Developer: Kenichi Onodera
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.3

Graphics Rating: ★★★★☆
Functionality Rating: ★★☆☆☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Reuse Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Intro
If you do a search for RSS Reader in the iTunes store you’ll get 30 different apps, and most of them rate around 3 stars. FeedFalls is another RSS reader attempting to make itself rise to the top in this sea of mediocrity. Similar to RSS Flash g, it is designed for readers who like to have a scrolling view of their feeds while they work or entertain themselves with whatever it is which which they are entertained. It’s better than RSS Flash g in its visual appeal, but is unfortunately like the others and just blends into the crowd.

1-font-display-settingsHow it works
FeedFalls distinctive feature is the way your RSS feeds automatically ‘fall’ down the page like a waterfall. When you see a feed which piques your interest, simply tap it and read to your heart’s content.

Where I do give FeedFalls credit is its great visual appeal. The first thing I noticed was its icon. This is one of the better RSS App icons in the store. It does a good job of tying the name into the image, easily allowing you to visualize its action. When it comes to the interface, there are several options for controlling font size and display colors to make it comfortable for your reading tastes. You can adjust the pace at which the articles scroll down the page from 5 seconds up to 30 seconds, or just stopping the scrolling all together. The font size and length of articles are also customizable. The fonts are handled well in this app and the articles are easy to read.

FeedFalls comes preloaded with several iTunes RSS feeds. You can easily add new ones by tapping the + sign and entering the address. There’s an additional feature of displaying the items in your Google Reader feed which are either starred and/or contained in folders.

But will it work?
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover and I must say that it was disappointing getting under the hood of this reader. What it has in fashion it loses in function.

8-selecting-a-link-1My first dislike is the scrolling. I’m not one to multitask reading and other activities. If I’m going to read, I’m going to read. In the rare instance where I may read while watching TV or whatever, I don’t want to have my scrolling dictated to me by a clock, I want to browse and peruse at my own pace. In addition to this lack of control, you cannot navigate through the different feeds. If you’ve missed a feed’s content you have to wait for it to come around again. There’s no way to select which feed you want to ‘fall’. And remember that article length setting I mentioned above? It doesn’t matter if you tell it to display the entire article because it won’t. It’s a self-defeating setting. It simply adjusts the length of the preview. Finally, when you select an article, it opens the original webpage. Why have an RSS feed if you’re going to go to the web page to read it?

FeedFall’s Google Reader incorporation is limited. There is no syncing, which in my opinion defeats the purpose of putting it in there. Why would I look at a feed twice and decipher what I’ve read and not read.

Finally, there are no sharing options in FeedFalls. What you see is what you get. You cannot mark favorites, email articles, share, or even send links to Instapaper or Read Later.

Conclusion
This application is visually appealing and I cannot fault the developer’s hard work in making it easy on the eyes. However, design is not merely how something looks, but how it works. On the bright side, I do think the app has potential and if the developer were to address many of these issues it would be an app I would use. Until then though I’ll put this back on the shelf.

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