I have always loved magazines and a good “magazine” app is hard to come by. This app shows true potential among the current crop of preview apps. The other magazine that I have reviewed My History Digest goes with a more web styled approach, but the Fine cooking magazine follows the path the Fine Homebuilder app took: the traditional magazine look and feel. The app has a lot of good features that all work unlike the Homebuilder app, and it also has a beautiful look and is pretty quick in app. The speed stops there. It took me 30 minutes to download 1 issue and there was only two to choose from. I was pretty disappointed at the lack of issues, but that is becoming very common among magazine apps before RTM. Another piece of criticism I have to give is that the text is too small for comfortable use. You are forced to view any content in zoomed view otherwise it is unreadable on a 1366×768 screen (a full HD screen renders text even smaller). In zoomed view you can not leaf to another page which forces you to exit the current view and then leaf over. Currently pages are rendered in two page mode so if it was rendered say in 1 page mode the problem would be fixed.
Loading the main screen was pretty quick probably because there is nothing there. Loading up a pre-downloaded magazine takes about 4-6 seconds and there are some pictures of recipes that work part of the time. In a design aspect there is a lot of empty space that could be utilized by even a simple Office 15 like theme where they put flowers on the edges or lines you understand. It is not like the issues are even new they are from May and April. After you open your downloaded issue you have two options: 1 go to a recipe or 2 start reading the issue. Navigation is powered by the hated side buttons or if you click in the article you can use the left and right buttons. There is no fancy turning animations and the zoom function is not completely polished. There is a full screen mode which wastes some space on the side and the text is still too small for reading. If you try going through the magazine quickly then it starts to stutter and some pages do not display. There are some other functions like showcasing all of the articles in a grid or strip function.
It did not provide the most pleasant experience, but still it laid a good groundwork for what looks to be a solid app come time for the RTM or Windows 8 release.
Rating// 3.8 out of 5