Review: Hyper – a Video Magazine

It is more than clear that these days you can be informed more easily than ever thanks to social networks and different kinds of news aggregating services. In addition to your favorite social network, where you engage with your friends that share newsworthy items, there are also traditional web sites, as well as iOS apps that are designed to cater to your specific needs and interests. However, what this means is that these days quantity comes over quality, and many stories and videos are click-baits, designed to attract visitors in order for a website to earn some money. This is why it has become increasingly hard to find good material, from where you come learn something that can benefit you.

As a reviewer, I tend to browse the iOS App Store in search for interesting and unordinary apps, and I think this is the best place to find something like that. This is how I discovered an app named Hyper, which was featured by Apple on the App Store’s front page. Since then, this app has become one of my favorite iPad apps.

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Hyper is a curated video discovery platform that comes with its own distinctive identity and philosophy. Even though it might seem like this is yet another video aggregator, you will see who is behind this app right after the first launch. The startup screen (when you launch the app for the first time) is a looped, low-contrast video showing a team behind this app. This is how you will meet film producer Markus Gilles and cinematographer Jonas Brandau who created this platform, which is powered by $1.1 million in seed funding. The creators left Berlin’s independent film scene to create Hyper. The following statement, made by Gilles, shows exactly what to expect from Hyper:

“We’re living in an Internet world where we have more awesome short-form video content than ever, but at the same time it’s harder and harder to find it amongst the trendy clickbait. That stuff bubbles up in our social media streams and algorithm-based recommendations because our friends have already fallen victim to it.”

This app, or service, does not require you to create an account, follow people, and pick interests and categories. All you have to do is to open the app, where you can find new videos every single day, organized by editions where one edition are videos that were recommended for a specific day. Every edition brings from six to twelve videos, handpicked by journalists and filmmakers. The best of all is that videos are not tied to a specific category and they span a wide range of topics, from culinary videos, architecture, video games, up to documentaries. What is important to be said is that Hyper’s videos are not click-baits, since the videos are mostly a couple of days old, with low view counts and social sharing metrics. This is actually one of the best ways to find quality YouTube content, that can be buried very deep.      

Hyper GIF1When it comes to the UI design, this is also one of Hyper’s strengths. The home screen has a grid layout, where one large tile is accompanied by two smaller ones. The app features bold typography where its white color nicely stands out since tiles actually show looped low-contrast video in the background. When you tap on a tile, you will enter a full-screen video player, which seems vastly improved over YouTube’s default embedded player. There are no comments, but there is a description hidden behind a button. While watching a video you can only focus on the scrubber, video quality button and sharing options, where other distractions can be accessed by swiping. Swipe up to see sharing options (Twitter, iMessage, Email, Facebook, and AirPlay), as well as to adjust video quality. This is also where you can find a description. Swipe down to return and enjoy in your full-screen video.

In contrast to news and video aggregation services, Hyper seems like a concept that is perfectly executed. The app does not try to take over your time or to set itself as a new YouTube player, but instead it relies on bringing the most interesting YouTube content. I am actually surprised to see this app completely free of charge, and it doesn’t even come with annoying ads or anything similar. As you can see by know, Hyper is refreshing is more ways than one.

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I am quite sure that Hyper will reach its target audience and that we will hear more about this app in the future. What gives this app an edge over YouTube and Vimeo is the team that is behind this app. I am sure you are aware how difficult it can be find interesting videos in YouTube’s iOS app, where viral videos are usually being recommended. Unfortunately, many of these Top 100 viral videos are short and funny animal clips and Buzzfeed-like videos. Even though this kind of videos can be useful if you have a few spare moments and looking for something funny, they are not something you want to return to in the future. With Hyper, it is exactly the opposite.Hyper GIF2

At its current state, I am more than happy with Hyper. As I said before, this has become one of the apps that I use on a daily basis, and I am always looking forward to each new edition. Believe me when I say that each edition brings at least two or three videos that I find highly interesting, so I can’t say that I was disappointed with any of the existing editions. On the other hand, this makes me wonder what is in store for Hyper when it comes to future updates and expansion. Considering that Hyper’s small editorial team is its most valuable asset, I hope this team will be able to face the challenge of maintaining current voice and influence even if the app becomes bigger over time.