Quick Look: ProTube for iPad

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I don’t tend to spend very much time on YouTube unless I’m doing some in-depth research on a product. When I’m researching, I’ll voraciously consume all the hands-on and review videos I can get to, in order to see my next <insert lust-worthy object here> from all available angles. One of the things that I find most frustrating about this are the long, unskippable pre-roll ads that will sometimes air before a video. Most of these ads are repeats of something I’ve seen just minutes ago, and they feel like a waste of my time. I don’t mind a five second skippable pre-roll ad that tries to attract my attention, but it’s obnoxious to force someone to watch through 30 seconds of sub-par content.

It’s for this reason that I bought ProTube many moons ago. I’m not sure how the developer does it, but the app features a completely ad-free viewing experience. That’s something that’s difficult to accomplish even on the desktop. With ProTube, what you tap on is what you’re going to be watching, and that’s already a very big reason to pony up $4 for the purchase.

But wait, there’s more!

A Good Viewing (and Listening) Experience

Google’s own YouTube app isn’t too bad, but it was missing Split View for the longest time, and it still doesn’t have Picture in Picture viewing. ProTube features both of those iOS niceties, and you don’t realize how much you’ll miss PiP until you don’t have it. It’s outstanding for videos that are more about the audio than the visuals.

In fact, ProTube can go a step further and pause the video portion, while only playing audio. This means that you can close ProTube and work in any other app, and enjoy the audio playing in the background. I know a lot of people like to use YouTube for music playback, and ProTube allows for an unobtrusive music listening experience.

ProTube also supports many of YouTube’s standard features. Logging into my account brought all of my subscriptions, uploads, and playlists over into ProTube. The main page is a busy, but attractive grid of video thumbnails. One really nice touch is that scrolling includes a parallax effect, so you’ll end up seeing more of a thumbnail as you scroll down.

Less Interactivity

It’s still easy to interact with videos by liking them, subscribing to a channel, or reading the horrible (horrible) comments on most videos. The only things you can’t seem to do are interact with see in-video cards or end-slate links, like the ones that pop up at the end of MKBHD’s videos. These are simply absent from ProTube, since they’re a YouTube-specific feature. I thought I’d miss the special Watch Later playlist available in YouTube, but it behaves so much like a regular playlist that it doesn’t really matter. Videos that I’d like to view later are added to a regular playlist that I review every few days.

Not a Default YouTube Player, But a Great One Nonetheless

I’ve enjoyed using ProTube so much that I’ve gone for months without the YouTube app. The only downside is that iOS doesn’t see ProTube as a default player for YouTube links, so if you don’t have the YouTube app installed, videos will just open up in Safari. This makes ProTube more of a “go there to become a couch potato” app, instead of a default YouTube experience that loads everything. But all the time I’ve saved by not having to watch a lot of lame 30-second pre-roll ads has already been well worth the $5.29 CAD ($4 USD) that I spent on ProTube.

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