Still looking for an RSS reader? Try something simple. Sputnik (free, donationware) is a Windows and Mac RSS reader that focuses on your feeds and little else. Set it up and start reading.
Kannon put together a complete manual for Feedly, because we feel it’s the best Google Reader alternative out there right now – it’s feature filled, fast and syncs to all major platforms.
But after Google Reader’s shutdown some RSS users are (understandably) afraid to ever trust a web-based service again. It’s why we’ve been pointing out desktop alternatives, and even self-hosted, web-based RSS readers like TinyTinyRSS. This lets you set up your own Google Reader alternative in the cloud
Sputnik is a desktop app, and a lot easier to use than all that. It doesn’t currently sync with anything, but it’s still worth checking out if all you want is a quick way to go through your feeds.
Reading Your Feeds
Start up Sputnik and you’ll immediately see something to read. Feeds are found on the left, article at the right, and everything looks great:
Adding a feed is simple:
Note that you can create categories, something every decent RSS reader includes. This means you can read all of (for example) your Technology blogs at once. You can also import your existing list of feeds, if you have an OPML file:
There’s no built-in support for pulling in full-text version of articles, and clicking a headline just opens the link in your default browser. Those looking for a more integrated rendering experience should use a service like FiveFilter’s Content Only RSS service, which provides a full-text version of any RSS feed.
Getting To Know The App
Using the app isn’t complex, but if you’re not sure which keys to use don’t panic: just click the keyboard icon at bottom-left to review the controls:
Support for the traditional
jk controls is lacking, but the shortcuts used here aren’t hard to learn. You’ll get used to it.
Settings aren’t complex:
You can pick how many articles to show and how long archived articles should hang around on your computer.
Like I keep saying: this app is simple. I think that’s why I like it, though.
If you’d prefer something more complex, however, you do have options. I outlined the best RSS readers for Mac, and my favorite choice for power users is still ReadKit ($6.99).
For Windows users, I recommend NextGen Reader ($2.99), which I think is the best Windows 8 RSS reader. Sure, it’s a Metro app, but it’s so useful you’ll forgive it.
Or, if you’re willing to go web-based, check out our list of Google Reader replacements. You’ll find something you like there, I promise.
Sputnik is pretty close to brand new, and a lot of features are soon to come. Creator Jakub Szwacz knows this, but he’s also very responsive to feature requests.
I thought it was worth reviewing, because a simple RSS reader is becoming increasingly hard to find. If you just want a quick overview of your favorite feeds, I recommend checking it out.
But, of course, I want to know what you think. Is Sputnik a nice, lightweight option? Or is it lacking too many features to be useful for you? Let me know in the comments below, but also let Szwacz know which features you’re looking for: I have a feeling he’ll be receptive.