I think it’s not unreasonable to say that Reddit fulfills the true purpose of the Internet – as an addictive time suck that can fill your mind with anything from obscure and probably illegal NSFW to pictures of squirrels eating unusual things (yep, that one I’ll link to). But it’s also fair to say the interface of the Reddit website itself is atrocious.
While some on our team swear by the Reddit Enhancement Suite, sometimes only a dedicated app can delicately handle the deft manoeuvres required to navigate the subreddit seas and launch down votes from your cannon of disapproval.
So, here’s a few such apps – free and paid, good and bad – it’s all here.
Reditr (Free, Mac App Store)
Reditr is free and cross-platform – judging by the general look and feel and sluggish performance, I assume it’s built upon Adobe Air. It’s like the TweetDeck of Reddit, with multiple columns for…..parallel browsing?
There’s a great deal of functionality hidden in Reditr for the power user -
- Gallery view for slideshows of the more visual subreddits.
- Quick previews on mouse hover.
- Auto-refreshing feeds.
- Content extraction and display along with comments.
In fact, there’s more power user features than I could possibly tell you about here, so go check out the full feature list.
Personally, I found the app to be too sluggish to be truly satisfying, and the interface just a little too complex and convoluted. If you’re the kind of person that likes to watch a Tweet stream in real-time as new snippets of wisdom get shovelled into your overloaded mind, then you’ll love the being able to watch new Reddit posts and send then into down vote oblivion instantly.
Pro-tip: Switch to the light theme for a far better experience, and in my case, this allowed the column settings to appear too which were previously broken.
Reddit HD ($2.99, Mac App Store)
You don’t always get what you pay for when it comes to apps, and Reddit HD proves this by being the simplest and yet most broken app here. It’s certainly focused on the more visual posts, with images and GIF previews appearing with a large preview in the list of posts – so you might want to be careful when browsing r/wtf.
After signing in, you’ll get your own subreddits, but you can easily browse anonymously too and add or delete subreddits if you wish. The app is simple, and fast, so I’d easily choose it over the Reddit web browsing “experience”.
It’s not all flowers and cupcakes though, as the app is far from perfect:
- Links in the content pane sometimes don’t open (even with right clicking) – YouTube links are fine, but links to image files aren’t.
- You need to click a separate button to get to the comment stream.
- There’s no readability or optimized mode to extract the content from the linked page.
- Some images mysteriously don’t display in the quick post preview list (see the screenshot above).
- No way to “open in Chrome” in anything other than the embedded Safari browser (for which I have Flash disabled).
- I experienced a couple of random crashes.
RedditTab (Free, Mac App Store) and Others
RedditTab is a simple app that lives in your status bar and integrates with Mountain Lion’s notification center to alert you to new messages. Beyond that, you can click the icon for a quick look at the Reddit homepage. The browsing functionality is weak though.
If you insist on having a notifications widget for Reddit for all those PMs, Reddit Notifier is the highest rated, though comes in at a shocking $2.99 for such a simple and tiny app.
KarmaBox is another, simple, free alternative that also gives you a quick look at the current state of your karma, for those of you obsessive about that kind of thing. You sad, sad people. Sadly, this status bar notifier also places an icon in your dock, which is just unnecessary.
I don’t think I’ve ever received a single message on Reddit, but then again I don’t consider it a “social network” upon which to lay down my feelings and beg for advice from strangers. If you do, these notifier apps are probably quite useful.
MIA: Alien Blue For Mac
Alien Blue remains my favourite way to browse Reddit (and proudly featured on our Best iPad Apps page); mainly because I’d rather waste time on Reddit while lying in bed with my iPad than while standing at my workstation attempting to write.
There has been talk of a Alien Blue Mac client for a while now, and the screenshots on the announcement page look fairly advanced, but there is still no release date. For now then, we are no closer to the truth.
Speaking of being MIA, there also used to be a simple reddit OSX client called Envelope, but it has since vanished from the app store, which is a shame.
For the power user, my choice is undoubtedly Reditr despite performance issues – nothing beats that level of features. Personally, I’m happy to just consume pictures of cute baby animals on the basic Reddit HD app.