iPhone App Review: Newsstand

iPhone App Review: Newsstand

February 10th, 2009 by

Get all your news with a touch of your finger. Newsstand is one of those hidden gems. I actually had to do a bit of research before I even found out about it. From OMZ:Software, makers of the popular delicious.com app Tags. With it’s simplistic design and “Newsstand” function this is one of the best RSS aggregators I’ve seen on the iPhone.

Newsstand is simple, easy to use, and fun. You start out by adding your feeds, which is made easy. You only have to enter in the host website’s URL, e.g. www.freshapps.com. It will then find the RSS feed and add it to your list. Each feed in your list is represented by the name and the favicon of the sight it is from. For those who don’t know, a favicon is the small icon that shows up on the address bar of the most web browsers.

You can create folders and categories to organize your feeds, which is extremely useful. As you would expect, you can file down into each feed, by choosing the feed, then the story and so on. Of course, one of the most important features of an RSS reader is the “mark all as read” button, which is represented as a check mark in the lower right corner.

Newsstand has a built in web browser, now it’s no alternative to safari, but it is very clean and simple. With a farward, back, done and Open Safari button is is completely what I would expect in a good RSS reader.

While viewing posts I like the ability to flag them, as well as post them to delicious.com or send them as email. The theme feature has potential but right now seems a bit forced and gimmicky so i don’t really bother with it personally.

These features alone are enough to make a worthy RSS reader, but Newsstand takes it a step further with it’s take on Cover Flow. Turn your device in landscape orientation and you are presented with — go figure — a newsstand! You can drag through your different “newspapers”, then double tap one to open it up and see what is inside. Now I have to admit that inside the newspaper the interface does not live up to the rest of the app — it is rather simple to the max — but it gets the job done and isn’t a problem at all. You can then double tap an article to open it in the Safari browser and finish your news there.

Newsstand has earned itself a place on my iPods app dock, right next to Mail. I use it almost as much, checking the latest news on Engadget and Gizmodo and, of course, Freshapps.com! Newsstand is the most feature rich and seamless RSS application on the app store as of right now, it feels solid, complete and smooth. If you follow a lot of blogs, have a hunger for news and or $5 to spend, then I suggest you pick up Newsstand from the iTunes App Store today.

For those who are looking for a free alternative, keep your eye out, I’ll be writing a roundup of the best FREE RSS readers for the iPhone soon. Let me know what you use and what you think. I’m always happy to get feedback even if it isn’t the most positive.

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