Developer: Readability

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Yesterday we announced the arrival of Readability for iOS with some backstory, but what about the app itself? It’s a pure, simple, and beautiful reading experience, particularly for longer articles and in-depth reports. Yes, Readability’s app was worth the wait. It’s also completely free, so download it.

Readbility is a three-year-old web-based service that allows web readers to use browser plug-ins to either convert a web page in real time to a spartan clean view, stripped of ads and other distractions, or save it for offline reading later. It’s like curating a personal magazine.

The app provides the same service and merges seamlessly with the web versions. Users open to a blank page with just a menu. Filling the app is the the reader’s job. Users can search the web or enter an URL  manually. The app pulls the article, pretties it up, and places a lead-in on the home screen.

I found it faster to just surf on my Mac adding articles that appealed as I found them, but how one fills the app is a small matter. What Readability does with the content is the cool bit. I tested the universal build on an iPad and it works wonderfully in both orientations. In landscape the articles fill the main pane and a well-designed and unobtrusive sidebar has the menu. In portrait the sidebar is a tiny top bar.

Each article is noted by source, title and two line lead; a tap opens the reader. The app has a number of formatting options including a set of beautiful fonts designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, and a night-reading mode. As one scrolls down to the end of one article the next loads automatically or a swipe will bring users back to the ersatz table of contents. Posts are easily deleted, archived, marked as a favorite, or shared via Twitter, Facebook and email.

Is there room in this market for another player? Resoundingly yes. I spent about 30 minutes looking for content for this review and about the same testing. But, once I settled in with Readability on my iPad, I forget I was “working” and just took pleasure in reading. Like I said up top – download it.


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