RSS And Beyond: The Top 5 Android News Reader Apps For Free

Joel Lee 22-01-2013

news readerRSS, which means Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary depending on who you ask, is a popular way to receive news updates from your favorite websites. You can pick and choose which updates you want and they’re amalgamated into a central “inbox” of sorts, allowing you to read your news at your convenience. With smartphones, you can now do all of this through apps.


The convenience of being able to read your selected news sources from anywhere (e.g., waiting in line, when you’re taking public transit, when you’re bored, etc.) should not be underestimated. However, finding the right app for your needs is the best way to maximize your news-reading enjoyment.

Here are 5 of the best FREE news reader apps you can use on Android devices.

Pulse News [No Longer Available]

news reader

What Is It? Highly lauded by publications like TechCrunch and Fortune Magazine, Pulse News is one of the most popular RSS solutions for Android devices. It’s been around for a while and consequently has a ton of features, making it one of the best all-in-one feed and news readers.

The Pros: Pulse News has a beautiful interface that lets you focus on the content at hand. Browsing through multiple articles is easy and everything about the app just feels smooth. You can save articles to be read later, sync for offline reading, discover new publishers, and easily share articles through social media.


The Cons: Some of the settings in Pulse News could use work. Font control is a big complaint as you have to resize the font for each article you read; there is no master font control. Depending on the model of your device, some pages and articles may cause the app to crash.

Overall: There’s a reason why Pulse News has over 10 million installs: it does its job. The small hiccups here and there may frustrate you from time to time, but if you can handle that, this app is a fantastic all-in-one news reader.

News 360

free news reader

What Is It? News360 is a news aggregator that pulls stories from over 20,000 sources of news. But on top of just the news, News360 also provides detailed background information through dossiers on the companies and people that make the news, allowing you to see each event from all angles.


The Pros: This app delivers tons of news stories from around the world that can be personalized based on your interests and location through its complex algorithms. News topics range from politics to culture to technology and more. The dossiers in particular are impressive.

The Cons: While the content is good, the presentation has a few flaws. Sorting doesn’t work correctly all the time, which can be a nuisance. Sharing an article links to the News360 cover of it, not the source article. There are also a few bugs that cause the app to crash at times depending on your device model.

Overall: I love the intent behind News360. Being able to compile news from multiple sources AND being able to read about the biases behind each news source is fantastic. If aesthetic issues won’t get in the way of your news reading, I highly recommend this app.

Google Reader

free news reader


What Is It? Google Reader is a web-based news aggregator created by, yep, Google. It’s been around for almost a full decade and Google has turned it into something special in that time. It supports Atom and RSS feeds, the two most popular feed protocols. In order to use this app, you’ll need a Google account as this app syncs with it.

The Pros: As with all things Google, the interface is clean and beautiful. Everything is extremely legible, allowing you to consume news articles in peace. The navigation is simple and all of the functions are intuitive; swiping from story to story is about as easy as it gets. This app works well for phones and tablets.

The Cons: It comes with a widget but the widget is a bit buggy. No option for theme control. It isn’t the most impressive or flashy app and it isn’t jam-packed full of neat features. Sometimes it glitches and fails to load an article, but that’s been rare in my experience.

Overall: I love the simplicity and straightforwardness of Google Reader, which is why it is my default reader. If minimalism is what you want, this app will probably suit you. If you want fancy graphics and lots of features, you should look elsewhere.


Google Currents [No Longer Available]

free news reader

What Is It? If the simplicity of Google Reader isn’t enough for you, maybe Google Currents will satisfy. It operates by offering you “Editions,” which are like different magazines within Currents. Editions are all free and come from a variety of sources and publishers, including Forbes, TechCrunch, PBS, and more.

The Pros: Currents has a useful trending feature that tracks the most popular trends in various categories. Stories are brought straight to you, can be saved for offline reading, and are easily shared to friends and social media. Works on phones and tablets. Can be used to read RSS feeds and synchronizes with your Google account.

The Cons: For a mobile app, Currents uses a bit too much memory for my liking. Unless you have a next generation phone, it’ll be bogged down by its many features. Drains power if you use it frequently. Quite lacking in terms of personalization and customization.

Overall: If you have a powerful phone with long battery life and you like eye candy, you’ll love Currents. But while Currents is a fantastic concept wrapped up in a pretty interface, the power drain and memory footprint will be too much for a lot of users. If that doesn’t bother you, then give it a shot.

Taptu [No Longer Available]

news reader

What Is It? Taptu is a self-proclaimed social news feed reader. Its goal is to be the one-stop-app for all of your interests ranging from websites to blogs to social networks. Taptu takes all of them and presents them to you as article streams. Taptu makes it easy to combine multiple news sources of multiple types and view them all in one place.

The Pros: Taptu has their own streams in a number of topics, including news, sports, technology, entertainment, and more. Your streams can be synced across multiple devices. Easily share articles through social media. Import your RSS feeds from Google Reader. Taptu’s widgets give you instant 24/7 access to your streams.

The Cons: Taptu was once completely free, but have since switched to an ad-supported model. Uses a lot of bandwidth due to all the images in social media, but prefetching can be disabled in the settings to lessen the load somewhat.

Overall: Taptu is a great way to bring the modernity of social media right to your device. It looks great, it feels smooth, and it just works. Additionally, the developer of Taptu responds to comments and complaints and quickly pushes out updates for reported bugs.


If you’ve had any experience with these apps, let us know what you think of them. Are they good? Bad? Did they not live up to your expectations? And if there are any other free news-reading Android apps that you know of, please share them with us.

Image Credit: Newspaper Stack Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Feed Reader, FeedReader.

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  1. dbroid
    May 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Try out miniread if don't have time to browse news on your own. It'll automatically display the scrolling news highlights in tiny window which can be fit anywhere on your screen. In this way you never miss even a single breaking news.

    It is similar to news ticker style which news channels shows on the bottom of their screen.

    Miniread will automatically refreshes content and updates you in mini window on top of your other apps.

    Google play store link

    [Broken Link Removed]

  2. SirProudNoob
    May 13, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Pulse does have a global font setting. You can change it to a night theme as well.

  3. Dave Van Allen
    March 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    If looking for an RSS reader you have to try Reader free. Hands down it is much better than Google Reader. It doesn't consistently crash like Google Reader.

  4. null
    March 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    If your looking for an RSS reader, Reader Free is my favorite choice. For some reason, Google Reader consistently crashes.

  5. buggrit
    February 6, 2013 at 7:11 am

    greader pro. tried the others, this is my favorite

  6. michelle
    February 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    on nexus 7, there is no access to chrome web store, so cannot get the RSS subscription extension. how can I add an icon to easily subscribe to a website? how can I easily convert a feed so that I can subscribe instead of getting an HTML error page?
    thank you in advance.

  7. Elizabeth
    January 30, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Please add a front-page tribute to the inventor of RSS, Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide at the all-too-young age of 26 facing prosecution from the U.S. federal government. Aaron's "crime" involved hacking into an MIT database and "stealing" journal articles "with intent to distribute" -- over P2P networks, email, and elsewhere over the free web. For his supposedly unforgivable sin of "stealing" from a PUBLIC LIBRARY he faced more than 30 years in prison, a sentence normally given to murderers, rapists, drug traffickers and Al Qaeda terrorists. Adolf Hitler committed suicide facing impending -- and justified -- punishment for crimes MUCH WORSE.

    Aaron's death is a tragic miscarriage of justice and a downright crime against humanity by our profit-obsessed, corporate-intertwined U.S. government. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg, who is approximately the same age, is given free license to use his fickleness with terms-of-service agreements to declare copyright over people's private photographs of their friends and loved ones. The threat of prosecution to Aaron's level does exist in theory if one dares to offend the Scumbag Billionaire by sharing a picture of their Uncle Fred's 95th birthday that FascistBook already used in an ad campaign. Aaron Swartz is a martyr for the essential cause of maintaining a Free and Open Internet and deserves a eulogy on every tech site in the world. #AnonOps #RIPAaron #OpenAccess #WeDoNotForget

  8. Kannon Yamada
    January 29, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Thanks for the great article. As a diehard RSS addict, I absolutely love reading free Android RSS reader roundups. Emphasis on the "free".

    Unfortunately, the best RSS readers so far appear to be ad-supported. Among those, gReader and JustReader are probably the standouts, but they are drainy.

    • Joel Lee
      January 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      That seems to be an issue with free software in general these days. Since free projects are usually hobbies, they fall behind in development or lack the proper optimizations. Or they're bogged with ads.

      Of course, there are exceptions every once in a while, but those are pretty rare.

  9. Reza Lesmana
    January 25, 2013 at 3:56 am

    I wrote yet another news/RSS reader called Feedwall. Somewhat more similar to Pulse than others. It can show the full article, instead of just the summary. Could be useful if most of your feeds just contains summary. Please have a look.

    • Joel Lee
      January 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation. I'll give it a go!

  10. Jon Ezrin
    January 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    One more vote for Feedly. I use it constantly.

  11. Jared
    January 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Feedly really should be on this list. They receive constant updates, and have a great team.

    Not to mention it is aesthetically pleasing as well as very functional. Give it a shot

    • Joel Lee
      January 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      I will give it a try. I don't remember why I chose to forego it for this article (which I wrote months ago), but maybe it has improved since then. Thanks!

  12. Dane Morgan
    January 23, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Apparently I'll have to give feedly a go.

    I user Google Reader. I would have classified "It isn’t the most impressive or flashy app and it isn’t jam-packed full of neat features." as one of its pro points though. I mean, really it's reading a feed, how flashy does it need to be? Flash just gets in the way IMO.

    • Joel Lee
      January 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      That's correct. For those of us (including myself) who don't like flashy bells, it's awesome. I think we fall into the minority, though! :)

  13. MD Weatherbee
    January 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Minimal Reader / Pro - [Broken Link Removed] . Customizable, light and solid. Also - No Feedly? I don't use it since finding Minimal Reader, but it's easily a top 5 staple.

    • Joel Lee
      January 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Minimal Reader looks quite nice, but it appears that the Free version hasn't been updated in approximately 6 months while the Pro version continues to receive updates. I'm not sure what that's about but it doesn't sound very good for the future of the Free version.

  14. Wewer
    January 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I like to watch news. I watch news from youtube. I like to watch youtube on my big TV.
    I use ArkMC applicatino to get YouTube videos and to send it to tv in few clicks.

  15. Ashwin Ramesh
    January 23, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I think Feedly ought to be ranked one among the top. It has a real neat UI and real quick.

  16. Dipen Shah
    January 23, 2013 at 8:02 am

    really helpfull

  17. JFK
    January 23, 2013 at 6:07 am

    I enjoy Zite every day ; you don't really choose your news source, but the news are curated by subject, and you can like or dislike every item to customize the selection.

  18. Cleyne
    January 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Feedly is definitely my go-to app for reading feeds - it's the cleanest one of them all, not as cramped as pulse, and is the most functional in terms of marking articles as read.

  19. Schvenn Meister
    January 23, 2013 at 2:11 am

    FeedDemon for PC.
    gReader for Android, because of the offline reading.

    • Sampath Iroshan
      January 23, 2013 at 2:53 am

      Yep. I have the paid version of gReader and love it. light weight and fast. with offline reading. and 2 way sync for google reader.

    • ZoNi
      January 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

      One more gReader for Android user! I just love that app.

      (@PC: KlipFolio Personal)

  20. Jake
    January 23, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I also am baffled that Feedly is not on this list! It's a free news reader that has the style and elegance of a paid app.

  21. Michael Sean Wright
    January 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Would have thought Feedly would be right at the top. So clean, quick and beautiful. Watching their growth with Android has been inspiring.