GLOBAL – Nokia’s own Phil Schwarzmann recently described reading Monocle as the only thing more sophisticated than actually wearing a monocle. We decided to download the Monocle app to find out if that’s true.
Monocle’s mobile app is split into three main features, and almost seems easier to get to grips with than the hyper-trendy magazine.
Monocolumn – describes itself as a daily bulletin of news and opinion pieces. There’s a huge mixture of international stories, in bite-size chunks – some of which are better than others. Steve Bloomfield’s piece on Somalia was interesting, although quite short. Other pieces felt a bit redundant – although the weekend agenda posts are handy, especially if you’re flitting between London, New York and Tokyo (which I’m not).
Monocle 24 – A series of podcasts on current affairs, business, culture and music. You can listen to what’s on air, or use the ‘Timeshift’ browser to catch up on something you’ve missed. I listened to Section D, the design programme, and The Urbanist ‘devoted to the cities we live in’ which talked about iconic buildings, Amsterdam’s red light district – and London Taxis.
Monocle 24 seems easily the best thing about the app, with meaty, well-made programmes – with attitude – that wouldn’t be out of place on BBC Radio 4.
25/25 – Describes itself as a travel guide of business and resort cities, with recommendations for food and hotels. You can pin the content to your screen which is handy, but I found 25/25 too fiddly. There didn’t seem to be any cities in Africa, for example, until I switched from business cities, to resorts.
In summary, if you love what the magazine has to offer then you’ll love this app. And if you don’t, the podcasts are certainly worth tuning in to – even if you’re not sophisticated enough to actually wear a monocle.