I have loads of different websites that I follow whenever I have some down time. Whether I’m at work, home, or out and about for the day, I usually always check out my RSS feeds, and I also check out anything else that I missed, right before I hit the hay for the day. On my iPad and iPhone, I use Unread, which is a new, but beautifully minimal designed RSS reader that is on the top of the list of my favorite iOS applications. When moving to my HTC One M8 or Nexus 5, I never really got settled into an RSS reader, due to how darn picky I can be. Upon joining AndroidGuys, I decided to revisit the situation, and am here to bring you a breakdown of some of the top paid RSS apps available on the Play Store today.
Now before I get started, I must mention that while looking for an RSS reader, I look for Instapaper integration. That way if I want to read something at a different time, I can do so. When I was using Android exclusively, I remember taking a really long look at Press. It’s beautifully designed, the fact that a dark theme (I love dark themes) was included, and that it easily synced with Feedly after Google Reader went bye bye. After you have set up your Feedly account, and everything has synced up, you are presented with a unique “home” layout.
The Home “hub” is divided into the specific categories that you created within Feedly, where each of your feeds are displayed. The dots on the right hand side of the screen represent an estimation of how many articles are unread within each category. For example, in the screenshot above, you can see one dot representing the fact that I haven’t missed many articles within my Android section. However, within my Apple category I have a lot of articles that I haven’t skimmed through yet. This is the first instance where Instapaper comes into play. I will skim through my RSS feeds, and if I see something more in depth than a news topic, I will save it to Instapaper, and read it later in the day, or when time allows.
There are also three different sections at the top of the Press hub, where you can view your unread RSS feeds, the feeds you’ve already read, and an specific articles that you’ve starred during your RSS adventures. When you’re within a specific article in your RSS feeds, there are a few more buttons to press and play around with. At the top, you can set the specific article to read or unread, favorite the article for later, share, and the menu overflow to access the settings of Press. At the bottom, there is an arrow pointing left to go to the previous article, a icon to view the article in Readability mode, and an arrow pointing to the right, to move onto the next article.
In terms of the settings, Press has a bunch of different specific settings that you can change and set, so that you get the best experience out of Press. Everything can be adjusted. From the Automatic Syncing that Press performs with your RSS aggregator of choice, to the various “Reading” settings which allows you to change how you view your RSS feeds within Press. There is also a settings panel to change and adjust the way that Press displays your RSS feeds via the built in widget. The two different widgets are an overall widget that you can either choose to see all the unread articles, or a counter to see how many articles are piling up in Press.
Press is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular RSS reader available on the Play Store, and it’s definitely up there in terms of being one of my favorite apps for Android. If you’ve been on the fence about Press, you can grab it via the Play Store widget for $2.99, and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
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Amber RSS Reader
Another candidate for the most used RSS reader on my HTC One M8, is Amber. I first learned about Amber via Google+ after I saw that the developer was asking for beta testers. While I’ve been in and out of testing the betas for awhile, the current version on the Play Store satisfies my needs just as well. Unlike Press, where your RSS feeds are separated into their specific categories, Amber separates your unread articles, into whichever websites you follow. However, if you pull open the Navigation Window, all of your overall categories are displayed for you to select individually.
Something that Amber does, that Press does not, is allow you to add more content to your RSS feeds from within the application. With Press, you would need to go to your RSS aggregator, add the specific site, move to the specific category (if you chose to), then you can reap the benefits of Press. Amber allows you to simply hit the “Add Content” button, type in the site that you’re looking for, and voila, you’ve added more content to your already crowded RSS feed. Once you’ve added your latest feed, if you want to categorize it, simply slide over the Navigation bar, go to “Uncategorized” press and hold on the feed you just added, and hit the “tag” logo.
While reading through your RSS feeds, if you see something you’d like to read, tap the article, and it displays it within immersive mode. This setting can be changed easily, so don’t think there’s no choice. At the top of the screen there are only three options, Favorite, Mark Read, and Share. While there aren’t navigation buttons at the bottom of the page, like Press, you can simply swipe to the left to read the next article, or right, to go back to the previous article. In order to get back to the main overview of feeds, simply tap the name of the feed you are currently on, in the top right hand corner, and Amber will take you back to the previous panel.
In regards to the customizable settings for Amber, the developer really put a lot of thought into allowing users to make Amber their own. You can customize all the normal options, like refresh frequency, and the traditional appearance settings, but they went a step further and allow you to change the over all App Theme Color, which is something that I had never seen before I used Amber. Usually, that’s pre-determined by the developer, and it doesn’t bother me, but the fact that it’s something else that I can play around with, it’s an added bonus.
Just as you would expect, the developer of Amber has added the ability to have a widget on your home screen. There are, of course, customizable options found within the Settings panel, so that you can have your widget appear just how you’d like it to. There are two different widget themes available, Light and Dark, but you can customize the Widget Title Color, and the Widget Snippet Color to your liking. I played around with these once or twice, but ended up going back to “stock” because I liked the way that everything looked that way.
If you want to give Amber a shot, head on over to the Play Store via the widget below for only $1.99. So for a dollar cheaper, you get a few more customizable options, but more importantly, you can adjust Amber to your liking from top to bottom.
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The final paid RSS reader we’ll be taking a look at today, is Reader+. While I wanted to keep this list as short as possible, and having Amber and Press already been number one and two in my arsenal, finding the third featured RSS reader, proved to be a difficult task. I went based off of trying to keep the cost below $3, while still trying to find the best bang for the buck. Enter Reader+. If I didn’t want to be a cheap-skate, I could’ve picker up gReader, one of the most popular RSS readers on the Play Store, but I decided to “settle” for Reader+.
If you thought Amber was jam-packed with settings and customizable options, you haven’t played around with Reader+ yet. When I first started up Reader+, I was impressed, but a little annoyed at the same time, until I started poking around. After you’ve signed in with Feedly, all of your RSS articles are thrown right in front of you. No organization, just a scrollable list. This scrollable list has options on the left to star the article, and a checkbox on the right to mark an article as read. The expected buttons at the top for Sync, Mark Read, and the overflow menu are in plain site, and there is a Navigation drawer that can be pulled out from the left. This is where I started to become more impressed with Reader+.
The Navigation bar isn’t anything fancy, but the way that it is designed is what caught my attention. Like Amber, your specified categories are displayed here. You can simply tap each category to display all of the articles, or expand upon the category, and select specific feeds to be displayed, if you choose. Once you’ve selected any feed, the same scrollable list appears with whatever category or site, you’ve chosen. Once you have selected a specific article to read, you have the same ole’ three options in the top right for marking as read, sharing, and the overflow menu. I like that all of these apps have that, even if it does get redundant while looking at all three.
Once you’ve scrolled through and read which ever article you choose to, you are presented with a couple of different options, that aren’t found in Amber or Press. You will see two options, Mobilized and Original. If you tap on mobilized, you will not see any images that have been added to the original article, and for some reason, if you just keep scrolling downwards, the rest of the posts within the feed will be viewable. If you select Original, Reader+ takes you to the mobile site of whichever article you are currently reading. Sometimes this comes in handy for articles like Cliff Wade’s Icon Packs, where the article spans more than just one page. Personally, unless I am viewing a longer article, I’ll usually just keep the article within Reader+, without hitting either options.
Settings is where the fun begins, The overflow menu on the main page, offers a little bit more than Press or Amber. Since there are those pesky checkboxes, you can toggle whether you want to hide the items that you’ve already read. If you want to be able to view the featured image of an article, as well as a little bit more of the first paragraph, you can toggle Expand button and view your articles in this fashion. Diving into the Settings panel itself, there are your usual suspects, like Appearance, Synchronization, and General, but you can also edit your subscriptions, as well as set up specific notifications when new items are available within Reader+.
Finally, while there is not a specific panel within Settings for your widget, have no fear, Reader+ has allowed users to change those settings when they add the widget to their home screen. Just like Press, there are two different widgets. The 4×2 widget is for you to be able to view the articles in a list format, while the 1×1 widget is simply a badge notifier to show you how many articles are awaiting you. Within the widget configuration for the 4×2 widget, you can choose which feed you would like to be able to view, whether you want a specific feed, or all of your items. There are also toggles to show only unread items, view items within your browser, and show the featured image for whatever articles are in your feed.
Reeder+ may be on it’s way to taking the top spot for my favorite RSS reader on my Android devices. Only time will tell, but I can promise you one thing, Reeder+ took a lot of attention away from Press or Amber. You can pick up Reeder+ from the Play Store for a cool $1.99, and you surely will not be disappointed.
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This wraps up my top 3 paid RSS readers available today on the Play Store. New and exciting RSS readers are popping up every day, no matter what platform you are on, and it’s exciting to see. The beautiful thing about all three of these, is the integration with Feedly, as well as the fact that they all do RSS feeds a little differently. What are you using to keep track of your news? Do you even view RSS feeds on your devices, or do you just keep track of everything via bookmarks or Twitter/Google+? Leave a comment below, letting us know what you’re favorite RSS application is, or if you have any questions about any of the apps you’ve seen today.