For all of you who are sick and tired of flicking through tabs to read the abundance of news and media we have at our fingertips, there are alternatives: Feedly, Bloglovin', Apple News and Foodbin.
Now, when it comes to reading content, we all like a good dashboard. So, without further adu, here's our ultimate reader comparison guide (well, here are some of our favourite readers that we like to dip into when we're feeling a little short of inspiration).
Let's review the rivals.
- It successfully transferred our lists and curations from places like Apple News.
- You can choose how to view your unread posts.
- Adding new blogs and popping them in the right lists is pretty simple, if a little clunky.
- There's a 'Today' feature that bubbles up the most popular posts of the day if you're in a hurry.
- The app is sleek and neat with swipe functionality to scroll through 'cards' or scroll down long list of shorter titles.
- You can share posts or bookmark them from the post itself.
- Links in articles come up in a nice bright green, and you can still share, bookmark and save for later as you can with the original post.
For us, the key point was does it make us want to come and read blog posts? With a million and one other things to do, keeping up with online content often falls the the bottom of our pile, but it's vital for keeping on top of trends, tips and nifty things. As Copywriters and Marketers, we need a reader that encourages us to do just that.
As a reader, Feedly works. In a browser, it's functional, but not sleek. It feels very utilitarian and the quantity of unread posts feels daunting. We know it needs to work, but it doesn't do much else, and we have no desire to spend any length of time there.
The app is much more beautiful, but it's a bit too UI. Our 'stack of cards' doesn't add anything to our reading experience, and the 'Today' posts sometimes come up as a single card taking up the whole screen, adding extra swipes to get through our list.
- Again, all lists and categories came through fine from the likes of Apple News.
- There are fewer display options than Feedly but you can choose big or small images, and organise by date or by blog.
- Searching for and following blogs is easier with more detail about search results and a nice 'Follow' and 'Follow/Unfollow' button (a lot like Twitter).
- The community element of Bloglovin' also makes it easy to search and discover new blogs by category and popularity.
- Perhaps not as shiny as Feedly but it's built around familiarity - anyone who uses Facebook on their phones will immediately feel familiar with the menu.
- You can share direct from posts, although that feature is a lot less developed that it is in Feedly.
- The posts themselves are a little cleaner to read, and no 'read more' tapping that we've encountered so far.
- Scrolling through your list (yes one long scroll, no deck of cards) it gives you the option to mark as read, like and see how many likes a post has already had without having to click through to the full post - very handy.
You may have already caught on to the fact that Bloglovin' is coming out ahead.
Firstly, an extra feature of Bloglovin' means you can register ownership of your blog and keep track of how many Bloglovin' followers you have.
The browser version is better than Feedly, too. It's lighter, softer and simpler to read and use. It feels more curated and appealing than Feedly, which looks like that stack of unread newspapers that's been sat in the corner for the last month.
3. Apple News
- User-friendly mobile app that makes for easy skimming.
- Purchase magazine subscriptions through your iCloud account and download digital files to browse on the go.
- Sync between your iPad, iPhone and iMac.
- Filter easily by topics and see highly-valuable content from reputable sources straight away.
The Apple News app, at its core, works very well. It integrates and syncs across multiple devices and allows you to quickly load up and skim through some of the more important headlines.
However, while there's an extensive list of more than 300 magazines to subscribe to, many of them haven't been formatted to the iPhone, which makes for tricky reading. Not only that, but the search function is rather limited.
If you're an Apple lover, go for it. If you want to dip into daily updates from around the world, this is for you. But if you're a magazine reader, perhaps look elsewhere. The Apples News app won't replace your magazine subscriptions, and the clunkiness and difficulty reading digital issues on the go makes this platform limited in its user-friendliness.
- A simple RSS newsletter 'gatherer' that lets you skim through content from an array of signups.
- Integrate Twitter handles to see up-to-date content from your favourite Tweeters.
- Read articles in full screen mode. Whoop!
- There's a dark mode supported (which we just love the sound of).
- Sync your feed in real time, so you can switch from you iPad to your iPhone as you step out of your door and pick up from where you left off.
- There's text-only reading, too, to help remove any unnecessary distractions.
- Save your searches so you can quickly return to the topics you love.
- Integrate your favourite podcasts, too!
Feedbin is similar to Feedly in many respects. We like the simple design to this app, and the full-screen, text-only reading option is very attractive to the writers among us.
Feedbin is more open source than Feedly, so you can completely tailor your experience on it. However, if you're looking for something that is pre-optimised, so to speak, Feedly might be the way to go.
All in all
It comes down to what you want from a content reader. If you just want a list of all the posts, of all the blogs you follow piled up in one place, then Feedly will do you fine. If you are interested in recommending great blogs and posts to other readers, discovering new blogs and pulling together a collection of interesting things, then Bloglovin' is the reader for you.
Of course, if you're looking to read magazines in depth, we recommend you continue to buy them from the shop. Apple News works (on an iPad or laptop), but reading on a mobile is something worth avoiding. And lastly, if you want to skim through your RSS feeds, get Foodbin.
Ultimately, it comes down to whatever makes you want to pick it up, click through to the app (or desktop browser) and browse through. If it makes you want to read the content, well, isn't that the point?