This mobile web content app has been around for a while, and has been integrated into over 256 different applications which let you bookmark things you’d like to read. If you don’t know the service but the idea sounds interesting, take a moment to read our Read it Later review which explains the concept far better. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the free version of the Read it Later Android app. There’s also a Pro version which adds tagging and searching, but the free version is quite powerful as it is.
A synchronized reading list obviously requires a central server, which is why the first thing you’ll see when you run Read it Later for the first time is a login/account creation dialog:
Such a clean look, I like it already. I already have an account, so I’m just going to log in. The minimalistic aesthetic doesn’t stop with the login screen:
Let’s take a look at the reading list:
As you can see, some of the entries are white (which means “ready”), while others are still loading. At this point, the app felt rather sluggish – I guess it was busy downloading my entire reading list en masse, which is a first-use kind of thing (the list would later just stay synchronized as I add articles using my browser).
Now let’s see what reading feels like:
This is an old Lifehacker post, which looks quite nice as formatted by Read it Later. It takes just one tap to remove the Read it Later formatting and view the article in its original format:
I prefer the app’s own formatting – I find it quite readable. The button to the right activates Android’s sharing menu, so you can tell the world how fantastic (or stupid) this article is. Note the “Email Article View” option, which is unique to Read it Later:
The default article display uses a white background, which may not work so well for bedtime reading. Let’s see what we can do about that:
Tapping Text Style opens up a small menu with some Kindle-like options:
I can increase or decrease the font size, change the typeface, justify the text (or left-align it) and… yes, turn off the light. Here’s what the same post looks like after some light tweakage:
Okay, so maybe the justification isn’t such a great idea, but I like the dark background. By the way, the app’s resemblance to Kindle doesn’t stop with the display options. Digging into the preferences, I found this:
While “Volume Rocker Scrolling” is a Pro-only feature, it’s something right out of the Kindle app. I hope Amazon is flattered (it is a very useful feature).
If you’re already a Read it Later user and have an Android device, the official app is a no-brainer. It is very well built, the interface feels solid, and it’s just fun to use. If you don’t use Read it Later yet, do be sure to use the Android app when you’re evaluating the service. It really rounds off the experience quite well.
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