Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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It's a little too simply done, but in terms of varied radio-based content NPR One does a good job of making it easy to listen to new stories that should hopefully prove to be interesting to you.
After a brief sign up process (best circumvented by connecting your Facebook details), there's nothing particularly awkward about NPR One. You can dive straight into listening to various news clips about all sorts of subjects from politics to entertainment news, with plenty of human interest stories that teach a lot. NPR One learns as you go along in terms of what interests you via you tapping on a button to say it was your sort of thing. That makes the suggestion side of the app increasingly useful and I found it easily recommending me stories that would appeal.
Given NPR One's hands-off approach, it's perfectly possible to just leave your headphones in and listen through stories. Typically they're pretty short, with longer stories easily gleaned from the suggestions. Unfortunately I found the iOS Control Center controls don't quite match up with the app's, which can be an issue.
On a more positive note, it's possible to set things up for your local radio station (if you're in the US), but international listeners can still enjoy a varied mix of all sorts of things.
NPR One occasionally makes you wish for more. Such as more information or browsing abilities, or simply just the ability to 'unlike' something that you've changed your mind about. It is a bit of a barebones app, albeit one that's saved by its wealth of content. For a freebie it'll still be useful, but there's still that sense that it could be more than just good audio.