News, reviews, information and apps for Windows Phone.
Review: Vime - Ultimate Vimeo Client UWP
When did applications start putting 'review-like' text in their title? Must be a new trend... In any case, 'Vime - 'Ultimate Vimeo Client' (I'm just going to call it 'Vime'!) is a cracking UWP application that delivers Vimeo into your Windows 10 Phone far more effectively - and beautifully - than just using the Edge browser.
Vimeo is something that many people will have heard of - a free video sharing service much like YouTube, yet not quite the latter. The difference is apparent when you starting browsing content - with anything other than trivially short uploads, video uploaders have to pay. Enough that it weeds out the skateboarding cats, the teen video diaries, the pranks, and so on.
What you get on Vimeo are quality videos, mini-TV-programmes in many cases. Often these are promotional in some way - after all, you have to pay for upload capabilities, so companies can use them for mini-films that show off their products in some way. But not always - there's a huge mass of video content which is just very, very high quality. And I'm sorry if that sounds snobbish or elitist, but the upshot is akin to switching to the Discovery Channel on your TV after watching something trashy.
It's free to watch though, which is the main point - and, just like YouTube, you can watch Vimeo via the Edge browser and most things work. But you've got to endure the white web background, page reloads, fiddling with playback windows... Far more pleasant to use a proper client, which is where the self-titled 'Vime - 'Ultimate Vimeo Client' comes in.
Vime is no ordinary Windows 10 UWP application - it's exemplary in its interface and polish. From stability to speed to style, it stands out immediately and, with one small caveat, you'll utterly relax when using it.
Even the caveat mentioned above could be construed as a positive - when loading a new video, part of the textual content from the previous video is left in place until the relevant data for the new one is ready, ensuring that you never see blank space. I found this confusing, though it could also be though of as a design decision.
Let's run through Vime's interface in detail:
The colour-striped top bar is something of an 'ident' for Vime, it seems, and rather striking with the dark theme here (a light theme is also available, but rather pointless on most AMOLED-screened phones). Here I'm browsing categories and videos, seeing what Vimeo has to offer. Notice the absence of teenage vlogs and cats....(!)
Here's a good example of Vimeo used to good effect - an animation project (complete with 'behind the scenes' section); as with the developers' other client, Awesome Tube (for YouTube), the textual section is side-swipeable, moving between tabs, e.g. here from description to comments.
Rotating the phone expands the video playback window but with some UI elements around it, which is fair enough, though a little messy. For true full-screen playback, there's a control when you tap the original (portrait) playback window, ending up with the UI shown here. And the time bar and content tools (liking, downloading, adding, and so on) disappear after a few seconds, of course, or can be brought back with a tap.
Vimeo content is full of easily-discoverable surprises, this Sherlock feature was something of a visual revelation - one to add to my Library, I think; (right) tapping the hamburger menu gives these navigation options. Note that I'm signed in, via my Vimeo account.
Resolution is relevant in two ways. One, when playing back - note the 'Auto' bottom right, Vime tries to pick the right streaming resolution for your device and bandwidth; and two, when downloading a video for offline watching, in which case you get to choose explicitly, as shown here. The higher the resolution the longer the initial download and the more storage space used up, of course. '720p' is a good default here for most use cases.
Once signed in, you can upload your own videos too, of course, subject to your account status - it's something like 500MB/week for uploads with no 'pro' membership of Vimeo; (right) here I've uploaded two videos as tests of various kinds.
Back to browsing channels and videos and (right) searching too - here I was looking for videos on the Northern Lights, and I found them in spades...
Being a full UWP application (see also the Continuum proof below), the interface works in landscape too, though it's all obviously optimised for portrait browsing.
A shot of one of the Northern Lights Vimeo videos at full quality, full-screen - pretty, eh?
There's also a smattering of commercial paid content, as you'd also find on YouTube these days, and rather curiously these presented themselves to me in the UK in dollars. Hmm.... Not to worry though, there's so much 'free' content to see first! (right) the Settings menu is short and sweet, your main choice will be dark or light theme - and you know the right answer to that one, of course(!)
By the way, don't get too excited by the 'cast' control when playing back Vimeo videos - this is for DLNA-style casting, not Chrome casting. Or - more likely here with Windows 10 Mobile flagships - you'll simply hook-up with Continuum to a suitable display (using a cable, hub or wirelessly), giving you a much larger screened experience and with slightly reflowed layout.
Superbly programmed, arguably bug-free and polished, Vime is a commercial application (just £2.29 in the UK Store) and worth every penny, but you can try it free for a week (with ads) if you need convincing. I paid up and zapped the ads in order to bring you uninterrupted screenshots here, but I was happy to reward the developers, Chococode, for their continued detailed support of Windows 10 Mobile, and I suspect you will be too.