There are over a dozen RSS feed readers for the iPad and other mobile devices, but the one I keep returning to is Alphonso Labs’s Pulse News Reader. I’ve used several readers in the past including NetNewsWire, Gruml, and even Google Reader. But for reading feeds on the iPad, Pulse makes browsing and reading nearly effortless.
What is most appealing about Pulse (iTunes Store link) is the magazine style interface. Instead of a hierarchy of folders, titles and summaries, Pulse opens with a visual display of news feeds. Feeds including lead images in their articles get the most graphic appeal in Pulse.
Pulse takes full advantage of the touch navigation of the iPad. To browse a feed, you slide rows of articles to the left and right to view titles and accompanying graphics. There’s no need to tap separate folders. You can easily view on the iPad screen four rows of feeds at a time. You scroll horizontally to browse more feed sources.
Each time you launch Pulse, it updates your feeds, but you can also tap the Reload button to reload manually.
Tapping on an article either presents the headline and first paragraph of the article or the entire article itself, depending on which the source allows. You’ll be pleased to know that the full version of MakeUseOf’s articles are downloaded into Pulse, saving you another tap in order to read the article on the website (note: Pulse also includes a button option to view selected articles in the original web view.)
In the full article presentation, Pulse removes annoying ads and other visual distractions, similar to what the Reader feature does in Safari.
After you open one article, you can scroll horizontally to browse other stories in a feed. This keeps you from having to return to a row of articles just to see what’s next.
With the latest 2.1 update of Pulse, you can now view videos without leaving Pulse.
Pulse makes it very easy to share selected articles on your Facebook and Twitter account, and via email. You can also add selected articles to your Instapaper account.
When you have an article open, tapping the heart icon in the lower-right toolbar saves that article in what is called My Pulse, which consists of a custom feed of your favorite articles.
After the first release of Pulse, the developers responded well to complaints about the limited number of feeds you could add to Pulse. That’s no longer a problem. It looks as though you can add as many feeds as you like, creating separate pages for each set of feeds.
Tapping the + button in the Feed manager view presents five different ways to search and add feeds to Pulse. It includes featured feed sources, as well as browsing sources by categories””e.g., art & design, food, fashion, politics, music.
You can also search for feeds by keywords, URL, username, etc. Type a search term and Pulse delivers up dozens of feeds for that topic.
If you use Google Reader, you can sync those feeds into Pulse, no problem. Since using Pulse on my iPad, I rarely read Google Reader on my computer. Reading articles on the iPad is so much easier.
Finally, you can also add articles using the Bump feature in Pulse. This means, you can share feeds by bumping your iPad or iPad with another similar device, and feeds will be added. Unfortunately, the Pulse application kept crashing on my iPhone after bumping and connecting with my iPad. You may get better success with this feature than I.
With so many feeds and articles in one application, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the navigation. Pulse makes it easy to get to your home listing of feeds and articles by simply tapping one single icon in the upper-left corner of the interface, or at the bottom-right in the toolbar.
The way buttons are arranged, Pulse developers truly understand how to design an app’s interface for how devices are handled by users.
If you’re not yet exhausted by all the features in Pulse, its most recent update now includes Facebook integration, enabling users pull up their wall posts, videos, shared links right within application.
Overall, the magazine style look and feel of Pulse makes it in my view of the most elegant reader apps on the market. Now that it’s available for free download, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Let’s us know what you think Pulse, as well as what mobile reader you think is better. For other ways to read RSS feeds on your iPad, check out Jessica’s article on this topic.