Feedly Review – News Reader for Browser and Mobile

I recently posted about How To Subscribe To Your Favourite Sites Instead of Bookmarking, where I detailed several ways you can subscribe to a blog or site via email or RSS news feeds. RSS news feeds is a format used to immediately push all the latest content from your favourite websites or blogs to the reader of your choice.

This post, I’ll give you an overview of my favourite RSS news feed reader – Feedly.

Feedly HomePage

Feedly is an RSS news feed reader available on web (as a browser extension on Chrome and Firefox) as well as on mobile (on iOS and Android). It offers all your subscribed content in a beautiful, minimalist, clean, magazine-like layout that syncs your subscriptions with Google Reader across all interface. Here are some of the key features of Feedly:-

  • Organise Content – Subscribe to websites, blogs, YouTube channels and organise them in folders accordingly. Eg, Tech, Entertainment, World News, etc.
  • Syncs with Google Reader across all interface – While Google Reader handles content sync very well, it might not be the best looking news reader. Feedly syncs with your Google Reader subscriptions via your Google ID like Gmail. It also syncs your subscriptions across all interface – whatever is read on your browser is synced to your mobile and vice versa.
  • Easy Sharing – Feedly allows you to share your favourite social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Buffer, Instapaper, Pocket, Evernote, Delicious and more.
  • Save and Tag your favourite posts – Like Google Reader, Feedly allows you to save

For more information, check out Feedly’s Website at http://feedly.com

 

Feedly on Chrome

Feedly for Chrome is a browser extension that you have to download from Chrome Web Store.

Feedly in Chrome Webstore

Once downloaded and installed on your Chrome browser, you’ll see the Feedly icon in your Chrome apps.

Chrome extension

Clicking on this icon will open a new tab on your Chrome browser where you can start building your subscriptions or sign in to your Google Reader via your Google ID (eg, Gmail).

Feedly Chrome - Cards interface
Feedly for Chrome interface

As you can see, Feedly presents your subscriptions in a nice magazine type layout, on a white and grey background. To read the article, all you need to do is click on the title or article. It will expand the article within the middle content section.

Article read view, wih Sharing functions
Article read view, wih Sharing functions

Here, you can also choose to Save, Tag, Share or click the title to open the article in a new tab in its original website.

I login to my Feedly subscriptions with my Google Reader account, where I have already subscribed to a number of sites and organised according to various folders / categories.

Feedly Chrome
Login to your Google account to sync all feeds
Organise by folders / categories and Add new websites to your subscription
Organise by folders / categories and Add new websites to your subscription

On the right sidebar, clicking on the “star” looking icon will expand a tab where you can easily search and find new websites to add to your subscription. You can key in the website address or name, or just type the topic or title at the search bar. Additionally, Feedly also has a good directory list of websites sorted by categories for you to browse and one-click to subscribe.

Find new sites to add to your subscription
Find new sites to add to your subscription
Feedly Chrome
Organise your subscription by folders / categories

There are other settings and preferences that you can toggle with to customise your Feedly for Chrome. Like changing the skin and theme colours as well as sharing and other settings preferences.

Feedly for Chrome - Themes selection
Feedly for Chrome – Themes selection
Feedly for Chrome - Preferences
Feedly for Chrome – Preferences

Tip : Like any desktop or web app, there are keyboard shortcuts.

Type "?" opens up the shortcut keys for Feedly for Chrome
Type “?” opens up the shortcut keys for Feedly for Chrome

Simply type “?” and it opens a pop-up with all the shortcut keys you can use while browsing Feedly.

 

Feedly for Android (smartphone and tablet)

While my Feedly for Chrome tab is a permanent tab in my Chrome browser, I mostly read my news feed subscriptions on my mobile devices – both on my smartphone and tablet). Feedly for Android has gone through several rounds of upgrades over the years that I’ve been using their service. With every upgrade, the user interface, speed and functions just keeps improving.

If you’ve been familiar with using Flipboard or Pulse on your smartphone / tablet, you should definitely give Feedly a try. Watch this video below on some of the highlights on Feedly mobile.

Welcome screen on Feedly Android
Welcome screen on Feedly Android
Quick guides on how to navigate Feedly for Android
Quick guides on how to navigate Feedly for Android and Login

Feedly for Android can be installed for both smartphones and tablets (any size, be it 7″ or 10.1″ tablets).

Folders / Category view on 7" Android tablet
Folders / Category view on 7″ Android tablet
Folders / Category view on Android mobile phone
Folders / Category view on Android mobile phone

The Feedly team created the app that will look beautiful on any screen size and its layout and text size works perfectly on any screen size. It’s also adjustable under it’s Preferences (Settings) section.

Feedly for Android - 7" tablet view
Feedly for Android – 7″ tablet view
Feedly for Android - smartphone view
Feedly for Android – smartphone view

As you can see, the content, layout and text reflows according to your screen size. Text are smaller and more content are shown on a tablet with bigger screen size, compared to your 4.X” smartphone.

Of course, being a touchscreen device, Feedly for Android makes perfect use of swipes and gestures. With their newly introduced “Stacks” gesture, you swipe up to scroll through your content, tap to open any article to read. If you’re not a fan of swiping up to scroll, you can always change this to vertical swiping under the Preference section.

With the article open, you can either double tap to close the article, or when you’ve reached the end of the article, swipe up and release to close the open article.

Swipe up and release to close article view
Swipe up and release to close article view

It’s very easy to learn these gestures on Feedly mobile, as there are guides and tutorials to guide you when you install and run the app the first time. For example, this pop up guide below shows you how to navigate and read your subscribed content.

Pop up guides on gestures
Pop up guides on gestures

Most of the functions that you ‘re used to in Feedly for Chrome on the desktop browser, is also available on Feedly mobile.

For example, sharing is as simple and easy as tapping the “Share” icon, which expands a dark grey bar showing all the sharing options – email, Facebook, Twitter and all other apps on your mobile that allows sharing.

Feedly Android sharing
Feedly Android sharing

You can also “Save” some articles as favourite or later reading.

As with the Chrome browser extension, Feedly for Android also allows you to Add new Websites to your news feed subscriptions on the go.

Discover and search for new sites to add to your subscription even from mobile
Discover and search for new sites to add to your subscription even from mobile

I really like the new upgraded version of Feedly for Android. Not only is the app much faster and smoother, there are tonnes of visual enhancements added to the app to make it look so much more beautiful. For example with the above screenshot on the “Add New Site” option, instead of the previous version where it’s mostly text, the new upgrade version has made the suggested categories more visual with tiled based images based on recommended categories.

Well done, Feedly!

 

Summary

If you are in the habit of visiting your favourite sites regularly, I highly suggest that you start managing your own RSS news feed subscriptions.

If you’re used to seeing or using other apps like Flipboard or Pulse, I highly suggest you switch over to Feedly. If not for the smoother and cleaner browsing, then definitely for the sync capability across your desktop browser and your mobile while on-the-go.

I have been using Feedly for a couple of years now, here are my Top 5 key reasons on why I love and highly recommend Feedly:-

  1. Google Reader sync, across all devices everywhere!
  2. Gorgeous interface and all the sharing options available.
  3. With every update (browser or mobile), it gets better and more beautiful. <– That is apparently possible. 😛
  4. Hands down better than Flipboard or Pulse because “No limit on the number of sites or feeds I can add to my subscription” – Flipboard is best for a magazine layout to browse your social network like Facebook and Twitter. Pulse limits you to 60 sites (last I tried) and has an interface more suited to people with a small number of sites subscribed not too regular content. I subscribe to over 150+ sites with approximately 2500+ articles pushed to my news reader daily! Yup.
  5. Feedly team is super friendly and responsive. I have been in a number of beta tests for their new upgrades. The developers are very open to your feedback and suggestions. They are also very responsive if you encounter any issues or have a question to ask on their Social Networks (eg, they replied my to tweets very promptly and they’re a very helpful and friendly bunch) 🙂

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you checkout Feedly, either on your Chrome browser or on your smartphone. Remember, Feedly is also available on iOS as well for your iPhone and iPad.

 

Final note – I’m not kidding when I tell you that I subscribe to a lot of sites and news feeds. That’s how I keep myself posted on the latest happenings in tech, entertainment, news and other stories.

It’s interesting that Feedly for Android (where I read my news feeds mostly) shows an “infinity” number of unread articles once it hits above 999 items.

Feedly Android Tablet (15)
I tweeted about it and @Feedly replied…

If I don’t say this enough… I really love FEEDLY! Go check it out at their website at http://feedly.com

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