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As a tech writer, I read a lot of RSS feeds. Hundreds, maybe more. All day, every day. It's one of the first things I check every morning, and the last before bed. And dozens of times throughout the day. When I first started as a writer, Google Reader was my go-to RSS reader, both on my PCs and mobile. It didn't take long to realize GR's shortcomings on both platforms, however. So, after a little convincing from Artem, I switched to FeedDemon on my computers. It's a fantastic application and has increased my ability to find good, relevant content by at least 10 fold.

The problem has been - up until this point - most of the RSS readers on Android are, let's say, not very good. Even Google's own offering leaves a lot to be desired. Recently, however, both Artem and I discovered gReader. Initially, it had a few software quirks - lockups on sync that would sometimes result in ANR (Application Not Responding) dialogs and slow, "choppy" performance, mostly - but Artem has been working with the developer to iron out those issues. With the latest updates, it's now almost the perfect RSS reader. It has several of the features that make me love FeedDemon so much on my PCs, which is a godsend on mobile.

With that, let's take a look at what makes it so good and how it differs from Google Reader.

Screenshot_2012-09-10-10-59-41 Screenshot_2012-09-07-14-53-55

Left: Google Reader; Right: gReader (both on the Nexus 7)

Interface

For starters, gReader's interface is leaps and bounds ahead of Google Reader. It offers so many features that are clutch to a good, intuitive experience when dealing with a heavy load of RSS feeds, as well as Google Reader (the service) synchronization. Whereas Google Reader (the app) is very, very basic in terms of how you view feeds, gReader provides a full, desktop-like experience.

Screenshot_2012-09-10-11-03-29 Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-53-27

Google Reader's sort options vs. gReader's

With gReader, feeds can be organized by folders or date published - a feature frustratingly absent from Google Reader, which can only sort feeds by date or "by magic." gReader also offers multiple feed views for quick browsing: it can show full folder and feed lists, as well as a "grid view" that offers small headline snippets with images, or a rich list that displays the first few lines of an article alongside the headline. This makes quickly choosing which articles to actually read a breeze.

Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-55-11 Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-55-28

Left: gReader's Grid View; Right: Rich List

The tablet issue... and the solution

And that's just the beginning of what gReader does so well. Along the titlebar you'll find quick access to basically anything you would need to manipulate the feed: search, change views, refresh, all feeds / unread only toggle, and mark as read. No need to dig through menus or long-press anything; just simply hit a button and it's done. It's a tremendous time-saver.

gReader_titlebar

Tablet titlebar: search, sort options, view (grid, rich list, etc.), refresh, all articles/unread only toggle, marks as read, settings

gReader also features different interfaces for tablets and phones, and unlike Google Reader, it actually uses the tablet interface on the Nexus 7 (see the first two screenshots in this article). That's one thing I've always hated about Google's official client - a 7" display is definitely large enough to support a dual-pane interface. This brings me to another point: the dev of gReader got the spacing between the two panels right. The tablet interface on Google Reader is a wonky one, as it's nearly split down the middle.

Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-59-40- Screenshot_2012-09-10-10-55-34

Screenshot_2012-09-10-11-26-25 Screenshot_2012-09-10-11-26-15

Top Left: Google Reader on The TF700; Top Right: gReader on the TF700; Bottom: gReader on the Nexus 7

There's no reason to have the folders take up nearly half the screen! If it wasn't designed this way, then perhaps it would actually work on a 7" tablet. Doesn't really matter, though, because gReader fixes that issue with ease. The layout is basically perfect, in both portrait and landscape. Not only that, but the fonts are substantially smaller in gReader (though not unreadable) compared to Google Reader, so you get more content per screen.

Screenshot_2012-09-07-14-04-02

It's amazing on phones, too

The phone interface is equally as intuitive, but instead of having all the navigation in the top bar, it splits it up between top and bottom. Otherwise, it functions exactly the same as it does on a tablet, with options for rich lists, grid view, and the like all just a touch away.

greader_top_bottom

Top and bottom nav bars in the phone interface: menu, feeds/feeds and tags, add feed, settings; bottom: refresh, marks as read, all articles/unread only

Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-58-48 Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-58-31

With gReader, marking individual stories and entire feeds as read is super easy. Each entry has a checkbox beside it, so you can quickly run through and tick the items to mark off the list. No more long-pressing just to mark something as read, which is brilliant. It works wonderfully. The app is also "smart" enough to kick you back to the folder list when you mark a folder as read, and, unlike Google Read, it can mark an entire feed as read instantly (Reader usually takes 5-10 seconds for larger feeds). For those who don't check RSS every minute of every day (like Artem and I do), there's a feature that can quickly mark all items as read older than a certain time (e.g. 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, etc.). It's awesome.

Settings: The power under the hood

Up to this point, we've really only scratched the surface of gReader: the interface and basic features. The things that really makes this an insanely powerful reader, though, can be found in the settings menu. It's loaded full of incredibly useful options. Unlike some applications with tons of features, however, there's nothing superfluous here. Every option has some sort of usefulness to the nature of the app - it's great.

Screenshot_2012-09-07-13-59-30 Screenshot_2012-09-07-14-09-27 Screenshot_2012-09-07-14-09-40 Screenshot_2012-09-07-14-09-50

Everything from sync options to themes, notifications, and caching options can be found here. You have full control over basically every aspect of the app; nearly everything can be modified in some way or another. To dig through all the various settings is a task in itself, but one that's very much worth it in order to get everything set up perfectly. Want automatic feed sync and unread notifications? Done. How about offline caching so you can read even while not online? No problem. You can even change the user agent of the built-in browser here. Amazing.

gReader also has integration (for sharing) with G+, Facebook, and Twitter; as well as apps like Pocket and Instapaper. When I said this app has everything, I wasn't lying. Anything that you could possibly want from an RSS reader on your mobile device is here, and it's done flawlessly.

Pro Version

gReader_widget_settings gReader_widget_optionsgReader_widgets_resized

Top: gReader widget options (Pro only); Bottom: the actual widgets. They're resizable in ICS and Jelly Bean!

With all these insane features, you probably expect a pretty hefty price tag to go with it, right? Wrong. In fact, there's a free, nearly full-featured version of the app. The Pro version removes ads, brings better widgets, podcatching, and voice reading to the app, but that's it. The free version is completely useable by itself.

With all that this app has to offer, though, it's well worth the $5 for the Pro version if for nothing else than to support the dev. He has clearly spent a lot of time developing an amazing application.

You really should have it installed. Lucky for you, there are two widgets down below to help make that happen.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://twitter.com/KickingLettuce Kicking Lettuce

    As a Google Reader addict, I will need to check this out. Now.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      You definitely do. It runs circles around Google Reader without even breaking a sweat. It's fantastic.

  • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

    I hate the phone interface it is just too tiny and convoluted. The developers should adhere to the UI guidelines.

    • Abhigyan Banerjee

      I felt so too. The article listings are just too cluttered, despite the various font size options. Spacing is a major requirement.

  • Pierre Slamich

    The feature I'd like to have is expandable, actionable Jellybean notifications.

  • Patrik Sedmina

    Did you also try JustReader?

  • Taedirk

    D7 reader, people! Perfect for phone, acceptable for tablet.

  • denbo68

    I've been using gReader for quite a while now. I don't recall ever having the lock up experiences you described.

    It is a good RSS reader and gets the job done. I like Flipboard's UI more and it can now read Google's RSS feed but it isn't easy to choose what I want and not want to read (I have a lot of feeds).

  • ericl5112

    I liked greader, but found JustReader leaps and bounds better on UI and usability. Highly recommended.

  • SPtheALIEN

    After trying most of the ones out there, I went with Reader HD and haven't looked back.

  • http://www.euandroid.com.br Tsuharesu Luciel

    +1 for Reader HD /o/

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    As someone who spent hours emailing back and forth with Noin, the developer, and testing betas until finally zeroing in on the solution to the lockups which prevented gReader from truly being the best, I'm very glad to see this review posted today. gReader puts every other RSS reader to shame, especially Google Reader, as Cameron pointed out, and is the most feature-rich reader I've seen.

    The bottom line is this: if you're using Google Reader at this point, you're doing it wrong.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rmkattan Rami Kattan

      I also use gReader Pro since few months now, and it is great for everything, except reading the feed of AndroidPolice:

      When I click to read the full article in gReader's internal browser mode, I get only half a page ( Check this screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/ThjKX.png ) from all the feeds I follow only AndroidPolice has this issue. can you check about this? thanks

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Well, that sucks. What tablet is that?

        On the plus side, our next redesign will resolve this permanently. The UI will be able to morph into the right shapes based on the screen size and not device user agent.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rmkattan Rami Kattan

          It's an Asus transformer tf101, with ics 4.0.4

  • http://asszem.blog.hu Andras Olah

    i prefer GoodNews, its faster than gReader

  • Sebastian Porta

    My personal RSS reader is Reader HD: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ageofmobile.reader. Fantastic UI (for both, tablets and phones) and great set of features.
    I've been trying also the new Feedly app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.devhd.feedly. It that will launch later today, and it's really nice.

  • DroidBurgundy

    been using greader pro for years now, the best by far!

  • http://www.gamerjunk.net GamerJunkdotNet

    Feedly is the best one for Android. I prefer Flipboard to anything though even if it is limited in its Google Reader functionality.

    • Risvi Mohamed

      U must check new update of feedly...

      • http://www.gamerjunk.net GamerJunkdotNet

        Yea I looked at and it is really good as well. I have been a big Feedly supporter for years now but Flipboard has drawn me in more even with feedly's changes to be more like it

  • cwagner

    Feedly and a lot of others might be great if you don't want to maximize your content consumption. For others gReader is far superior:)

    • ericl5112

      I read a ton of articles, and get probably 300 a day at least. Feedly and JustReader (online or offline) are still my preffered methods. gReader just hasn't kept up on a UI standpoint, and the feature set isn't anything above and beyond.

  • br_hermon

    Here's another vote for JustReader.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ru.enacu.myreader&hl=en It's the only app I've found that will let me read the entire article in the app without having to exit. Plus navigation is quick and useful.

    • lifelong890

      Greader does this and does it much better than JustReader. Greader offers many more font options with this feature compared to JustReader as well.

  • Łukasz Miezin

    Finally someone appreciated this great app. Been using this in Pro Version for almost two years, cannot persuade any of my friends to use it instead Flipboard or some other nonsense. Tried many other readers but this one stands as a winner for quite some time. Thanks for the review,

  • Ankit Jain

    For those of you on tablets, Feedly has been working wonders for me, and its much prettier than Google Reader/GReader. I have also been testing out the Jelly Bean version, and its very promising! Definitely worth giving a shot if you are also interested in a aesthetically superior app

  • Raul G JS

    Amazing reader, fast, and syncs for offline reading, a must have

  • Jordi Harrison

    Guess how I found and am now reading this article :-D
    I started using it when I got my Nexus 7 in July. I love using it in landscape with mark as read scrolling and full page rendering.

  • http://twitter.com/MexDroid MexDroid Staff

    Dear Cammeron, you totally need to try Reader HD, it rocks!

  • Jonathan Epp

    You should give Feedly another shot. I've been in the beta and apparently the update is going live today. The interface is completely revamped. It's like if it the Google+ team had designed the Google Reader app. Plus it integrates automatically with your Google Reader account.

    • ericl5112

      Feedly is great too. My favorite online reader. If it had offline, I'd be in heaven.

  • geeknik

    I prefer D7 Reader Pro, it's pretty nice if you don't need offline capabilities (I don't).

  • ellett

    NewsRob Pro lets me zip through the 400-500 feed articles I get every day, swiping away the ones I'm not interested in and leaving me with a well-presented, well-managed, easy to navigate and easy to read list of the articles I'm interested in.

  • dbareis

    Sounded good until I didn't see the "Only Automatically Sync on Wi-Fi" option on the sync page.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      The option's there.

  • http://twitter.com/psych2L Joseph Lee

    Have you guys checked out Reader HD? I love the holo theme for that RSS reader!

  • Phillip Hagger

    I'm a Reader HD guy myself. Maybe I'll give this a shot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1501675804 Jake Lee

    Yeah, I get it, everyone hates the Google Reader app. However, if you just look at one long feed of content, Google reader provides the perfect service. I tried greader, and didn't need a single one of the features.

    So, yeah. I get it, for more advanced uses greader is better, but for just viewing a bunch of content, I'd rather Google Reader anyday.

  • Jelmer Borst

    For simple RSS I have always been a big fan of EasyRSS. However, with the new release of Feedly and myself having a Nexus 7, that is now definitely my choice. G+ style Reader, I couldn't wish for more!

  • john

    Reader HD is another terrific option for mobile. For a beautiful RSS widget the dev team behind Falcon for twitter beta makes Minimal Reader Pro though it's still somewhat buggy.

  • Paul

    Anyone else using gReader and having issues with offline items? When my son was in hospital where theres no reception I would load up my tablet with offline items. I could read them ok but I had a lot of problems with trying to mark items unread (so I could check them out when online), and also when I would sync back up, getting items I've already read two or three times?
    Other than that its awesome, I tried all the ones I could find with offline capabilities and this was the best I saw.

  • http://profiles.google.com/talhamid Talha Hamid

    Really? What makes it worth so much hype? I am stuck on FeedR Pro simply because it has the most useful widget around. A single page on the (butt-ugly) widget gives you headlines from all the feeds from one source, and arrows navigate between sources. I have yet to find a match for this. Any ideas?

  • Risvi

    U should try Feedly

  • Dipish

    How about creating a poll about preferred RSS readers?
    My reader of choice (on a phone) is JustReader.

  • Dipish

    Does gReader support zooming in and out article content?

    • lehung

      yes it does

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, it does.

  • http://gameluv.com/ Shawn S

    I have loved gReader practically since I got my Android phone. Working all day at a desk now, though, I don't have as much need for phone apps but it's still my favorite and my #1 recommendation for the dying art of RSS reading.

  • http://twitter.com/alekhkhanna Alekh Khanna

    Nothing beats GoodNews for me. Briiliant interface and all the options I need for feeds (and I read quite a few daily).

  • crankerchick

    I have been using this app for 2 years now, but I do agree it can be slow at times. I'm going to check out Reader HD now though. I'm a fan of apps following Holo!

  • Dawid Kania

    Feedly still remains on top of my list. Latest redesign makes it even more amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/PopeTackler Rob

    Calling anything the king of something is bound to generate a lot of debate. But that was what you were after all along. ;)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Actually, we really think it's the king. But the unexpected extra discussion was really nice - it showed what other apps people liked.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        Agreed. After reading through most of the comments, I even installed both Feedly and Reader HD to see how they compared. gReader is still my main RSS Reader, but those are both very nice and I plan on keeping them installed. I actually really like the magazine-style layout of Feedly, if only for casual browsing.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Is that not the same as one of gReader's styles where it has a grid? Or it's less uniform and some articles occupy more space, some less?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

            Nah, it's more like Currents, which I happen to really like for certain things.

  • Nelson

    The thing that bugs me about using any reader app other than google reader is that I will read through a lot of articles on my phone, then open google reader on my computer and all of the articles that I had just read will still show as unread. This doesn't happen every time, but often enough to be annoying. It happened with greader too.

  • nightfishing

    As I "live" in google reader, I, too, find gReader indispensable. If only I could find a decent chrome extension for Reader...I am spoiled by the grid view in greader and the only thing I have found that comes close on Chrome is feedly, but there is a form over function issue with feedly.