With a weekly readership of almost a million people, The Globe and Mail is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star.

The Globe and Mail is often described as Canada's newspaper of record in the English language and is a must read for many Canadians.

A subscription to the printed edition of the Globe and Mail is a welcome addition to any household but what if you want to read "Canada's National Newspaper" but can’t because you leave too early in the morning, travel a lot, just want to go paperless, or find $30 a month too costly?

That is where the Globe and Mail's Globe2Go application for the iPhone or iPad comes into play. The application gives subscribers a digital replica of the printed newspaper edition for $20 per month, a 40% discount over home delivery.

To find out more, Digital Home downloaded the Globe2Go version 1.6.1 app and tested it on iPhone 3GS under iOS4.

Using Globe2Go

Once loaded onto our iPhone, we launched the Globe2Go application and were prompted to sign-in to the application. While the iPhone / iPad application is free, the cost of the digital edition is $20 per month hence the need for authorization to ensure you are a paying customer. The digital edition is also available as a $9.95 per month add-on for existing print subscribers.

Once authorized, we had the option of viewing the online content of the Globe and Mail website for the latest news or we could enter "My Library" and download today's digital edition. Once ”In Library” the app prompted us on which edition of the paper we wished to download. Users have seven editions of the Globe and Mail to choose from including: Alberta, Atlantic, B.C., Ottawa/Quebec, Prairie, Ontario and Metro.



We chose the June 24th edition of the Metro Edition which was 76 pages and just over 80 megabytes in size. Due to the large size of the download, you will want to download digital editions via Wi-Fi or you will begin racking up some serious data charges. To reduce the amount of downloading when Wi-Fi access is unavailable, you can also access selected portions of the paper via 3G without having to download the entire daily edition. The downside of just browsing is you don’t download the paper and don’t have access to the paper when 3G or Wi-Fi access is not available.

Once our digital edition was downloaded, the paper was listed in our Library screen along with any previously downloaded papers. Simply touch on the paper you wish to read and it opens up to the first page of digital edition.

From there you can pinch and zoom, flip pages or go to a table of contents for quickly navigating to a particular section of the paper. . If you chose to shut down the app and return at a later time then you will return to the page you left on when you quit the app.

Thoughts

After spending a few hours with the Globe2Go app, we were impressed with what we saw. The user interface was easy to use, the table of contents allowed us to quickly navigate to favourite sections of the paper and once we selected an article, it was a joy to read.

The downside of the Globe2Go app is the small iPhone screen. A small screen can hardly compare to the joy of laying out a broadsheet newspaper in front of you. With a newspaper, you can quickly scan across two pages for headlines and photos or graphs of interest. With the small iPhone screen, it's harder to discern the headlines and photos on a page view thereby making reading the paper less inviting and less enjoyable.

Despite the difficulty of navigating a large page condensed onto an iPhone screen, we think the Globe2Go is a great application for Globe and Mail print users who would like to have access to the Globe and Mail when they are not at home or on those days when the paper doesn't make it on time. Because the canvas of the iPhone is so small, we don't recommend this as a substitute for the print edition.

The Globe and Mail digital edition may be more than sufficient however if you are an iPad owner. With the iPad's much larger screen, navigating the digital edition is much closer to the print experience. Whether the iPad’s screen is large enough that you will want to drop the print edition will depend on personal preference but our recommendation, if you’re considering it, is to try it out.

iPhone or iPad users can download the Globe2Go app at no charge from the iTunes App store and trial the Globe2Go service for 14 days at no charge and experience it for themselves.

In addition to being able to download the paper every day to your iPhone or iPad, a Globe2Go subscription also provides users with access to a digital edition of the paper which can be read on your laptop or desktop personal computer (provided you have an internet connection).

Discuss your experience with the Globe2Go iPhone app in Digital Home’s Smartphone applications forum.