Instapaper Review

Instapaper Review

Jun 15, 2012

Hell has gone and frozen over, folks. Instapaper is now available on Android. Original developer Marco Arment is a noted Apple developer and commentator, and as he outlined here, the possibility of Instapaper for Android seemed low. Well, after partnering with Mobelux to bring it to Android under a revenue sharing model, so here we go.

What Instapaper does is that it serves as a repository for users to add articles from websites to read later, with the ability to access them from other mobile apps, or from Instapaper.com. Articles can be read in the app’s reformatted view, which takes website content and simplifies it to just the text, to make it easier to read, with various font setting options. It’s also possible to share items via social networks, and to open up articles in the browser.

The first question to answer is that yes, it is possible to sync articles between iOS and Android, as using the same account is possible between platforms, and items synchronize quickly. The app is beautifully designed, with a monochromatic interface and font choices that are aesthetically pleasing. IT’s easy to read articles in its interface.

In some ways, it makes more sense to use Instapaper from Android. It’s easier to share pages without having to install a clunky JavaScript bookmark, just using the built-in Android sharing methods to share pages directly to the app. Mobelux also did a wonderful job with the port, as the app looks and feels exactly like it did on iOS. It’s very tablet-friendly as well.

Here’s the concern I have with Instapaper, particularly in a world of where Pocket is free, and has been around as a multiplatform app for longer. While previous Instapaper users will enjoy getting to use the same service on Android, Pocket offers the same features, along with better handling of multimedia elements. It pretty much comes down to whether users enjoy the option for multimedia viewing, and if they prefer Instapaper‘s readability options over Pocket. But the two apps are so similar that it is hard to recommend someone who is happy with one to shift to the other.

On the other hand, the $2.99 asking price is not expensive in the grand scheme of things, and the app is extremely well-designed. So, for current Instapaper users, or ones who are intrigued by its design, they won’t be disappointed. Pocket users, or cheapskates who don’t want to spend money? If nothing here is intriguing, don’t worry about it. Nothing about this is a slight against Instapaper, who likely had much inspiration on the stylish redesign of Pocket, but it’s just the reality of the market.

Instapaper Review Rundown

9
User Interface - It's all very simple to use, though on the phone, the share button having only two functions behind it makes me wonder why they just couldn't put the two buttons on the bar under the article?
9
Usefulness - It's cross-platform article syncing, it works extremely well, supporting the web, iOS, anad Android.
8
Performance - The app runs extremely smoothly, though it has formatting issues with some sites, and doesn't handle saved YouTube pages all that well.
7
Value - It does what it does very well, but so does Pocket, which is a free app.
Overall -

App available on the Google Play Store »

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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