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With such a large price tag — five bucks a pop, the most I've seen per issue thus far in the App Store — it's natural to have high expectations for the iPad version of Women's Health Magazine. But trust me, the Rodale publication will let you down.
A plus to the Women's Health app is that it offers quite a few issues for download, and although each is pricey, the files download quickly. The bad news is that these issues are not optimized for iPad usage — rather, they are glorified PDF files with a few hot buttons leading to minimal supplementary content. While flipping through the pages of Women's Health, you'll view the magazine as if you were using a digital reader on your PC. By this, I mean the page is zoomed out, making most text difficult to read without pinching to zoom in. Longer features can be made larger to help your peepers, but this option simply pops the text out into a plain-text box. To me, this defeats the purpose of reading a publication on the iPad, which should maintain the feel of reading an actual magazine.
Flipping through the magazine in full-screen format, I didn't see any digital extras. It wasn't until I tapped the screen, pulling up toolbars at both top and bottom, that I was shown blue-plus signs on each page. This is where the "extras" are hidden, and, again, you can only see them if you have the toolbars active. Strange! Whatever content the plus signs lead to will be highlighted in the top toolbar, but honestly, most of it isn't worth your time. An overwhelming number of these hotspots only led to sharing options, always over Facebook or Twitter and occasionally via email. Every so often I'd hit one and see a Women's Health poll question related to the article at hand. Even more rarely, I'd be able to watch a video. I found a video feature based around the cover photoshoot, and all of the exercise articles offered a visual walkthrough of the form, which was the only benefit I saw to having a digital copy.
Because you have to read with the toolbars live to see the extras, it's easy to tap other buttons by accident. I hit the home icon, which sent me back to the Women's Health storefront and caused the app to lose my place in the issue. Is now a good time to remind you that this privilege cost $5?
And, of course, the Women's Health Magazine app offers neither a digital subscription package nor support for current print subscribers.