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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 Get the Perfect Self-Hosted Feedreader Solution With Tiny Tiny RSS Get the Perfect Self-Hosted Feedreader Solution With Tiny Tiny RSS What if your favorite feedreader closes its doors like Google Reader? Where can you go then? Well, the answer in both scenarios is Tiny Tiny RSS -the no frills RSS reader that you host yourself. Read More 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:

sputnick-main

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The program is built on node.js and webkit, meaning it is on some level a website running on your computer. It’s kind of weird, sure, but the result is fast and beautiful so it’s hard to complain.

Adding a feed is simple:

sputnik-add

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:

sputnick-import-export

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 FiveFilter: Turn Partial RSS Feeds Into Full Text Feeds FiveFilter: Turn Partial RSS Feeds Into Full Text Feeds Read More .

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:

sputnick-keyboard

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:

sputnick-setings

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.

Alternatives

If you’d prefer something more complex, however, you do have options. I outlined the best RSS readers for Mac Replace Reader: 3 Best Desktops RSS Clients for Mac OS X Replace Reader: 3 Best Desktops RSS Clients for Mac OS X Bring your RSS feeds back to the Mac. Here are the best programs for the job. Read More , and my favorite choice for power users is still ReadKit ($6.99).
Readkit mac rss client
For Windows users, I recommend NextGen Reader ($2.99), which I think is the best Windows 8 RSS reader How to Use Google Reader, Metro-Style, With Nextgen [Windows 8] How to Use Google Reader, Metro-Style, With Nextgen [Windows 8] Add a beautiful, Metro-style Google Reader app to Windows 8. If you like your reading experience to be clean, quick and smooth – and you're a recent convert to Windows 8 – this is the... Read More . Sure, it’s a Metro app, but it’s so useful you’ll forgive it.
nextgen reader windows
Or, if you’re willing to go web-based, check out our list of Google Reader replacements Google Reader's End Is Nigh: Prepare With These Alternative RSS Readers Google Reader's End Is Nigh: Prepare With These Alternative RSS Readers Google Reader is dead. By July the Internet's premier RSS service is shutting down forever, leaving users to find a replacement on their own. If you're looking for an equivalent to Google these are just... Read More . You’ll find something you like there, I promise.

Conclusion

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.

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