Is Reeder 4 or Unread the Best iOS RSS Reader? — Curtis McHale

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A while ago I said that Unread was the new bar for having a beautifully readable interface for your text based content. It was so much better I felt that Instapaper needed to take a step forward to keep up. Now Unread has some faults, most glaringly it’s entire lack of the ability to manage any aspect of your feeds. You can’t subscribe or unsubscribe from anything inside Unread.

For that reason alone I kept Reeder 3 around but it wasn’t my only issue with Unread. Unread had no keyboard shortcuts, which seems fairly problematic as more and more users are making their iPad’s their main work machine. Yes, Unread responded to my criticism over 200 days ago saying it was on their list, but it’s been 200 days with no update on that front.

@curtismchale Thank you for using and writing about Unread. Both keyboard navigation and subscription management are high priorities for future versions.

That’s not to say that Unread hasn’t been getting updates, but they’ve been stability and bug fixes instead of feature enhancements. The longer Unread has gone without any keyboard support, the more frustrated I’ve been with it’s lack as I sit at my desk reading and writing about the articles. I love a touch interface, but reaching up to the iPad all the time makes Unread feel handicapped.

Now Reeder 3 wasn’t amazing on the iPad Pro. It didn’t support the iPad Pro well, and the reading experience barely held a candle to what Unread was providing. Well Reeder came out with version 4 in late April so let’s put them head to head to see what my RSS reader of choice is moving forward.

On the beauty of the text reading front, Unread would still be my choice. The font choices and line height settings out of the box are by far the best of any reading experience on iOS. This doesn’t mean that Reeder 4 is a bad reading experience, just that out of the box I like Unread more.

Reeder 4 with my settings vs Unread
Reeder 4 with my settings vs Unread

To bring Reeder close to the reading standard that Unread set, I set my font size to 22 and my spacing to 1.7 and leave the stock font set to San Francisco. I’m not sure what the font settings are in Unread exactly, but those settings on Reeder make it feel close enough that I don’t feel annoyed by the reading experience.

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