I haven’t done an App of the Week post in a while, although I did a comparative review of iPhoto and Picasa last Wednesday which sort-of counts. This week, I’m looking at Reeder, a Google Reader client for iOS and Macs, although I’m specifically looking at the iPhone app.
Firstly, a bit of history. Up until now, I’ve been using Byline, which is a very similar app that allows you to read items in Google Reader. Unfortunately it has been well over a year since Byline was last updated, and code rot has begun to set in. Google removed some features from Google Reader some time ago (sharing and notes) when it was designed and integrated with Google+, but the buttons for these are still in Byline. And it was designed for iOS 4.x, so it doesn’t use any of the new features in iOS 5.x such as Twitter integration. Despite this, it generally worked okay.
However, with Reeder 3.0 coming out last week, I decided to give it a try instead, and on the whole it is much better. It has a nicer interface, and many more features; Byline pretty much just let you read articles, mark them as read, ‘star’ them, tweet them or save them to Pocket (formerly Read It Later) or Instapaper. Reeder has many more sharing options, including Evernote, Delicious and Pinboard, and also supports the Readability service. In fact, Reeder can be used as a full-blown Readability client instead of, or in addition to Google Reader. Facebook sharing isn’t in this version but is likely to be added in a future release.
Other useful features are different sort methods, and the caching of read items for several days (Byline only cached read items until the next sync). Reeder will also cache images in feed items when on Wifi, so that they’re visible in places where your phone doesn’t have a signal – this is very useful for me, as I can download my unread items at home and then read them on the train to work without having to stop when the train goes into one of the many tunnels between Sowerby Bridge and Bradford. However, it doesn’t go as far as Byline, which also cached full articles – this was useful for feeds like those from the BBC which just include a short excerpt.
Having used Byline for so long, I was pleasantly surprised by Reeder. It’s £1.99 from the App Store; Byline is free with ads, or the same price without ads.