I found Fedora Newsreader by accident not long ago. I’m always poking around looking for something to play with. I stopped and checked the app out because … well … I’ve worn a Fedora for years and thought it was a cool name for a news app, let’s try it.
Ever since my favourite news reader went the way of the dodo, I’ve been scouting for a new go-to app. I like Lead Story, and use it for exactly that – top trending stories. I wanted a more substantial app that allowed me to throw my considerable RSS list onto and pull the many news sources into one location. I have a number of apps set up for specific work related focuses and wanted to keep them clutter free, but still need a “one ring to rule them all” kind of news feed as an all purpose bucket dump for everything else.
Problem is, most readers I’ve tried are down right ugly. Fedora was described as minimalist, and that’s pretty much an accurate description. It’s a tiny program, at under 4 mgs, so even on a space deprived smart phone (like mine is at the moment), you can squeeze it in:
Simple interface, easy to figure out and no unnecessary add-ons to slow the app down. Fedora worked on all my devices – Windows phone, Surface tablet (running 8.1RT) and my Win 10 laptop without any issues. It was easy to add RSS feeds and the preloaded choices are extensive.
Fedora allows users to share any article directly from the app. Depending on what you have installed, you can send to email, reading list, messaging, Twitter, Facebook and Flipboard etc with little effort. Nice little feature that’s cropping up more and more with Win10 apps.
According to the app’s store page, Fedora should synch between devices. It did in a half assed fashion. When I initially set the app up on my devices, nothing synched. Nothing I tried worked, so in frustration I gave up. About an hour later, I returned to find everything was synched. And that was the last time I achieved synch happiness. I have never managed to get the read articles to synch, which is a mild irritation. However, the big issue I have is it won’t consistently reflect new changes made to feeds. If I remove or add any, some might show up in a couple of hours, but not all of them. The inconsistency is infuriating so if you use the app, it’s best to ignore this feature and muddle along.
The font is a bit weedy looking and not the best choice for online viewing. It looks nice, but after awhile, it’s a little hard to read if you have any vision issues. It would be nice to have the option to increase the font weight a bit.
Otherwise, a decent app which is light, fast and easy to use. Lots of built-in feeds to pick if you don’t have a lot of RSS hanging about. Worth downloading. Just don’t get your hopes up about synching. If it works, don’t think about it, just enjoy it while you can.
When I originally looked at LeadStory, I was underwhelmed with it. Actually, I was put off by it’s ugly as sin interface so I put it in my pile to revisit. It’s one of those cases where I’m glad I returned. The clean-up was worth the wait. Behind that modest little icon lies an efficient app for your Windows phone.
I am a news junky and often have up to 5 different news feeds on my phone at any point in time. I have a rule, if the app consistently takes over 40 sec to load, it goes in the garbage heap unless it offers an outstanding feature I can’t live without. That means apps come and go with shocking speed on my humble Windows phone. I just checked, I’ve tested out over 300 apps so far. LeadStory made the cut for two reasons – it’s minimalist design and speed. Oh 3 – ads don’t take over the screen. That’s the kiss of death as far as any app is concerned. Pop up and cover my screen and make it difficult to close the ad, well … let’s just not go there.
LeadStory is nimble. It loads feeds usually in under 5 seconds. It doesn’t weigh content down with a bunch of outdated stories, instead, pushing the top news from each category. Compare that to MSN’s News app which takes nearly a minute to load. I keep MSN on my start page for fun. I call it the “App to measure all news apps by”, not because it’s good, because it’s so fricking slow. If your app is faster than the typical 50 sec load time for MSN, that’s a good start.
The overall design is almost Zen like. Clean, simple and easy to navigate, not a lot of frills. But then, why add crap that will slow the app down? This also means there isn’t much you can adjust. But the designers offer what I deem one of the most important features – the ability to adjust font size. You can also set the background to dark rather than the traditional white if that floats your boat.
You can customize your news feed as well, tailoring your feed with specific alerts: It’s very easy to setup new alerts. One complaint I have is the lack of info on removing custom feeds. It’s surprisingly easy to remove them without realising it. I had my thumb on one of the feeds I created and before I realized what I’d done, I removed it. Before I figured out what was happening I accidently removed two others. A small drop down menu that says “Get your thumb off my feed” would help avoid this. “Delete feed” would suffice though.
It would also be nice if they added the ability to remove categories. I don’t follow sports or entertainment and usually remove them on any app. That’s a small issue, but I like to tailor my news readers a lot and I miss this option.
Like most apps, LeadStory includes a share feature that allows you to send a story via email. They also offer a few other options, depending on how your phone is customized. You can send to messaging, Reading List, OneNote and in my case Flipboard and Facebook. The only minor irritate is having to remove the self-promotion the app inserts into sharing. Can’t fault them on promoting their app though.
Upgrading to the pro version will set you back a princely .99c. You can’t even get a cup of awful coffee for that price so it’s a bargain. Well worth checking out.