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Feedly

Feedly is a fresh, bright RSS reader that integrates smoothly with Google Reader and comes with a host of settings, functions and options. There is also a Google Chrome application for syncing your RSS experiences between your phone and computer. The app comes with a funky widget too, so you can get your feeds direct to your homescreen.

Feedly is a fresh looking RSS feeder that provides a cool alternative to Google Reader. If you’re like me, you like to keep track of a lot of blogs and news sites, Feedly is a great app to have. Personally, a good reader is something that loads and refreshes quickly, has a nice UI and is easy to use. Feedly does a great job of ticking these boxes. You initially log in with your Google details and the app quickly loads your feeds into a smart list. It also gives you an optional list of further interesting feeds, great if you want to discover new blogs and news sources. Quite at random I stumbled upon a very funky photography feed called The Impossible Cool.

The stories/blogs load quickly and are presented nicely and easy to read. On the whole I found this quite intuitive and enjoyable. RSS Readers are frameworks for what you really get out of apps like this- the blogs and stories. To do its job well then a RSS Reader needs to be smart and intuitive- you don’t want the hassle of configuring too much if you don’t want to. Feedly does this really well and you can easily just dive in and be reading your subscribed blogs with little delay. I did do a bit of a speed test between Google Reader and Feedly and did find the Google app a little quicker, but I would perhaps argue that Feedly looks a bit cooler. Feedly also comes with a nice little 4×1 widget that sits nicely on your home screen. I have quite a lot of news sources on my home screen so wouldn’t normally use a widget, but for some people this might be a nice touch.

One thing I quite like in a reader app, is the ability to switch from white background and black letters to black background with white letters. It just makes for a more pleasant experience when reading at night- not having something bright shining in your face when your eyes are tired! Feedly can do this and you can invert the normal layout for something less bright. It’s little things like this that demonstrates the thought that has gone into the development of the app, and gets a big thumbs up from me.

Feedly is not completely with its faults however. There is a slight lag (and I mean really slight) compared to Google reader, but if you can see around this, it’s still relatively speedy. There’s an odd thing that occurs with the home screen in that it occasionally gets stuck on ‘loading’, which is a minor irritation but perhaps something the developers need to look at. I also found that when you clicked the home button, the transition to that screen from the former didn’t quite complete, leaving the screen with a narrow white strip down one side. These are all quite minor issues that could easily be rectified in an update however.

For people who like to keep up with their subscribed blogs, Feedly is a superb alternative to Google Reader. The inclusion of additional feeds, to let you explore new sources is a useful addition to the application. You can also save articles to your ReadItLater or Instapaper accounts, in addition to the usual sharing options most news readers have.

Feedly is a breeze to use, the feeds are easy to open and the app refreshes promptly. The screens are bright and easy to use, but the app comes with a variety of options to increase font size etc.

Many users could make this an app they use daily. I tend to dive into my blog subscriptions once or twice a week, but this really is down to the user and their own reading schedule.

The interface is a strong point of this app and is generally smooth and fun to use. As mentioned I found ever-so-slight lag compared to Google Reader, but this really did not interfere much with user experience.

Should you Download Feedly? If you’re getting a bit tired of the relative blandness of Google Reader, Feedly might well be the application for you. It has some minor issues, but on the whole it is a really useful and intuitive application to use. It provides a number of cool features and has a great interface. Feedly is free in the Android Marketplace and I strongly recommend you try it out.

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Reviewed by Matt on 19 November 2011

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