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Simple RSS App Sputnik Stays Out of Your Way So You Can Read

Justin Pot 11-11-2013

Still looking for an RSS reader? Try something simple. Sputnik [Broken URL Removed] (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 Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Do you hunger for the best desktop and mobile RSS reader ever made? For both the hungry and the hopeful, Feedly satisfies. Read More , 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 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:



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:


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 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:



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 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] 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 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.


Sputnik [Broken URL Removed] 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.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Ashok K
    January 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I really like this app, it is cool and easy to use. It's working fine on my netbook which is most important for me. Many thanks for this app and article.

  2. Ashok K
    December 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I've tried many desktop avtaars but nothing works good on my 10" netbook. Still searching for one that works for me and let me read without distraction. I'm definetly going to give Sputnik a try. Can anyone suggest other alternatives with really interface.

  3. smaragdus
    November 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Downloaded, tested, deleted. For me it is ugly, basic and unhandy as it offers almost no customization. I would not say it is miles behind RSSOwl and QuiteRSS, the best RSS readers I have tried (I have tested virtually all news aggregators available) because Sputnik simply cannot be compared to these two gems which are rich in features, powerful and highly customizable. Sputnik is a typically modern application- dumb, feeble and unusable.

  4. sarathmedia
    November 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    The Best to my experience is:

    For Mac - Readkit (paid !)
    For Windows - FeedDemon (Free)
    Online - Netvibes

    Thanks for the article.

  5. Guy M
    November 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    It must ship with some sort of web server as a base to run the node.js and webkit on. That would explain the size.

  6. jdt
    November 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    24 meg for a RSS reader. Think I'll skip !!

    • Ramandeep S
      November 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      It's 54 MB after extraction. That softw. is in raw form now. Needs to be lightweight and much more features and settings.

    • STR8TeK9
      November 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      must be short on space lol
      im gd 12 tb

  7. Loke2112
    November 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for the tip Justin Im trying this out now. Im also very happy I found your site as it's very informative.

  8. Sarah Daymon
    November 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Sputnik and NextGen are far too clunky. I would go with QuiteRSS or Great News, both far better. Especially Great News. Hasn`t been updated for awhile, but its hard to beat and very reliable.

    • Ramandeep S
      November 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      The biggest disadvantage with QuiteRSS is when it starts something, you can't stop it. Another one is when you right click on a feed just to tag it, the reader thinks we left clicked it and starts loading loading whole feed. It's just too much out of control. Also don't have search engines like FeedDemon.
      If I say in favor, it's really good reader. Much sleeker and beautiful than FeedDemon. Shows webpages best if you decide to open in a new tab. Plays YT videos smoothly. Has a very good tagging system. I rate it 2.5 for myself and 3.5 for others (out of 5).

      It just needs improvement based on user suggestions and it can become best feed reader. I loved it but because of drawbacks I uninstalled it.

    • Ramandeep S
      November 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      donationware. LOL.

      OT: I always prefer natively installed feed readers. Just there should be some service which is available online and as a client both. So we can take advantage of bliss reading and everything remain synced online. When my internet goes off, my native feed reader is my best friend to keep me engaged.