Mr. Reader: Superior RSS Reader for iPad

| Quick Look Review

Mr. Reader is a superior RSS reader for your Google Reader account. It’s intuitive, nice to look at, and the price is right. If you’ve been using any other Google Reader app on the iPad, check this one out.

If you have a Google Reader account, this app is designed to login and present you with new articles in a very organized, colorful and intuitive way.

I had been using Reeder, and was never very satisfied with it. The user interface is stark and not very intuitive. So Mr. Reader has been a great find, thanks to a tip from @donmcallister.

You start by logging in with your Google credentials. In my case, I had been lax with Reeder and allowed a lot of articles to accumulate as unread, so the sync took longer than expected. I left to make a sandwich, and when I came back, Mr. Reader was all synced up.

Mr reader -1 

Login

If you’re holding the iPad in portrait mode, you’ll likely want to switch to landscape mode where it works best. The pane on the left shows your feeds, and the pane on the right shows the timeline. Articles that are unread have a blue dot and are in a darker font. Articles that you’ve read have a slightly dimmed font.

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Home page

Tap anywhere in the text of an article to bring up the synopsis of the article.

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Synopsis “RSS”

Tabs at the top allow you to view the article in three ways, the RSS synopsis, as viewed in a browser or as viewed through Mobilizer, that is, Instapaper’s text engine which transforms web pages for easy reading on mobile devices.

Mr Reader -4

Browser Mode “Web”

 

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Mobilizer Mode

When you’re finished, pres “Done” on the top right. This is where I’ve had more than an occasional crash of Mr. Reader. However, relaunching and getting back where I was has been painless.

There are lots of options in a box to the right of each article: sharing, favorites, tagging, and shared items. I have more to say on that box below.

The gear at the bottom brings up a popover of Settings, and I was very pleased with the scope and layout.

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Settings

For example, the Syncing function brings up control of how new articles are brought in or deleted.

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Syncing

What I liked

I liked the Berlin skin (one of three). I liked the layout of the feeds on the left, and the badge for number of unread articles. I like the layout of the synopsis: the sizing and font is just right. I was blown away by the number of sharing options, including the usual items but also: Instapaper and direct view in Safari. I liked the price: US$1.99.

What I Didn’t Like

The action buttons for each article are repeated on the right for each article. That seems like a waste of space. If the buttons were brought up only for a selected article, then the buttons could be bigger. Also, when turning to portrait mode, by default, the timeline overlaps the list of feeds. One has to figure out how to slide the sheet of the timeline to the right just a little, and then the synopses are cut off on the right. Portrait mode is usable, but a no-win situation. Finally, I had more crashes when closing an article than I would have liked, but then this is version 1.0.

Do I Recommend it?

I do, with enthusiasm. In landscape mode, Mr. Reader looks great and is easy to use. The readability and usability is terrific. My old standby, Reeder, uses up too much space with feed icons, and the UI is just a bit awkward. Mr. Reader is my new favorite. I’ll give it a solid+ rating based on the design and UI and surmise that the crashes will be expunged in the next version.

Mr. Reader is compatible with iPad 1 or iPad 2 and requires iOS 4.2 or greater.

Product: Mr. Reader

Company: Oliver Fürniss

List Price: US$1.99

Pros:

Nicely organized, colorful, intuitive UI

Cons:

Too many crashes.

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Comments

Gary

It seems that the things you describe as shortcomings in Reeder, I regard as strengths.  For example, the minimal design.  The only thing which has recently begun niggling me is what seems to be the lack of post tagging in Reeder - though that was not in any way important all those months ago when I first bought it.

> I was blown away by the number of sharing options, including the usual items but also: Instapaper and direct view in Safari.

Your comment suggests that you’ve never become familiar with Reeder - it too lists “Instapaper”, “Instapaper Mobiliser” and “Open in Safari” amongst numerous others.

? Settings > Reeder > Services Panel

Safari at least has been there for ‘forever’.  Of course, if you never much liked Reeder from the outset, then it’s not unnatural that you’d not explore it in depth - I have more than a few apps like that. grin

John Martellaro

Sure.  I suppose an intuitive interface and “discoverability” issues come into that. Reeder, indeed, put me so off that I was loathe to explore it more than I had to—or had time to.

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