Even in 2019 there are people who still have not forgiven Google for discontinuing Google Reader. The silver lining was that several alternatives popped up to try to fill the spot that Google inexplicably withdrew from.
One of the strongest apps in the category today is Palabre, a news reader that is as beautiful as customizable.
Developer: LevelUp Studio
Palabre is, at its core, a news reader. You can either use Palabre’s news sources or connect it to Feedly. Regardless of which provider you choose you can view different categories of news (or all at once, if you so desire) in several different layouts and themes.
To start using Palabre, you need to complete its long setup process. First, you need to choose a content provider. You can use either Palabre or Feedly. In addition, you can also add Flickr, Inoreader, The Old Reader, Twitter, and Feedbin.
In case you use Palabre, you can follow different categories, such as News, Tech, Android, and Apple. These categories have different sources inside, but you also have the option of adding sources individually.
Next, you need to choose a layout for the presentation of news. There are three different layouts: magazine, list, or large cards. Magazine is the default, and it shows a combination of large and small cells.
For those of you who prefer to use dark themes wherever possible, Palabre does feature one. The default, however, is a white theme that is not as eye-burning as Google’s latest downgrades to UI on their own apps.
On its main page, Palabre shows you all the news sorted by the time they were published. A tab bar at the top lets you change to different categories (you can also swipe to either direction to change between tabs).
News show an image, the title, the source, and a small description. Even though it is loading news from several different places and getting images from a lot of sources, the app is buttery smooth and barely slows down.
I am testing on a OnePlus 6, but I also have an old LG G Tab 8.3 and Palabre does not stutter there either.
You will find a hamburger menu to the left to check individual sources, along with the amount of unread news. There is also a very convenient History option, in which you can go back to news you have previously read. This is something that Feedly has failed to introduce in all these years.
Upon clicking on an article you like, the news reader is opened. This shows the article’s image on top, along with a share button. The article itself is shown below. At the end of it, a big “Visit Website” button is displayed, which takes you to an in-app browser that shows the article on the original website.
After the news article, there are three buttons: Readability, Keep Unread, and Share. Readability lets you read the article without distractions, and Keep Unread is self-explanatory. The share button is a little baffling, since there is one at the top already.
Something very nice is that Palabre has a section called “Similar content,” which is exactly that. I don’t know how it determines that an article is similar to another, but it is something nice to have regardless.
Normally, apps do not include this many settings to choose from, but Palabre has so much customization that it merits its own section. There are six different settings categories: Syncing, Display, Quick Actions, Reading, Notifications, and Other.
Syncing deals with the automatic background syncing of the app. You can set it to as short as 15 minutes or as long as 16 hours. There is also an option to turn it off altogether, or only doing it on WiFi.
You can also activate an offline mode, in which Palabre fetches the article itself instead of only the metadata, so that you can read it without an active connection.
Display deals with fonts, colors, images, and other options that deal with the article’s appearance. Quick actions are shortcuts on each news cell, which can be customized. For example, you can tap a corner to mark an article as read or share it.
Reading gives you the choice of controlling stuff like full screen or navigating with volume keys. Notifications control… notifications. Lastly, the Other category deals with data collection, beta community, feedback, licenses, and privacy policies.
Palabre offers a fully-featured news reader in a package that is fast, beautiful, and customizable. From the multiple source categories to the beautiful magazine-style interface to the insane amount of options, Palabre is the go-to news reader app. After using it, going back to Feedly felt like living in the Stone Age for me.