Netflix for Android hands-onSee all photos
Everything is more or less as you'd expect upon launching the app. The home screen shows your top picks (including those disturbingly specific genres like "visually-striking mind-bending comedies") and just below the tabs is a shortcut to resume the last video you watched. Along the top you'll also find tabs for genres, search, and your instant queue. Tapping on a title opens a more detailed view that shows a summary and similar videos, as well as offers you the chance to add it to your queue, rate it, or just start playing right away.
Streaming performance over WiFi is excellent -- videos load quickly and are crisp and clear. Over 3G quality is still respectable, but there is some noticeable pixelation and buffering can take quite a while. We are slightly frustrated that navigating away from Netflix to answer a text or simply locking the screen forces the videos to buffer again. Though the UI is responsive enough, the app itself is quite slow to launch and searches sometimes take quite a long time to complete, especially over 3G.
Pressing the search button quickly opens the search tab and the back button works exactly as it should but, oddly, the menu button does absolutely nothing, deviating from the expected Android experience. Another pair of complaints we have are the lack of landscape support while browsing through the app and the somewhat confounding absence of a scroll bar for indicating your position in a list. We also wish there were some more robust options for managing your queue. As it stands you can add things, remove them, or (if they aren't already in your queue) move them to the top, but rearranging is out of the question.
If you happen to own one of the few handsets that supports Netflix (the HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G, G2, or the Samsung Nexus S) you can snatch it up in the Android Market now for free. If not, you'll just have make do with the video above.
Myriam Joire contributed to this report.