Reader Review – Feeds

On January 31, 2009

I am I huge fan of WOiP and check it more often than any other iPhone feed by far (username: derickvaladao).  I recently bought Byline off your recommendation and really enjoyed it.  However, I started to dislike it for a number of reasons.  First, they rarely engage with their user community and updates are few and far between.  Second, their app is really slow when trying to handle a large amount of folders.

I recently went searching for a better app and stumbled across Feeds by prime31 software.  They launched their first version a while back and it wasn’t very impressive.  However, they have been updating it regularly and actively engaging with their customers to make the product better.  I purchased it last night and realized that it is better than Byline in a number of ways:

1. Prev/Next is not on the right hand side.  The arrows are in the center of the top navigation bar for easy and unobstructed access by both righties and lefties.
2. Near full Integration with GReader.  I doesn’t merely sync.  It maintains folder and feed hierarchy, shows actual unread count (not just how many unread items are stored locally), allows you to edit feeds and move them between folders, and allows you to add/edit folders right on your phone.  Heck, it even shows unread counts that are over 1000 where GReader just shows (1000+).  The only things it’s missing is friends shares and notes.
3. Themes.  I personally got tired of Byline’s wood interface.  Feeds defaults to a green interface.  However, if you dislike that, you can choose others from the springboard settings menu.  You can choose from Green (default), Blue (similar to Safari and Mail), Black, and Orange.
4. Speed.  Feeds is amazingly fast.  It syncs items quickly and feels much snappier for the most part.

There are some issues though:
1. There is this nasty bug that hangs the entire interface after syncing with GReader.  It scales with the number of feeds.  I’ve got over 140, so I get stuck with 5-6 second waits where I can’t do anything with the app.  I was really frustrated with this until I read their blog.  Apparently, Reader integration is less than 2 months old and they just reworked their sync logic which hangs the app up.  In response, they let everybody know that they are re-writing their app to fix the problem.  I was really impressed by this and decided to grin and bear it for now.
2. To the best of my knowledge, Feeds doesn’t archive web pages.  If you are in offline mode and try to visit the web-page, you’ll be out of luck.  I don’t particularly mind this as I have a data connection most of the time.
On the whole, I’m really happy I found this app and I think a lot of other people currently searching for a Google Reader solution for their iPhone might like try give it a look.  If you guys try and talk to the developer you might even be lucky enough to get some promo codes.  I really like the site and what it’s doing for the iPhone community.  I’d be reneging on my small responsibility of making the community a better place if i didn’t give a not to a good app every once in a while.