I’ve been using Deezer for 3 months now and I feel like I have a handle on the service and can give it a complete review. I broke the review down into components and then provided my overall assessment of the platform below.
At $14.99 a month, Deezer is steep. They will argue their quality is better than Spotify, Rdio or Google Play Music and they would be right but $60 a year better is not really something I can get behind when there are too many other weaknesses in the product.
I’ve never had a problem with Deezer’s streaming which is a bit surprising. I’ve had issues on all other streaming services even if it’s just a short lived blip. I have never experienced anything I would consider lag or strange on Deezer. Whatever they are doing to ensure that high quality FLAC sound comes through without lag they are doing it well. I did notice with using my iPhone on LTE it did take about 2 seconds for a song to start streaming but that’s a small price to pay when it never buffers and the quality exceeds all the other services I’ve tried.
I wanted to be skeptical and be one of those people who says they can’t notice the difference between MP3 and FLAC but I most certainly can. The places I notice it most is with quality speakers. In my car with stock speakers I don’t notice anything noteworthy about the sound from Deezer vs. say, Spotify. However, when using my Sonos Play 1 the difference isn’t quite night and day, but much better. Also, when I use my Bose Quiet Comfort 15 headphones the difference is night and day between the two. Highs are higher and lows are lower. I listen to a lot of Jazz and this genre sounds laughably better with Deezer than with alternatives.
The web interface for Deezer is a joke. There have been some recent updates but it’s unresponsive and the search functionality is weak. I’m not a fan of the way content is organized and how there are multiple artists for almost every search queries I do. If I search for Kendrick Lamar, all of these extra results seem out of context:
I don’t like how there are default categories on the search page. If I search an album an album should return or an artist an artist, like it does in Google Play / Spotify. I’ve gotten to the point where I have to anticipate what I am searching for an expect to click over to another tab every time.
The iOS app is pretty strong. The animations are smooth and it is surprisingly quicker than the web interface. That being said, the search results page still bug me and the offline syncing is pretty slow but that’s to be expected with larger files.
This is another large weakness of Deezer. Compared to Spotify and Google Play there are an alarming number artists and albums that are missing and I can’t make it a home for that reason. I have evolving and eclectic tastes and the big advantage of streaming services is that they should have most of the music I want to listen to. When these services don’t fulfill that important task, it just makes you question spending $8-$15 a month. That’s what I felt every month I paid for Deezer. I love the quality but the library sucks. Hard place to be.
The tragedy about Deezer is it can’t hang with the libraries of its competitors, it’s user interfaces are clunky and it costs a fortune. That being said, there is nothing better than the streaming quality it delivers. When I play on my Sonos or through my Bose headphones I notice the difference. While Spotify high-quality streaming and Google Play don’t sound as good their search features and libraries are just better. So I’ll be leaving Deezer behind, but it was great listening to Miles Davis’ catalog over the weekend.