As you surely know, YouTube is by far the most popular video sharing website out there, with its popularity only increasing even more with the arrival of mobile devices like the iPhone and the iPad. Naturally, after Apple excised the native YouTube app from iOS, the healthy app ecosystem of the App Store started brimming with a lot of alternative (and one official shortly after) YouTube apps.
Besides the official one though, only a few YouTube apps offer a truly original experience that departs from the norm. Jasmine for iPhone is perhaps the most popular of these, especially for how different it can be from Google’s official offering.
Let’s take a look at how Jasmine and the official YouTube app stack against each other.
What immediately stands out about Jasmine is how a different it looks when compared to other “conventional” YouTube apps without being alienating. Quite the opposite in fact: While striving for a cleaner look, Jasmine manages to make the YouTube experience simpler and easier to navigate. Search, Playlists, Favorites and more have all one dedicated screen for example. That way, when you search, your search results can take the entire screen.
The video screen uses the same approach, showing you paths to the most common options (like Related Videos and Comments for example) to avoid clutter and distraction in this screen. You can also Like or down vote videos from this screen, although I found the existence of both thumbs options and star ratings to be redundant.
The app’s settings provide some surprising flexibility to the way you view your videos. There, you can adjust the overall app brightness, its text size, change the theme entirely to “night mode” and even set the default resolution of video playback.
Official YouTube App
On its part, the official YouTube app is the closest you will find that resembles the web YouTube experience, providing not just a very similar view, but also all the array of options that you could hope for. Additionally, you can also apply filters to your searches.
When it comes to video playback, there are two aspects about the official YouTube app that I like and one that I do not. What I like is that the screen options and view in general remain there when playing videos in portrait mode instead of it taking over the screen. Additionally, you can rate and share videos right from the playback screen. Definitely some clever HTML5 tricks on Google’s part here.
Comments, and suggested videos are all also accessible even while viewing your current video, which is really a nice touch.
Sadly though, in the case of both Jasmine and the official YouTube app, the apps do not support background playback, which means that even if you just want to listen to the audio of any video, you will have to keep the app open.
In both apps, video playback is almost identical, which makes it hard to recommend one over the other. However, if you are looking to have an experience as similar as the YouTube web, then the official YouTube app is for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer something different and with less clutter, then Jasmine might just make your day. Thankfully both apps are free, so feel free to try for yourself before deciding.