Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
When I first went looking for a suitable news and RSS reader for my iPhone, I had two prerequisites – no price tag (the feeds are free, after all) and Google Reader integration. At the time Feedly was a paid download, and my unwillingness to pay for content I was already getting for free (albeit in an attractive wrapper) put me off.
Then Feedly’s developers dropped the charge, and made this attractive little news reader free to all. No price tag? Check. Google Reader? Check. A host of other features and a beautiful UI? Check. Suddenly I started to feel rather tight-fisted.
I’ve been using Feedly for a few weeks now, and I thought it’s about time to share what I love about this powerful, minimalist news reader.
Feedly On Its Own
First up – if you don’t use Google Reader then you might still enjoy Feedly. By default the app features news feeds from a long list of popular sites including the BBC, Engadget, Perez Hilton and Instructables – quite a mix.
In fact there are so many news feeds included that you’ll probably never read a whole “issue”. This doesn’t actually matter, because Feedly is a learning app. The more you use it, the more news stories you tap and sections you frequent the more Feedly will personalize your reader.
Sections included within the app are as follows: tech, design, fashion, web-design, business, photography, deco, cooking, gaming, cinema, celebrities, Apple, Android, do it yourself, and world news – there’s definitely something for everyone. Each section receives the personalization treatment, so even if you don’t find yourself that interested in a particular topic the app might still deliver something that tickles your fancy.
Click on the first screen you’ll see is the Essentials section, which provides a brief overview of the top stories in your most popular sections. It is at this point Feedly somewhat resembles a customized, electronic magazine – ultimately making it one of the classiest ways of chewing through some RSS.
Google Reader Integration
Feedly supports full Google Reader integration, with features like recommending articles and sharing via email and Twitter. It’s easy to login, simply touch the bar in the bottom left and choose Login to feedly/Google Reader and input your credentials.
The first thing you’ll notice will be your own feeds, in glorious Feedly-vision ready for perusal. The second thing you’ll probably notice is all those previous feeds that the app so usefully included have disappeared (at least from the menu view). I noticed that the Essentials button still took me to Feedly’s prior feeds, though this could be due to the fact that I prefer vanilla Feedly than using my Google account, and the app was used to my normal setup.
Further Google integration includes a buzz section for items recommended by friends, history for past articles, saved for later for bookmarked posts and latest which displays the most recent content. You can also choose to share, save, email (and so on) individual articles, as per the screenshot above.
The choice over whether to connect Google Reader depends on your expectations from a news app. If you have a highly customized RSS configuration with only the news that matters to you then go for it. If you’re not a massive RSS user and enjoy a less regimented browsing experience then vanilla Feedly may suffice.
Shortcuts & Navigation
Navigation within Feedly is a truly wonderful thing. The app plays out like an “issue” – content from the web organised into a magazine-style layout. Swiping left and right will take you to the next and previous story or index, a swipe down the page marks items as read and a swipe up marks as unread.
On an index card (list of stories) tapping the centre of the heading text will open the article, tap left to save the article for later or tap to the right to toggle between read and unread. I’ve encountered very little lag whilst scrolling lengthy articles and image posts in Feedly.
By default the app uses a black-on-white colour scheme, however for reading at night you might prefer white-on-black. This is accomplished with a simple shake of your device.
The version of Feedly reviewed here is the iPhone version (2.0.1), which may have minor differences between Android or iPad editions. There is also a Feedly web app for Firefox, Chrome and Safari and you can find out more about these on the official Feedly site.
- Download – Feedly for iOS (4.0+ required, iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad)
- Download – Feedly for Android (2.2 required)
Feedly is a cracking little reader for simple news updates whilst also tactfully handling your entire personal RSS catalogue. Minimalist design makes it easy on the eyes, smooth and quick to navigate. The learning algorithm provides a custom channel of news and the in-built feeds are plentiful. To top it all off Feedly is now free, and doesn’t feature one pesky advert. Download it, use it and tell us what you think!
Have you tried Feedly yet? Did you buy it? Get it for free? Any features you’d love to see? Let us know in the comments!