Review: Make it or News Break it? Go for the Former

News Break should be an excellent app. Pulling all the popular sources together in one place and allowing you to read them even when you haven’t got an internet connection, it should make scouring the web for news a thing of the past. However, though it does do the job, it doesn’t do it particularly well. The sources from which you can grab news are all well and good, with a good selection from the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There’s even a function within the app where you can send an email directly to the developers to request additional news sources be added. Sadly, though, the rest of the features just aren’t up to scratch.

The app is simple to set up – you simply go to ‘Manage Favourites’ and tap the titles which appear to select the ones you want, then click ‘Done’ when you’re finished. Add or remove sources as necessary. From then on you can navigate directly to these sources every time you open the app. Once you’ve selected your chosen source, after the first use, you must make sure you drag the screen downwards to prompt the app to load up new stories. I thought this was pretty poor, to be honest. It’s not obvious this is what you have to do, so you could be left staring at a screen with old news on it for some time, until you work out you’ve got to do something to refresh.

Once you’re set up and collecting stories from all the places you want to be, you can navigate through them checking out the headlines and even narrowing the information down by genre. For example, within News Break the BBC News website gives you the option to look at front page news, UK, Business, Health, Science, Technology and many, many more. So if there’s a specific type of news that you’re interested in, it’s easy to find.

This, however, is where things start to go rapidly downhill. When you’ve found a headline that’s piqued your interest, clicking on it, as you’d expect, takes you to the full article. Sadly, rather than taking you to a nicely laid out page containing the story in an easy to read format, you’re simply taken to the page of the website you want to view, within the app. This was a total disappointment and is a nightmare to read, despite the functionality to make the text bigger or smaller as you wish. A real oversight by the developer, if you ask me. The stories should be viewable in a dedicated mobile format.

Once you’ve read and digested the news, you may decide you want to share it. Pulling up a menu gives you the following options: Open in Safari (which you may be fooled into thinking you’ve done already); Email Link and Post to Facebook. The second two options are fine, but in another oversight, SMS and Twitter have been missed off. News is incredibly viral, so you want to make it as easy as possible for people to share – and sadly News Break only has it half right.

Overall, News Break was a let down. Yes, it delivers the news from the sources you want it to. But so would downloading an RSS app and adding the feeds you want. To improve this app, the developers need to think long and hard about the readability of the stories once they’ve been clicked, and give the app some more TLC.

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App Summary
Title: News BreakDeveloper: OS3
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$1.99App Size:0.5 MB
  • A good selection of news source
  • You can request additional sources
  • Easy to use
  • Is essentially just a collection of RSS feeds
  • Poor, difficult to read layout
  • Sources do not refresh automatically when you fire up the app
  • Posting the story via SMS and Twitter should also have been an option

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This review of  News Break was brought to you by TouchMyApps Contributor Lucy Felthouse. You can find her on Twitter here

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