Apr 9, 2013
One of the greatest attributes of the internet is the ability to self-publish. Music, blogs, voice… we get to connect with people in ways even Al Gore could not have imagined.
Being able to listen to podcasts on the go is great. I listen to a bunch of stuff in several categories, which makes reviewing Pocket Casts an interesting proposition.
It definitely excels in delivery. Its opening layout is an interesting mix of clean cut functionality and eye-catching colors overlaid on a stock crimson base. I discovered two or three blogs that I already listen to, as well as few others that seemed interesting right from the app home listing of featured podcasts. Swiping revealed listings for Popular, Top Videos and Networks and a categorized listing.
In the top left, the “Discover” tab beckoned, and I was helpless to resist. It invoked a menu of sorts, with search functionality, settings and counter (categorized into Unplayed, Audio, Video and Downloaded). I also found the ability to set up playlists. Using the presets listed, I was able to view a pretty extensive listings of current podcasts by that particular publisher ranked by date, and was also able to subscribe. What I loved was that when deciding to listen to any specific podcast, I was able to stream or download. I loved this feature a lot; having the option to manage consumption in this way was intuitive, and for folks with access to wi-fi, it’s great. I was able to listen while downloading too.
I especially liked the ability to preview podcasts without subscribing; this truly fit in with the discovery paradigm. The podcast pages could be likened to magazine preview pages, and contained the publishing information and metadata one would expect. the quality was quite good; I could not discern a difference in quality from the same podcast accessed from a full fledged terminal, nor could I complain about the stream vs downloaded content.
I liked that the developer incorporated stuff like sharing and sleep timers to round out the app.
Pocket Casts might draw a half-blink due to its price, but my impression was that it is hard to argue its value, even for casual listeners of podcasts. For hardcore users, I’d dare to describe it enjoyably essential.