MSN News beta for Android gets some modern design tweaks

Microsoft rolled out a complete revamp of its MSN News app to beta testers on Android and iOS last week. Its design and function look very familiar to anyone who uses MSN News on Windows 10. That's great to see as more and more users have Windows 10 devices as their PCs and Android or iOS devices as their phones.

Over the last week, I checked out the latest version of the app on Android, trying to keep up to date with news and sports during a very busy weekend. It did a great job, and I like the direction Microsoft went with this app. Since the app is in beta testing, this won't be a proper review, but I'll go through the design and features of the app and the concepts behind them.

To sign up to be a beta tester on Android you just need to follow this link. You can then download the app from Google Play as usual.

See at Google Play (opens in new tab)

Customizable news

Microsoft News Android

Microsoft News Android (Image credit: Windows Central)

The idea behind the MSN News app isn't new. You can select categories or specific topics as part of a customized news feed. In this version of the app, you can add these using the menu bar across the bottom of the app. These interests can sync across your devices, including to the MSN News app on Windows 10, though your interests seem connected to the regional variant of the app you're using. It's great that when I logged into the app on my Android phone it already had all of my interests that I've built on my Windows 10 devices.

The app has dozens of categories, from sports to world news, and you can also add specific searches such as "Windows 10." Once you select your categories and topics, you can swipe between them. Navigating all of the news is simple and reading it is very attractive within the app in either light or dark mode, which can be toggled manually for any article.

One of my favorite features of MSN News is that I can customize which sources appear in my newsfeed. While it's important to keep a variety of sources, there are some publications I just don't like, and I'm glad I can remove them from my feed. The Windows 10 version has a "My Sources" section that is unfortunately absent from the beta version of the Android app. Hopefully, this will be added to the mobile versions before they're publicly released.

A fresh look

One of the biggest changes to the app is its overall look and feel. Microsoft did a good job tailoring the app to Android while also modernizing it. The little touches add up and create a fluid experience. One such touch is the ability to switch between a light and dark theme for the entire app or just individual articles. Another is that you after you reach the bottom of the article, you can keep scrolling and move on to the next one. This saves you time and taps on your phone, and is a trend of many news sites today.

Overall thoughts on MSN News beta for Android

MSN News beta Android

MSN News beta Android (Image credit: Windows Central)

MSN News beta's new look and feel take a lot of the good from Microsoft's version of the app on Windows 10 and brings them to Android, and that's a compliment. The app's customizable news structure is good, but it would be nice to the see the "My Sources" section added to the mobile versions of the app. Microsoft has also done a nice job modernizing the interface of the app which makes it easier to read more news without feeling like you're jumping in and out of articles.

In the future, it would be great to see similar updates arrive across all of Microsoft's apps on Android.

Pros

  • Customizable news feeds
  • Dark theme
  • Local news feeds

Cons

  • My Sources section is currently missing

See at Google Play (opens in new tab)

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

12 Comments
  • I thought MSN News was dead when it was removed from Windows 10.
  • huh? Win10 has it even Win10 Mobile... what are you talking about? It's right in front of you in the Start menu. I think you removed it, not MS.
  • nope I had it on my laptop when it was on Windows 8 but then disappeared in Windows 10. Same thing with my Windows phone.
    .
    Not sure if it's a regional thing since I'm in Canada.
  • Great to hear about this update, but based on the shots in the article, it looks like the interface still need some work (huge buttons at the bottom, spacing/margin adjustment on layput needed, etc). Hopefully, that will come soon, with "My sources".
  • I don't know what's wrong with that picture, it's not like that in regular use. You can see it scaled correctly in the bottom of the last photo.
  • As if I am going to use MS apps on the competitors OS after they force me over there. I have a zillion apps to choose from, I'm pretty sure most of them will outperform this one.
  • Frist of all, no one forced you to do anything. Second of all, that's quite an assumption. Yes, there's a lot of options but I doubt they ALL are better.
  • For me, it's all about ecosystem. The ecosystem that is the most comprehensive in terms of availability, accessibility, and utility will be the one that gets my attention. By having MSN news on my Laptop and an MSN News app on my mobile that delivers a very similarly satisfying experience, it feels like a single unfragmented experience. I like that feeling.
  • That's why I'm giving it a try, even though there are plenty of alternatives on Android (my favorite being SmartNews).
  • Flipboard was my favourite after MSN News app disappeared on Windows Phone and Windows 10 laptop. Now after Flipboard has gone down the drain in terms of app stability and usability I'll probably come see what is new on the MSN news app.
  • Is this even customizable or does use pre-defined news sources according to selected categories? I guess the "My Sources" section that is currently missing is about adding custom sources?
  • It's brutally BAD. Old News Stories and questionable bias. No thanks. I wanted to like it. Very disappointed.