Google Reader is an important part of my daily routine. It’s how I keep on top of news and blogs I care about. In fact, Reader has many fans in MakeUseOf. We’ve even published a Google Reader cheat sheet with lots of handy keyboard shortcuts. But what if you don’t like to read your feeds while in front of a computer?
Well, if you’re an Android user, we’ve covered JustReader and Pulse, two interesting Google Reader clients. But today I’m here to take a good look at a recent arrival in the Reader client space, called Press. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because I recently included Press in a roundup of applications three gorgeous Android apps that give iOS a run for its money. Now, let’s see how this pretty client actually works in daily use.
Navigating Your Feeds
Press starts off with a base assumption. If you use Google Reader, you probably put all of your feeds into neat labels.
This is not always the case, as you can see from my screenshot above. I used to have a lot of labels in my Google Reader, with over a hundred feeds. Then last summer I went on an information diet and cancelled all of my subscription except for a handful of select feeds. So, no labels for me. That said, with just eleven unread items, you don’t need labels.
Once you tap the label you want to focus on (or “no label” in my case), you get a screen showing currently unread posts:
So, I’ve got one RailsCasts screencast to watch, and ten posts on MakeUseOf. Let’s tap into MakeUseOf:
Each post has a little circle noting its status (a full circle means its unread), as well as a title and a quick excerpt. This is nice, because you can quickly scan over the titles and tap the little circle to mark uninteresting stuff as read before you even go into the individual post reading mode.
Next, note the neat little strip on the right of the screen: Pull it out (or tap one of the posts), and you’re into the individual post mode.
Viewing An Individual Post
Talk about pretty formatting:
This is what an individual post looks like. I love the colors and the font. If you’re not into the sans-serif look, you can change it:
This overlay lets you quickly change the fonts size and the justification. Why would anyone right-justify their posts, I have no idea. But if you really want to, you can.
To change the font, just tap its name (Open Sans above):
What’s nice about this being an overlay is that your changes are reflect immediately. Tap a different font, and the shaded text in the background instantly changes, so you can decide whether or not you like the look. And while only a handful of fonts are included with Press, each is striking and different.
Check out the serious-looking serif Bitter:
One feature I really like is being able to use the volume buttons to quickly navigate between posts. Just hit Volume Down to scroll to the next post, and Volume Up to scroll to the previous one. Note that this is useful only for switching between posts. If you’re reading a long post and try to press Volume Down to scroll, you’re going to find yourself transported to the next post. Takes a bit of getting used to.
I’m a fan of applications that don’t have overwhelming preferences panels. Press has more than one screenful of preferences, but refrains from dividing them into subcategories you must dive into. The only feature I’ve had trouble with is shown above: Background synchronization. When I enabled it, Press force-closed in the background every time it tried to synchronize with Google Reader, popping up random error messages when I was doing other things with the device.
Press is an elegant Google Reader client that’s fun to use, and definitely merits its spot on our list of Best Android Apps. It’s far from the only game in town, but that sort of competition only yields better apps for all of us.
Did you try it out? What did you think about it?