There is a growing number of apps that allow you to read all subscribed news feeds from Google Reader. That’s why we’re taking the time to take a look at gReader – the unofficial Google Reader client. Find out what it’s like to get your news through gReader in today’s test.
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|Reviewed version||Latest version|
|1.7.3||Varies with device|
Features & Use
All of gReader’s features are clearly listed on the app’s Google Groups page:
- Google Reader synchronization: Use gReader at home, at your office, or anywhere you go and keep your feeds, tags and shared items synched in one place.
- User Interface: Simple, fast and intuitive
- Folders / Tags: Sort your feeds in folder and tags
- Subscribing: (Un)subscribing your feeds directly in gReader
- Auto synchronization: Synchronize your feed automatically for a periodic time
- Notification: Keep you update with notification
- Sharing: Share your favorite articles with your friends with a simple single-click via Email, Facebook, Twitter, ...
- Searching: Let you search for articles in subscriptions
- Widget: Adds an Unread Count app widget
- Text Mode View: Reduce articles to text-only version. Easy to read.
The only inconvenience for me is the fact that you can’t read your news-feeds offline. Nevertheless, gReader has become my new favorite Google Reader app due to its slick user interface and comfortable navigation (check out Screen & Controls for more).
Screen & Controls
The app’s user interface is really well-done. After entering your account information, you have an overview of all your Google Reader news-feeds. The first thing that appears in your list is an “All articles” tab. Below that you can see al of your subscriptions.
At the bottom of the screen you’ll find two buttons: “Refresh” and “Mark all articles as read”. You can also switch between viewing read und unread articles. To access your marked articles, you have to switch to viewing your read articles. You can also add tags and share your articles there.
At the top you’ll find a plus button that let’s you add new feeds. You first have to enter in a URL before you can see all of the available news-feeds. Click on the ones you like to add them to your Google Reader.
Within any given subscription list, you can adjust the sorting order to have either new or old articles displayed first.
When reading an article you have the option of marking the article as either read or unread. The following options can be accessed via the menu-button:
Image Fit/Normal Fit (Adjust pictures to the screen)
Inverse (Night view)
At the bottom edge of an article are three buttons. Pressing the first button opens up the article in the gReader browser, the second button let’s you read the article in your default browser and the third button let’s you share the article with others.
If you open up an article using the internal browser, there’s an additional button that switches the article to text view. In this case, all pictures are removed (or placed displayed at the end of the article) and the font size increases in order to make it easier to read. You can flip through the article by using the arrow buttons on the side of the screen. At the right edge you’ll find a zoom-button that let’s you zoom in on parts of the article.
To get to your Settings, press the menu button in your subscription screen.
Here are the options available:
- Subscriptions/Folders/Tags (Switch viewing order)
- Buy gReader Pro
- Send a feedback
- Clear Cache
Inside Settings you have the following categories:
In User Synchronization you can adjust the update intervals or turn off the automatic synchronization entirely. You also have the option of setting up a limit for synchronized articles, as well as being able to turn Google Reader Sync on/off. This features worked perfectly during out test, despite it being labeled as beta.
You can add reminders about new feeds in the Notifications section. You can also adjust the sound and vibration alerts for these reminders.
In the Cache category you can select where downloaded files should be saved to (local or SD Card) or delete them manually.
As far as the user interface is concerned, you can adjust the article buttons, sort order and article view. You can also select the way in which articles are displayed in the internal browser:
Google Mobilizer (optimized for mobile phones)
Instapaper Mobilizer (optimized for mobile phones)
Despite some minor problems, gReader is a great app in terms of UI and controls. If you’re a regular Google Reader user and are looking for an app that let’s you read news comfortably on your phone, then you should definitely give gReader a try.
Speed & Stability
gReader ran smoothly and flawlessly during out test.
gReader can be downloaded for free from the Android Market. There is also a payable version that doesn't offer an extra features, but is more like a donation for the developer.