July 28, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
The war between fashion and function rages on in Pulse News Reader, a popular iPad and iPhone app that is now available on Android. While Pulse is a news reader that is much easier on the eyes thanks to a less conventional design for mobile news readers, it lacks the core function of being an adequate mobile news reader for many.
Available for $1.99, Pulse takes the feeds of websites that you read religiously, then presents them in a highly-organized manner tailored to your phone. Whether in portrait or landscape, users can scroll through a list of articles layered over thumbnails. There’s no groundbreaking experience by tacking on a tiny picture, but the overall experience of having a polished application improves on the otherwise drab experience of opening an app and scrolling through an endless list of headlines.
However, Pulse relies so heavily on that polish that it fails to meet the primary objective of being a good news source for most RSS readers. The app limits users to a maximum of 20 news sources. That may be fine for people who only browse a couple of sites everyday, but those people would probably browse those couple of sites. RSS has become a tool utilized primarily by people who have more than 20 news sources and want one central place to read them.
People who have 30+ news feeds in Google Reader or don’t feel the need to buy a new RSS app should stick with what they currently use. If you only need 20 or fewer news sites in your feed, then I suggest taking Pulse for a test drive. The app has its faults by struggling to import embedded content and limiting users to only 20 feeds, but it looks nice. The fashion over function crowd may think that’s good enough to overlook early faults.
- Read RSS feeds with good visuals
- Store articles for offline reading
- Integrates with Google Reader
- Limits users to 20 news sources
App: Pulse News Reader