Reading a lot of blogs can be tough to manage without an RSS news reader, which consolidates everything you read in one place. While there are plenty of news readers on the Mac, Reeder wins our hearts thanks to its beautiful and simple interface, thorough integration with social features, and fantastic customisability.
- Syncs with Google Reader
- Beautiful interface
- Syncs (and fully integrates) with Readability
- Post articles directly to Instapaper, Delicious, or your blog
- Gesture support
- Customisable shortcuts
- Send to QUOTE.fm Read, Instapaper, Pocket (formerly ReadItLater), and Readability
- Save to Pinboard, Delicious, Zootool, and Evernote
- Post on App.net, Twitter, Facebook (posting on Facebook requires OS X 10.8.2)
- Open articles with Instapaper Mobilizer and Google Mobilizer
- You can disable Flash (and other plug-ins) if you want
- Support for retina displays
Reeder first entices you with its beautiful and simple interface but keeps you around with its solid list of features. Despite Reeder’s simplicity, the app manages to pack in quite a bit. One of the biggest highlights is that Readability—the service that converts web pages into more readable pages of text—is a part of the app. If a news feed contains an article that needs a little touching up, you can click the Readability button and make it a lot cleaner. Reeder also provides lots of ways to share and save articles you find in your feeds. It integrates with several services, including Instapaper and Pocket. You can also pin articles to Pinterist, save them to Evernote, and share them on Twitter or Facebook. A very comprehensive preferences pane allows you to customise your entire experience, from shortcuts to gestures to the app’s appearance. Reeder offers solid performance on its own, but you can make it run exactly the way you want with a few simple tweaks.
Reeder has few downsides, the biggest of which is that it lacks subfolder support. Rather than displaying any subfolders you may have in your Google Reader account, Reeder simply lists them without any hierarchy (i.e. it displays “News — Finance” instead of listing Finance below the News category). If you don’t have a large number of feeds, this isn’t a big deal, but if you do, you’ll find it a little annoying and wasteful. Reeder also costs money. While $5.49 is a pretty fair price for a really great news reader, its primary competition—NetNewsWire—costs nothing. While we like Reeder better, if you’re frugal you’re simply not going to choose it when an app that’s nearly as good costs absolutely nothing.
NetNewsWire (Free) was once our top pick, but over time it has come to feel a bit outdated. That said, it’s still a remarkably powerful news reader with lots of great features. It’s also free, so if you don’t want to cough up $5.49 for Reeder you can get yourself a great alternative at no cost.
Cream ($4.49) offers a more compact experience than Reeder’s default view and costs a little less. Reeder, however, can shrink down to the same size. Cream is fairly new and still has some way to go before it’s a serious competitor, but it’s definitely a news reader to watch.
Pulp ($10) costs more than anything on this list and doesn’t offer a lot of advantages. That said, if you’d like to read your news feeds in a traditional newspaper format you’ll want to check it out. It offers a very different interface from all the other apps and seeks to show you news you’ll actually like rather than just everything (by default).
Gruml is another free RSS news reader much like NetNewsWire, but in my few months of use I found it wasn’t quite as stable. On the positive side, it does have better support for external services (such as ReadItLater). It may have features that are important to you, and if so it could be worth trying, but despite being a pretty solid app it just doesn’t measure up when you’re actually using it.
There are a lot of other news readers for Mac but these three offer the most notable, worthwhile differences. If you have a favourite that was passed over or overlooked, please mention it in the comments.
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