Hands-on review: Netflix on the iPhone app

This morning, Netflix finally debuted its app for the iPhone and iPod touch in iTunes. Now, here's the review.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

This morning, Netflix finally debuted its app for the iPhone and iPod touch in iTunes. Now, here's the review.

At Apple's big press event in early June, the big deal was obviously the iPhone 4. While not as equally exciting, the official announcement of a Netflix app finally coming for the iPhone was definitely welcome news, especially after rumors were swirling since a few months prior.

First off, know that your device has to be running iOS version 3.13 or later. Using my iPhone 4, I tested the app out this morning. Like the SlingPlayer for iPhone app, media can be streamed over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks.

Immediately, you'll get a bunch of new releases pop up on your Home screen to look through, which you can literally watch instantly right there. I was astounded by how amazing the video quality is. (It's not evident in the photo above, but blame on the camera. The sample is just to give you an idea of the video player.)

The smaller-sized screen plus the "retina" display technology surely help, but I never had to squint my eyes. The movie loaded up nearly instantly, and users can choose to toggle between fitted and widescreen display.

If you choose to stop watching a film, it will still appear on the Home screen for a period of time next to a "Resume" button. Interestingly, this option will also be available with the same film within your Netflix account when logged in and turned to the Watch Instantly page on other mediums (i.e. a computer) as well.

The other bottom menu options, Genres and Search, are both fairly straight-forward. Finally, there's the Instant Queue listing, which doesn't actually show the subscriber's entire queue but rather just the ones that are supported by the Watch Instantly feature. I would have liked to have seen a feature allowing users to edit their entire wish lists, but this isn't a bad start.

I had no problem either when scrolling to another point in the video. Getting to an exact spot in the film was a little difficult as I couldn't seem to be precise as I wanted on the touchscreen.

The app is free and available in iTunes for downloading now. If you're a Netflix user with one of these compatible devices, there isn't a reason not to get it and at least try it out for yourself. While it's not the ideal option for watching movies all the time, it could be a fantastic travel companion and useful way to kill time.

Editorial standards