Developer: ACRYLIC APPS
Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

I’m at a crossroads. I genuinely am. I want to like, if not love, Acrylic Software’s new Times for iPad app. It’s gorgeous. It’s sleek. And it’s just the sort of app that will make your non-iPad owning friends drool with envy. At first glance Times for iPad appears to be the second coming of RSS readers – a reader for the rest of us, formatted in slick newspaper style that’s hard not to like.

There’s just one problem. It doesn’t do some things I expect any RSS reader to do.

Once you get beyond the very palatable aesthetics (and they are a powerful sales inducer, no doubt), you discover that the core reader functionality just doesn’t measure up to other, similarly easy to use readers. Want to save an article to Instapaper or Read It Now? Nope. Want to import and sync your by-now-highly-curated Google Reader feeds? No can do. In today’s app store economy, these are as close to deal breakers as you can get. Without these kinds of features, Times for iPad is just another pretty but limited RSS reader. The developer told us that a direct sync with Google Reader isn’t in the works due to the very different way Times and Reader handle RSS feeds.

I should, of course, balance this review by stating what this first version of Times for iPad CAN do. It can organize by categories across the top of the screen, making it easy to transition from one area of your virtual newspaper to another. It can also save articles to a shelf for later reading if time is tight. This isn’t Instapaper, but I can see where it could be a solid replacement eventually (and you wouldn’t have to quit one app and open another just to read a story). Times for iPad also has a built-in web page viewer so you can view the article in its original format, and you can share any article you access via email, Twitter and Facebook. These last features are pretty much standard in every app these days, even quite a few games, so they don’t exactly make Times for iPad stand out from the crowd.

What DOES make Times stand out is its look and feel. There is no denying that this is a pretty app, and I’ve actually found myself wondering about moving all of my Google Reader feeds to Times, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s ready yet.

Those who already own Times for Mac OSX, however, might find this a welcome purchase, as you can sync your feeds between your desktop and iPad with seeming ease (once Acrylic releases version 2.0). The Mac app currently will import from other RSS apps and OPML files, so a Google Reader import is at worst a few steps away. This would make Times for iPad a better value, especially with the desktop sync feature.

For the moment, if you’re looking for a similarly-styled RSS reader as Times, I suggest you look at Early Edition, which WILL sync with Google. As for me, for the moment, I’m sticking with Reeder.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad News, Reviews

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