DEM PIXELS

Press for Android is So Good That It Doesn’t Need a Fancy Title

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I was extremely late to the Google Reader & the whole RSS party. I never really bothered with it until I used Reeder on my iPhone a few months ago, and then ended up getting Reeder for iPad and Mac that day. I start my day with a cup of coffee and whichever device is nearest to me with a Google Reader app on it. When I got my Nexus 7, I was disappointed with the official Google Reader app and any third party alternatives. Press by TwentyFive Squares changes all that. Android has been becoming more and more beautiful after 4.1 and Press is worthy of being the only Google Reader app you use on Android.

The app conforms to the holo guidelines and looks gorgeous. It is visually inspired by Reeder in a few aspects but has its own identity overall. I would go ahead and say that Android has its own ‘Reeder’ with Press. After launching the app and granting it access to Google Reader, it fetches your feeds and syncs. It has a very nice tablet UI for the Nexus 7. The left section lets you swipe between the unread, read and starred articles. If you organize your feeds into folders, they will appear with the number of articles and feeds indicated by red dots and numbers to the right. The pane on the right has a very Reeder for iPad like grid with your subscriptions and their icons listed with the number of articles fetched. Scrolling is very smooth and there was almost no lag at all in the app. You can sync your feeds by tapping the sync button on the top right or access the settings inside the options menu. When you tap all subscriptions or a particular feed from a folder, you are presented with another dual pane layout very similar to that of Reeder for Mac with article list with a brief summary on the left. You can tap the favicon for an article to mark it as read or unread and tapping and holding will give you the option to mark all articles below as read. Tapping an article slides the right pane over to give you a full article view. I’m glad Press has font options and these are available under the options menu. Tapping the title of the article here will load it in the in app browser. You can double tap an image to have a full screen view of it that is zoomable. You can star, mark the article unread or share the article by tapping the buttons on the top right. The font size option is almost invisible. It is on the top right of the article view and you can tap the As to increase or decrease the article font size. Navigation within the app is mostly gesture controlled and you can swipe back or tap the back button. Swiping worked really well and I had no lag during animations at all. My main complaint is with switching articles. To go from one article to the next you have to press back or swipe back and tap the other article. After using Reeder where you can scroll through articles until you reach the end of the list, this is really annoying.

It isn’t very often that an app on a platform that isn’t iOS is so good that it makes you want to use the platform more. I have been using Press as my main Google Reader app over the weekend and I love it. I think we are getting closer to the stage where apps launch with a phone and tablet UI as opposed to stretched out bullshit on tablets. Press works brilliantly in both orientations. There are a few things that need to be fixed like navigating between articles and the lack of background updating. Press is by far the best Google Reader experience on Android and it is available on Google Play at an introductory price of $1.99.