherwise indicated.

But when I downloaded the free February edition I was disappointed.

It is redundant, but understandable for the company to want to monetize their content on iPad without giving a cut to a distributor, but you would expect at least a comparable product.

Well don’t expect too much. The magazine is gorgeous as always, content-rich, with some of the best photography you will find on earth, but the GUI is sorely lacking.

You get very the same interactive magazine features in both apps, (or so it seems, but I am comparing January’s Issue on Zino-powered App to February’s give-away from the new app) not more as I had hoped.

At least that’s the case in the launch issue, which you would expect to be souped up for the occasion.

But while the features of the magazine are essentially identical, the app interface gives you very little customizability and can even be misleading.

You can scroll through the magazine by tapping the screen and using the scrollbar on the bottom, and you can access your library and the ‘store’ but there is no pinch-to-zoom on all pages, (what a waste with such gorgeous photographs) no interactive table of contents, no text boxes or sharing that I saw, and little else to make me prefer it to Zinio’s interface. (p.s. sorry for the over-abundance of screenshots, but how do you pick?)

I want to zoom in on both pages (above) but can only do so with the Zinio App (below)

Also throughout the free February issue there is printed the word ‘more’ with an arrow. If you are accustomed to reading your interactive magazines on your iDevice, you will naturally want to tap it to see, well, more.

Don’t bother. All it does it bring up the main menu, which can get annoying when it’s the 10th time you’ve tapped it by accident expecting the magazine to interact in some great new way.

The Zinio Edition interface is richer. You can navigate the magazine more easily and you can pinch to zoom anywhere.

Certain articles offer you the option to see the text only,  the app brings up a nice textbox in which you adjust the font size and share the article, features National Geographic’s app should have, but doesn’t.

One feature I found in the Zinio App that wasn’t in the N.G.S. App were these amazing little 3-d videos. This is the second time I have ever used video, so forgive any quality issues, they are mine, not the magazine’s. Check it out, it’s so cool!

One has to assume that National Geographic wants to be the sole (primary?) distributor of their content on iPad instead of sharing the pie, but until they beef up their app I hope they don’t pull out of their distribution deal with Zinio.

If you don’t have the old Zinio National Geographic app I suggest you get their main app and get your National Geographic fix there. The experience is more enjoyable and you can build a library of dozens of different magazines.

It is going to take a big update and a fresh issue bursting with exclusive features before National Geographic Magazine By the National Geographic Society is worth having as a stand-alone app.

Rating: National Geographic for ipad from the national Geographic Society 2.75 Stars
Rating: The Zinio Version of National Geographic Interactive 4.5 Stars

Whatever app you view it from, or whether you still prefer the physical issues with those great map inserts, national Geographic is still a world-class magazine that will open up your world, and has been sine 1888! Get it and enjoy your read.

See you tomorrow with all new content!



Comments on: "National Geographic Magazine for iPad App Vs. Zinio: Haven’t I Seen You Somewhere Before?" (1)

  1. More to ponder… Now you said the zinio version has been discontinued, does that mean they won’t be updating it anymore? What gives?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: