The Nexus 7 is one of the best devices to read anything on. There are a number of news reading apps for Android. I’m going to rundown three of the best for the Nexus 7: Google Currents, Feedly, and Flipboard.
Currents comes preloaded on the Nexus and is made by Google. It has a minimal design, but still very “Holo” looking. The top half of the home screen is a slide show of top stories of your subscriptions. The bottom is just a grid of icons. Click on one and you get a nice magazine layout, three articles to a page. Of course, this depends on what the author chooses, but that’s what it is for most. Because it’s on Android, it takes advantage of the enormous share menu.
- Minimal and clean interface
- Lots of popular blogs free to subscribe to.
- Each article is nicely formatted. It’s up to each producer to customize their content, but no matter what each looks nice.
- Blogs that aren’t featured sources can be added through a search or via your own Google Reader subscriptions.
- So far, the only news app that doesn’t organize content by category. Also, compared to the others, it doesn’t easily show top news stories at a quick glance. The slide show it does have isn’t very helpful.
- Also the only one that doesn’t have a widget. I find those handy, again at a quick glance.
I really want to like Currents. It’s nice to read, but I feel like I have to go out of my way to even open it. The other apps I reviewed all have easy ways into the app, like widgets and top story filtering. It seems as though Google made the app with big dreams for its future and just forgot about it.
If you haven’t heard about this one, I want to know where you’ve been. A practically necessary app for the iPad. It was exclusively available for the Samsung Galaxy SIII then opened up for all Android soon after. I wonder about this: it started as an iPad app, then it was ported to Android for phones. Then it was available for the iPhone. Yet there is no native Android tablet version. Either way it doesn’t look bad on the 7″ screen.
- The real reason Flipboard is such an amazing app is that it combines almost every social network you could have (Twitter, Google+, Google Reader, Tumblr, Instagram, more) and pulls the content from links and pictures. Combine that with a beautiful magazine-like flipping gesture and an easy to access “Cover Stories” section.
- Sizable home screen widget.
- Curated feed bundles by topic and certain cities.
- Some podcast feeds.
- Inconsistent content viewing. I don’t know what it’s like on an iPad, but since the format was made for a smaller phone screen, the article views are odd. Some sources use the flipping animation. Some just open up a web page within the app. Sometimes the font is small, sometimes big, sometimes serif fonts, sometimes sans.
I have a love/hate relationship with Flipboard. The design is great and I love seeing all my social feeds in one place. Not to mention the fact that the Facebook integration is so much better than the actual Facebook app. But, for my money (they’re all free), other apps handle news better.
Feedly is actually a front-end for Google Reader with both a desktop app (via browser addon) and mobile apps. Because it syncs with Google Reader, all the apps sync with each other. The app is simple to use. It takes advantage of gestures and has read later app integration. Pocket is my app of choice. If a link is tapped, it opens up a browser in the app, then an option to de-clutter the web page appears, which allows just text to be read.
- Home Screen Widget. The beta version is an improvement, and that should show up in the next update of the app.
- Web app syncing.
- Easy to read top/new stories
- Pre-bundled subscriptions by topic for new users.
- It maybe just me, but every so often, the app freezes up and registers a long press without my finger. The long press bookmarks an article. So, afterwards, I have to clean up my Pocket queue.
- The app also logs me out of my Google account every now and then.
This is my favorite news reader. I’ve been using Google Reader as my RSS feed reader for years and this app makes it usable and pretty, on both my browser and my device. It has a few annoyances, but the benefits far outweigh them.