Remember the old days when getting your news on the internet meant bouncing from website to website, typing in one URL after another? Or was that just me?
Well today’s mobile news readers bring you the news you want in style and convenience, with a bevy of features for manipulating content and customizing the environment in which it’s viewed.
To be clear, there are two basic types of news readers: Aggregators, such as Google Play Newsstand and Feedly, which draw from a stable of different new sources, while proprietary news readers such as BBC News and CNN News, draw from inside their own publication.
Today we wanted to take a look at nonproprietary news aggregators (RSS aggregrators), and share with you our picks. The criteria we used included: variety of news sources, comfortable UI, ease of navigation and rich feature sets. Here's our top five picks for best Android news reader:
Google Play Newsstand
Formally Google Currents, Google Play Newsstand is a powerful news app that offers breaking news and in-depth articles, along with audio, video and photos to deliver a truly robust news experience. The Read Now feature allows you to read more on subjects you enjoy and explore new ones. With Google Play Newsstand you can go offline with any news edition, topic or magazine and also bookmark stories for later reading. While not as visually impressive as other news apps, it’s nonetheless a workhorse with deep reach.
Flipboard builds a personalized mobile magazine around your interests. Just start with a few news choices and your mobile screen is populated with a collection of stories you can modify at any time. As you move through headlines and stories, front-page style layouts visually flip..thus the name. It also integrates a social networking component by allowing you to flip from news to Twitter to Facebook to Instagram - up to 12 social sites, so you can follow friends and feeds alike. Flipboard also offers 15 localized flavors, including U.S., Canada, France, Germany and U.K.
Feedly Editor's Pick
Feedly is a snappy, customizable RSS news reader that’s optimized for both phones and tablets. Choose content from your favorite websites, blogs, magazines and more. In addition to customizing your own feeds, you can share content to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, as well as friends and contacts. And if you like to save content for offline reading, Feedly plays well with Pocket, Evernote and Instapaper. If you want quick access to your favorite news sources, Feedly is an excellent choice that won’t put a drain on your battery.
Paperboy offers over 25 million feeds to choose from plus the ability to add your own, but its clean layout and use of photos is what really makes this reader shine. Its long list of features include no ads, the ability to cache articles and artwork for offline viewing, rich notifications that allow you to stay current on content without having to open the app, a variety of swipe gestures to make marking articles as either “read” or “to be read”, and much more. The small amount of time it takes to familiarize yourself with the UI will be rewarded.
Reader+ (Reader Plus)
Formerly ReaderHD, For the $1.99 price tag, Reader+ offers a full suite of expected features along with the ability to fully customize appearance, notifications and more. Reader+ supports podcast feeds, offers four themes (light, dark, blue and gray), two reading layouts (magazine and classic), two-way synchronization, and the choice between either left and right swiping or navigation buttons.
Honorable Mention: Press
Press is the new kid on the block, but it has received some serious praise from opinion leaders around the internet. For $2.99 you get a simple, elegant, full-featured news reader with a set of navigation features that make getting to content fast and a real pleasure, including vertical and horizontal swiping for navigating and marking articles, and double-tapping to magnify images or view articles in the browser. Other features include immersive mode for Kit Kat users, no ads, offline caching, YouTube support and the ability to share content.
As with many apps, choosing a news reader really comes down to fit and finish - which one fits your needs and feels best when navigating. Some things you may want to keep in mind when auditioning news readers:
1. Does the app provide content from your favorite sources?
2. Can I share/save/post/cache easily?
3. Do stories load quickly and can I navigate the app with minimal clicks?
4. Ads? No ads?
5. Minimal drain on battery
Also, if you love photos and artwork, you’ll quickly find some news readers are more focused on graphics than others - so there’s that.
One More Thing
Many news apps allow for offline reading, but where do you put the article? Bookmarking works, but it can be tedious. And sending links to yourself is so 2009.
Pocket is an app that solves this problem. Pocket runs in the background of your mobile device and appears as an option whenever you go to save or share something. You can send Pocket photos, news articles, videos, recipes - anything, and enjoy it offline at your convenience. You may find Pocket useful as a complement to your news app.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.