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Press for Android is a news reader that actually cares about design (hands-on)

android press

Press, a new RSS reader for Android developed by Twentyfive Squares, is a serious breath of fresh air in the Play Store. While there are a lot of options for RSS on Android, none of them have really matched something like Reeder for iOS, with its simple, functional, and attractive design — the official Google Reader app is laughably spartan, Reader HD is functional but clunky, and Feedly looks good but gets bogged down in an overwrought UI.

Press, however, gets the balance just right. It follows Google's design guidelines, but sets itself apart with good use of typography, icons, and color — exactly the way Android apps should be. Setup is predictably easy, as the app syncs to any of the Google Reader accounts associated with your device. Navigation is handled with a simple two-panel layout; your folders appear on the left, the selected folder's content is displayed with larger icons on the right, and tapping any of these (or the "All Subscriptions" button) will take you to your stories.

Screenshot_2012-12-20-11-04-58

Articles themselves look great, too, sliding in from the right with dark gray type set against an off-white background and simple formatting. There are subtle buttons up top to alter the font size, and you can select from a number of fonts — the default is Adobe's excellent Source Sans Pro. All other menu options are located in a standard Android 4.0-style action bar, with buttons for refresh, settings, and mark-as-read displayed as needed.

Press has but one major flaw for me, and it's quite a big one: once you're reading an article, there's no way to move to the next one without backing out to the list and selecting it. I skim-read a lot of RSS feeds every day, and the ability to quickly skip through stories is really paramount. Whether it's implemented via up-down buttons or swipe gestures, Press absolutely needs this feature, and the developers have acknowledged as much.

The app is so thoughtfully designed in other areas, though, that I'm pretty confident the issue will be addressed soon. It might not be the most feature-complete RSS reader on Android — there's no dark reading mode, no magazine-style layout, and no widget — but it's unquestionably the most focused and attractive. It's available now for $1.99 in the Play Store.

The Verge
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