As on the desktop, FastFlip for iPhone is a fast-loading way to look at news stories — photos included. And as on the desktop, navigation is simple and natural. For instance, FastFlip uses the iPhone’s “swipe” gesture to flip between stories. (See first picture.) Nice.
The problem: Unlike on the desktop, you can’t actually read anything. The text is far too small. (See second picture.) And when you click “zoom,” it doesn’t zoom into a version of FastFlip where the text is larger, fitted to the iPhone’s screen size, and actually readable. Instead, it expects you to pan around the page to read the text. (See third picture.) No thanks!
To be sure, Apple’s MobileSafari browser is equally useless to read this specific Newsweek story — the text is too small, there, too. But there are better options.
- Instapaper is our favourite: It uses a “bookmarklet” in MobileSafari to send any Web page to its free service and iPhone app, which lets you read news stories and Web sites formatted perfectly for the iPhone’s screen. (A $5 Pro edition even includes automatic scrolling, powered by the iPhone’s motion sensor.)
- Google Reader is good, too. It requires dealing with RSS feeds, which is messier than most people care to deal with, especially on a phone. Perhaps FeedFlip could add a “send to Google Reader” button so someone could actually read the story on the iPhone.
FastFlip’s weakness as an iPhone reader is especially unfortunate because its fast load times and minimal navigation requirements make it especially helpful in theory for portable gadgets, such as Kindle-like e-reader tablets with bigger screens. But for now, for small-screen devices like the iPhone, FastFlip needs to go back to the shop.