Version Reviewed: 4.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
iPhone Integration Rating:
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As podcasts broke away from the iTunes app (some would say needlessly) and became a separate entity, they did so with a bunch of problems and subsequent complaints. The official app still hasn't received an update to an iOS 7-friendly interface, leaving the podcast crown free for the taking.
Pocket Casts is an attractive, intuitive app for downloading and listening to podcasts. The catalogue is equally as large as Apple's, and the discovery options are plentiful. Whether they find them through the featured stations tab, the top charts, or by topic category, users will have no problem discovering new podcasts to subscribe to.
There are several features that help with the listening or viewing experience, including customizable start points to skip those annoying sponsored ads at the beginning of every podcast in a series. Other notable features include a sleep timer, speed controls, and playback bookmarking so users can pick up from where they left off. Most impressively, Pocket Casts takes advantage of iOS 7's new background refresh capability by downloading new episodes from subscribed channels without any need for a prompt. Users will be notified of such and will find the newest episode waiting for them as they open the app, ready to go. It works seamlessly and makes for a user-friendly experience that looks great to boot.
The flat, colorful interface is a pleasure to use - with adaptive backgrounds that embrace the color scheme of the podcast currently playing and really make Pocket Casts feel like an integrated part of the iOS 7 ecosystem, unlike the official Apple app that still feels unfinished. The developers have truly done an excellent job of presenting a library of podcasts in an attractive and unencumbered manner that ensures the user experience is as straight-forward as possible.
For those who aren't happy with the state of the official podcast app, Pocket Casts is a terrific alternative that makes discovering, subscribing to, and listening to podcasts a breeze.