Keeping up with the latest headlines has never been cooler. Whether it's about the latest natural disaster to hit North America, a dirty political campaign or your favorite sport's teams results - the news offers something interesting for everyone. In our current digital age, however, it can be difficult to sort through the barrage of stories to find exactly what you're looking for. "Taptu - DJ Your News" positions itself as a hip and cutting-edge news app that is meant to provide users with a personalized experience.
Find out how this app with a Finnish-sounding name compares to other news apps on the market in today's review.
From the get-go it's obvious that a tremendous amount of work and creativity has been put into Taptu. When you first launch the app, you'll be guided through how to use the app with a colorful and well-designed tutorial. It's structured like a mini graphic novel with each screen representing a specific tip on how to better utilize the app. There's just no getting around it - everything is über-cute, stylish, funny and kind of adorable.
It's easy to get charmed by the beautiful packaging, but what does the app actually have in store? On the most basic level, Taptu allows you to add your personal favorite news streams to create a customized news feed put together from various sources. Sound familiar? Well, it should because Taptu is very similar to Pulse News - an app that got a great review from us a while back. Both Pulse and Taptu are based on the idea of presenting different sources of news vertically while browsing horizontally within each specific news source. This is a great way to layout and organize the news - no doubt about it. If these apps appear to be so similar, what's the big deal with Taptu?
Taptu comes with a so-called StreamStore - a virtual library of different news feeds. Don't let the name scare you - all news streams are completely free. Not all news sources (e.g. BBC News) allow you to read full-length articles, but Taptu always allows to view the entire thing in your browser if worse comes to worse.
Just press the + sign to add new feeds to Taptu. You can either select from a couple dozen of featured feeds (including such popular sites as The Huffington Post, The Onion, but also some really obscure random ones). Taptu also lets you add Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as individual news feeds alongside blogs and more traditional news sources.
For a wider selection you can search for news sources in the Topics section based on different categories. There's a wealth of different feeds out there - I managed to find every major news source that I follow religiously online. If you are looking for something more obscure you have two options: search for the RSS feed using the integrated Bing search (death stare at Microsoft!) or integrate your Google Reader feeds into Taptu. Amazingly, Taptu allows you to add 100 Google Reader feeds. Adding your own RSS feeds is usually hit or miss because the formatting is often way off. Using Google Reader is probably the better way to go for viewing RSS feeds in Taptu.
As with any news app, Taptu allows you to bookmark your favorite articles and share them with people via email and social networks. By marking an article as a favorite, Taptu automatically adds it to a Bookmarks feed that appears at the top of the screen (can be repositioned to any spot afterwards).
Taptu also gives you the tools for total customization. Tap the pencil icon to edit the layout of your news feeds. There you can move feeds around, merge them together (a great feature) or delete them altogether.
Taptu - DJ Your News is a great news app that gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility to create a custom news experience. I have to admit that Taptu is so similar to Pulse that I have difficulty distinguishing between the two. One of the advantages of Taptu is that it allows space for more news feeds than Pulse at the moment. This is quickly changing, however, since the latest version of Pulse has increased the number of feeds to 60 from 25. Taptu may not be the most original app, but it does offer an impressive set of different news categories and sources and is definitely great alternative to Pulse. And as a sidenote - please be sure to check out their crazy add campaign. It's worth a look.
Screen & Controls
As much as the introduction and tutorial are cute, the design of the actual app is functional but modest. Thankfully, everything is extremely simple and self-explanatory. Swipe up and down the screen to scroll between news sources and slide side to side to read more articles from the same news source. To access Taptu's Settings press the menu button. There you can adjust the way your streams look in terms of fonts and themes.
A neat little gimmick is the fact that "Taptu - DJ Your News" refreshes all your feeds when you shake the device. You can also enable cool sound effects along with it. All in all, everything can be adjusted with the help of just four buttons at the top of the screen.
Speed & Stability
Your Taptu experience will depend a lot on the speed of your device. Some of the graphics components are pretty demanding. Taptu - DJ Your News should work like a charm on newer devices, but it may be a bit sluggish on older Android 2.1 devices. Obviously, Taptu is geared towards the higher end devices and runs splendidly on the Nexus S.