- Fast breaking news alerts
- Lots of NBC video content
- Tons of ads
MSNBC has an interesting - and very colorful - iPhone news app (Zumobi Inc, Free). It contains a good amount of news coverage, but the numerous ads can be overwhelming.
Good content, but annoying ads
Unlike most news apps, which use a main navigation bar, the MSNBC app has a multi-colored, round menu that is always accessible at the top of the app. It includes a variety of sections, including U.S. News, World News, Politics, Business, and Sports.
Headlines are updated rather quickly, and MSNBC supports push notifications for breaking news alerts. Several other news apps offer this feature as well, including CNN Mobile and AP Mobile, but MSNBC uses it most often (if you don’t like these alerts, you can turn them off in the settings menu).
The app also includes a good amount of video content from NBC shows like Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show. Videos load quickly with Wi-Fi (3G and EDGE buffering times are slower) and are updated just hours after those shows originally aired. You can also read blogs and Twitter feeds from NBC personalities like Ann Curry, Rachel Maddow, and David Gregory.
Navigating the app is easy enough, and most headlines are accompanied by a thumbnail photo. You can also set headlines to “flow” so you can scan through them with one hand.
However, the MSNBC app feels more commercial than many others. The app hits you with an ad at nearly every opportunity, and while that is expected from a free app, it’s a little overwhelming at times.
The Bottom Line
There are two things I really like about the MSNBC iPhone app - the fast and frequent breaking news alerts and the variety of video content. However, the ads can quickly become a drag, and many of the articles come from The Associated Press, which has its own iPhone app. Overall rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.