YouTube Leanback App Review

It’s rare that Google launches a product or feature for something without that nasty ‘beta’ tag that has become Google’s signature (ehemm, Gmail). YouTube Leanback was fairly uninteresting to us before the Remote app launched on Android for various reasons, including control from the couch. Who wants to get up and change the video anyway?


  • Control YouTube on PC from phone over 3G/WiFi
  • Uses the YouTube interface that we like with gesture support.
  • Ties into Google searches for custom channels, subscriptions, and cached searches.
  • Almost the entire YouTube library
  • First-party Google app.


YouTube leanback is a service launched by Google last year that aims to keep the viewer watching videos rather than fumbling through controls. With it, you can sit back on the couch and watch those YouTube videos from a laptop or connected TV in the living room. The UI (pictured below) works well for organizing videos on the device if you prefer to do it that way. It blends nicely into the updated Gingerbread, and Froyo themes.

A mostly non-technical problem encountered often was our tendency to look away from the playing video to queue up the next on the list. Access and the ease we’re offered through the application becomes addictive. The shear number of videos and endless possibilities can become overwhelming and 3 hours later I found myself standing up from watching my brief playlist that kept getting longer. If the list is already set up and you’re happy with it, you’re good to go, but if not anything on YouTube is just a swipe and a search away. With the announcement of thousands of new music videos available for mobile the playlists we make were more than just funny videos too.

Unfortunately, not everything about the app is perfect as of yet. Connections dropping turned out to be a major issue for us, and WiFi range didn’t really seem to matter. The computer inexplicably broke connection with the device, and both sessions are pretty useless. When the connection drops, the playlist ends, something that definitely needs to be fixed if the connection issues are unavoidable.

Wrap Up:

Download the remote for Leanback. It’s definitely worth it, and it will most certainly see some of the improvements we asked for eventually. Google is quick to iterate on these apps, and the connection issues we experienced could be fixed next week for all we know, but if it is, we’ll update this update as we update all app reviews to reflect the changes since release.

Direct Market Link:

Developer Website: YouTube

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