Read It Later is one our favourite content-saving tools, and this week it received a complete overhaul bringing a new name, UI, feature set and price tag (it’s now free!) to the table. But has its rebirth set it ahead of its competitors?
There was a time when the market for ‘read it later’ apps was scarce, but now there’s plenty of competition, with clients such as Readability and Papermill providing similar services. The main reason for its saturation was the speed at which the demand for this type of service took off – some of you are probably reading this article through a ‘read it later’ client now!
One of the forerunners of apps focused on saving articles for later was ‘Read it Later’. When it first launched it had a great UI and a vast feature set (check out Rita’s previous review for more details). But one year on, the interface was beginning to pale in comparison to other reading apps and so the team behind it decided that it was time to reinvent the app’s image, and so Pocket was born – boasting a new interface, feature set and name to its predecessor, but does it stand out in the now competitive market for apps that save articles for consumption later?
When you think of an app whose primary function is to save web content for consumption later on, a vast set of features is not what you expect, but with Pocket this is exactly what the app provides. The era when these type of apps provide barebones functionality is now long gone, and Pocket aims to lead this change with its trendsetting feature set.
Upon starting up the app you are presented with an easy to follow tutorial which will introduce you to fundamentals for saving later. The tutorials are easy to follow and might even teach you a new thing or two!
The most important feature of any app for saving content is, obviously, the actual reading back of the content. There is a host of features built right into Pocket which make this process very simple and aesthetically pleasing. For example, if you find that the screen’s brightness is uncomfortable while reading an article it can easily be changed without even leaving the app! You can also change the font size, enable night mode, adjust the thickness of the text and the spacing all from the same dialog!
Another very important part of any app of this kind is the ability to save to it. Thankfully, Pocket takes advantage of an awesome Android feature to do this, by building it into the ‘Share’ menu. This means that apps that support the Share menu (and a lot do!) will all integrate seamlessly with the Pocket experience. So if you’re browsing through articles in Pulse or Google Reader and you decide you want to send it to Pocket, you can do it with two taps. For those of you lucky enough to own a Kindle Fire, fret not: Pocket’s got you covered as well! It’s well integrated into the Kindle due to its Android architecture – a feature sure to keep all the bookworms happy.
A personal favourite feature of Pocket is how the app co-exists on several different platforms. This means that if I save an article through Google Reader’s app to Pocket it can easily be accessed from my iPad or desktop PC. This is especially handy as if you someday forget your iPhone for your commute your articles are still easily accessible through a selection of different channels.
Saving articles via your computer is also a simple task. Pocket provides a very simple to use bookmarklet that, once placed in your browser bookmarks, can be activated in one click, saving the article to the app. This process is very fast and it often takes under five seconds for it to send the webpage to Pocket. If you’re using Chrome they have also developed a handy extension that rests in your address bar and can save articles in a few clicks!
Of course, sometimes it’s not a webpage or article you want to save at all; instead it could be anything from a YouTube video to an email. Thankfully Pocket supports a plethora of mediums for later consumption.
The User Interface
Similar to functionality, ‘read it later’ apps are also not known for possessing a stunning interface, and once again, Pocket changes this for the better. The dark and dull UI present in previous iterations in the app has been completely wiped out with little to no remnants left behind, and is instead replaced with a bright, colourful and appealing UI.
The first part of the interface that you will catch a glimpse of is where all of your articles are shown and presented to you. They are presented in a very neat and easy to use manner. You are able to see the title of the post and a small extract of it. It is presented on a light background on which the black text contrasts easily against ensuring that the text pops out of the screen.
When reading articles the interface is also pleasant. When you first open the article you are presented with a selection of options at the bottom of the screen letting you mark the article as read, star it, change font size and share amongst other things. I really like these icons as apart from the obvious functionality the provide, they also look really good, blending in seamlessly with the text.
As I said above, there is a vast selection of options you can select to adjust the font. This really adds a well needed layer of customization to the app and there will definitely be a combination for everyone!
Overall, as I’m sure you’ve deducted by now, Pocket’s UI is nothing short of amazing and it definitely sets the trend for similar apps.
As you can see, Pocket is definitely a worthy candidate for your read it later app of choice, in fact. I’ve now made it mine, and have uninstalled Readability. Happy reading everybody!