Mr. Reader in Review – New Guy on the Block

The app store hosts many decent RSS news reader apps. None (to my knowledge) have dethroned Reeder (TMA review) as king of them all yet. Mr. Reader, however, showed up a couple months ago and it’s one of the first I’ve seen in a while to challenge the king.

Mr. Reader is an iPad only app and it’s been designed to make good use of the iPad’s large screen. Like most modern RSS news readers, it connects to your (free) Google Reader account, so sign up if you don’t have one. It also has a simple to follow user interface but it’s packed – I mean PACKED with options!

Mr. Reader hosts one of the most complete Google Reader API implementations I’ve seen. It supports shared items, friends’ shared items and tagging. Want to to subscribe to a new feed or cancel an old one? Add/delete folders and manage their contents?  Do you need to rename stuff or cache text/images for offline viewing? No problem, Mr. Reader handles it all within the app. Reeder doesn’t.

You can post to most of the popular social networking sites plus open pages in the Safari, Atomic Web, iCab Mobile, or Mercury web browsers. Do you need E-mail, Instapaper and Read It Later support? Check! Plus there’s lots more.

A feature I really like is the ability to create a task directly in OmniFocus or Things (TMA Review) from Mr. Reader. This is a great way for us who are joined by the hip to our GTD (Getting Things Done) apps to add a new task to our Inboxes with a link to the item’s URL. So whenever we see something we want to spend a little time researching just tap to add it to the queue.

Tagging is another nice feature that allows you to mark feed items with your own predefined categories. This provides a convenient means to group selected articles together for later browsing. New tags can be added as needed to your Google Reader account right from Mr. Reader and tagged articles are easily selected from the left hand menu.

I’ve been using Mr. Reader almost exclusively for the last couple weeks and I must say I like it a lot. It did take a little time to wean myself off the familiar Reeder user interface, but Mr. Reader’s UI is also good.

When displaying a feed item, Mr. Reader shows its summary and provides options to view the details via a web browser, or the decluttered Instapaper Mobilizer or Readability views. After using it a bit, I’ve found these 3 options to be quite handy. Mobilizer and Readability strip off ads and extra cruft, which is much easier on the eyes and sometimes gives a quicker page load.

On the down side, all these options come with a price and that’s speed. If you have 50+ RSS feeds, prepare for a longer sync time than some of the other RSS readers. I’d say this is my biggest gripe, but once sync’d, the app works well and has proven to be very stable.

Mr. Reader a very new app, so I expect performance improvements to follow soon. I plan to continue using it and look forward to its next update.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Mr. ReaderDeveloper: Oliver Fürniß
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req:4.2
Price:$2.99App Size:2.8 MB
  • Plethora of cool options
  • Tag and Folder management
  • Subscribe/unsubscribe to feeds
  • Instapaper Mobilizer and Readability
  • Sluggish, especially when syncing lots of RSS feeds
  • Limited documentation available

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