Cost as reviewed: FREE (now $0.99)
This app does exactly what the name says – it syncs RSS feeds. Well, to be more exact, it caches RSS feeds – as far as I can tell it doesn’t exactly “sync” with anything.
This app is one of those utilities that makes so much sense on the iPhone. One of the great things about the iPhone is that it can access the Internet from everywhere … well, from almost anywhere. So what happens when you’re in one of those situations where you have no Internet service at all on your phone but you want something to do? Well, you can download some RSS feeds to read and this app allows you to that quite nicely.
A few feeds come preloaded but adding your own is a cinch. Once you choose a feed to cache, you just tap that feed and then hit the refresh button at the top. One thing that would be nice here would be an option to sync all feeds at once. When connected to the Internet, this app will display photos from the post but it will not cache them, so when you move to an area with no connection, what you’re left with is just the text of the article.
Of course, if you follow a lot of RSS feeds then you’ll know that many sites don’t include the full post in the feed (probably because they want your traffic on their main site where all the advertisements are). If you read a lot of those kinds of feeds, you might get frustrated with this app because you will only have cached the shortened post that is provided in the feed. It would be awesome if the app could go out and pull the full text for you somehow.
One thing I am very pleased about is that the app understands landscape mode and functions just like Safari. I often find it easier to read text in this mode. However, one drawback of this app is that it doesn’t sync with an online reader. I love Google Reader and I use it all the time, but if I start using this app when on the go, Google won’t know which items I’ve already read and it will get confusing for me. Plus, if I add new feeds when online, I have to also manually add them to this app if I want them to download. Also, it looks like you can’t set up folders or categories of feeds in this app. If I have a ton of feeds it is often useful to organize them into groupings based on their content. It would also be great if you could set up a schedule for this app to auto-update at certain intervals, but since apps can’t run in the background, I guess that wouldn’t really work.
Over all, this app is very simple but does its job quite well. Of course, the version number is 0.1 so I’m sure there is much more on the way in the future. If you know you’ll be offline for a while and you want something to read, find some good full-text RSS feeds to add to this app so you can take them with you.