Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Rebuilt since the release of The Early Edition comes The Early Edition 2, adding even more splendour to the reading experience as well as much needed Google Reader functionality. Unfortunately, while The Early Edition 2 looks impressive, it's not the easiest of apps to use.
Set up is certainly easy. Load the app and the choice to use it as a standalone app or to sync with Google Reader presents itself. Once the relevant option is chosen, The Early Edition 2 intelligently converts all the latest stories to a newspaper style layout, providing columns based pages for everything. It looks fantastic and is easy to navigate. An option to download all images immediately ensures that offline viewing is just as trouble free. This also makes it possible to view all images as part of a gallery which can be particularly useful when dealing with certain stories.
The problems appear when the user wants to do more with their RSS reader. The settings are hidden away to enhance the aesthestics of the app but it does make it less friendly to adjust. It's not possible to view one feed at a time unless a category is created for each one frequently making it awkward for me to track down what I was looking for. As someone with many, many RSS Feeds to keep track of, it would have been immensely helpful to be able to easily view according to site, not just the predefined categories.
Swipe gestures make The Early Edition 2 initially seem very easy to browse around. It is to an extent but I found it awkward to go from end of the paper to the other quickly, with a scrolling bar reacting sluggishly even on the iPad 2. Crucially, I just found it easier to tap the links and headlines in a less attractive yet simpler app like Reeder than sticking with The Early Edition 2. Looks aren't everything, functionality and ease of use is.