Possibly one of the most popular app genres in the mobile world is news reading, thanks to RSS and simple APIs to RSS aggregators like Feedly. (If you've no idea what I just said then FeedLab probably isn't for you!) The commercial Nextgen Reader is still my favourite on any platform, but FeedLab is a new contender in the Store this week and I took a look below.
Browse all the articles of your favorite websites in a beautifully designed app. FeedLab will become your indispensable companion to read all your RSS feeds, directly on your Windows Phone.
Add the RSS feeds of your favorite websites, blogs, magazines and journals
Group your feeds in categories
Order and customize your categories as you wish
Customize the display of articles as you wish (only the title, with small or large images, or even large tiles)
Find the summary of each article, with the ability to continue the reading to the desired website
Discover optimized gestures to simplify your daily use
Live tiles: pin your favorite categories on the home screen of your phone
Via the speech feature, listen your articles
Launch a new search on FeedLab directly from Cortana
Ready to discover the best unofficial Feedly client?
'The best'? Nothing like a little modesty! Though FeedLab does seem to be arriving fully formed and ready for use, plus it's priced right (see below) and attractive. Here's a walkthrough:
As is traditional, there's a slideshow mini-tutorial when you first launch FeedLab - in fact, eight separate slides, well done to the developers. Or just skip them all and start using FeedLab - usefully you can browse predefined feeds to try out the application or simply log in via Facebook or Google and start using it for real.
The tutorial aspects continue as you start using the main screens in FeedLab - the first time each is accessed you get pop-ups like these. You really can't fault the hand-holding here.
A help for both LCD and AMOLED screens, there's a choice of themes, I plumped for 'Dark' as I was using the Lumia 930. (right) The default 'template' splits stories into categories and the size of the side bars makes a sparse feed selection (I'd read most of mine earlier) look too spaced out. However....
...there's a choice of for templates and 'tile plus medium picture' suited me just fine. As you'd expect from a feed reader, only unread items are shown by default. Don't worry about the categorisation above, by the way, that's just the way my Feedly account is set up and, yes, I really should fix it all some rainy day....!
Tapping through gives you the full RSS content of a news item, of course, along with a banner ad. If you use FeedLab more than a few days, of course, it's right and proper to use any of the in-app donations above to help out the developer, support further development, and get rid of the ads. Though how the developer can eat and drink for a weekend for £3.89 escapes me!!!
Some slightly over-zealous notifications - did you really want to be pinged with a toast every 15 minutes through the day? But it's easy to tune these down as needed. (right) There's basic editing of the Feedly categories, but not to the level of moving feeds around. Maybe this section be extended to help me with my Feedly mess?
A terrific application at first sight, this is a very valid competitor to Nextgen Reader and well worth a try. There are extra features worth mentioning too, including built-in text-to-voice interpretation of any RSS item and the ability to open in Readability (i.e. streamlined without original site ads) if needed.