The Financial Times app is beautiful. It’s slightly pink signature FT colored screen background and crisp column layout delivers the kind of experience that makes you feel like you might have to wash your hands of ink smudges after you’re done with the paper each day. The app is that good.

The Financial Times was genius in the way they released this app. It’s free with email registration until July 31st because of a sponsorship from Hublot (their ads are featured in crisp full color just often enough to remind you that you’re reading the app free because of them but not often enough to impose on the reading experience). After that subscribers can subscribe for anywhere from $3.59 to $5.75 per week, but their model has me addicted. Every morning I find myself downloading the day’s paper first thing so I am sure I have access absolutely anywhere. Unlike other download experiences, the Financial Times loads in the background, allowing you to read articles right away.

Clicking on article blocks on the screen takes you straight to a page where the entire piece is laid out in a spacious, highly readable fashion. You can scroll through to the end, and then click straight to related stories or take yourself back to the section’s front page. Everything transitions in quick slides, and switching to another section of the paper is as easy as flicking to the right.

Some of my favorite features are the live stock market updates along the top rail, as well as the ability to upload and track your personal portfolio on and in the middle column of the paper’s homepage. The ability to scroll through and watch recently updated videos right from the paper’s layout also adds to the print experience, and as a whole the Financial Times app experience is like an augmented print experience. Some people may still miss washing their hands after they’ve caught up on the latest news, but this is one newspaper experience you’ve got to feel to understand just how pivotal the iPad can be.

Bottom Line: Easy to read and completely immersive. Free at time of writing, and therefore an absolute must. This is much better than reading the paper online, and the kind of experience that might convert even the most steadfast print lovers.

Price: Free    Score: 10/10