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.
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.
Tap anywhere in the text of an article to bring up the synopsis of the article.
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.
Browser Mode “Web”
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.
For example, the Syncing function brings up control of how new articles are brought in or deleted.
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.