Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Author’s note: Printful is a universal application, but this review is based on the iPhone version.
Printful is a sort of RSS-reader, article-saver mashup that fits articles to the iPhone’s interface in a sleek, simple package. It’s marred by occasional crashes, but overall the app is a great way to get some reading done on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Despite its simple interface, it packs a lot of features.
The main feature, of course, is simply reading articles. Printful presents each article stripped of extraneous formatting on a plain background, converting the text to large Times New Roman. It’s extremely easy on the eyes, and infinitely nicer than reading straight from Safari. Best of all, everything is stored offline, so you can take your reading on the go. This theoretically includes pictures and videos, though sometimes the app omits them when it grabs articles.
To actually get your articles, you have a number of choices. You can add different RSS feeds and group them into folders of your choice. I had some trouble adding certain feeds, but mostly it was smooth sailing. When you browse RSS feeds, the app shows you a “carousel” of recent article clips with their thumbnails; tapping takes you to the full article. Alternatively, you can find individual webpages using the built-in web browser, or install a “bookmarklet” that allows you to send pages to Printful via mobile Safari. Articles for future reading can be stored in either the “Read Later” folder or “starred” and placed in a high-priority folder.
The entire service syncs with Printful on the web. The web version is rather rudimentary, but it does let you read and bookmark articles. Plus, making an account keeps your multiple devices (iPod, iPhone, and/or iPad) in sync as well.
Printful clearly echoes forerunners Instapaper and Read It Later. Many of their features are the same, though Printful’s desktop counterpart is lacking in comparison and the app occasionally crashed during my testing. Still, on its own, Printful is a good article reader. The interface is simple but easy on the eyes, and its support for RSS feeds makes it easy to grab articles from your daily news sources. I would recommend looking at the other apps as well, but Printful is a perfectly functional and great-looking alternative.