Review #10: Inoreader (Web)

I’ve been using Netvibes since Google killed iGoogle and Google Reader. It’s a good app, but as an RSS reader, there are a few things that annoyed me:

  • Netvibes has no mobile app, which is pretty weird for a web-based service right now. It has iPhone and Android-optimized versions of the site, but they’re not very comfortable to use and doesn’t suit every browsers (browsers that don’t support Javascript, for instance). Here’s why.
  • It won’t allow me to sort feeds from oldest to newest, which made navigation pretty awkward for feeds with serialized posts.

There are a lot of web-based RSS readers with mobile apps out there (don’t they all have one?), but the number one problem for me is their compatibility with my phone. App developers now usually don’t think of creating something for Froyo.

So in my search for an alternative to Netvibes, I worked backwards: instead of searching for a web-based reader and then looking at the mobile app, I searched for a Froyo-compatible app on and looked at its web version.

On Play Store, the only compatible RSS reader I could find was FeedMe (it’s a good app, fortunately), which can sync to Feedly, Bazqux, The Old Reader, and Inoreader.

Setting Inoreader up is quite easy. I signed in and imported my subscriptions list, which I previously downloaded from Netvibes. There’s a progress bar for the importing process, which is pretty good to see since two of the previous other RSS readers I tried only used a vague message similar to ‘Your feeds are importing in the background’.

feeds

Inoreader has a dashboard which lets you see your newest feeds. As a free user, I can’t customize it.

dash

You can add and edit subscriptions by clicking on the gear button next to ‘Subscriptions’. Alternatively, you can add a subscription by searching the site on the top-left search box.

subscription

Inoreader has several keyboard shortcuts, which you can see by pressing H. When reading, you can move between feeds by pressing J and K. Pressing keys 1-4 would change how it shows your feeds.

views

At first I don’t notice it, but you can mark a feed as read/unread by clicking on the blue/grey bar on the left side of it. You can star a feed, share it on Facebook and Google+, email it, and even save it as a PDF.

read

feedoptions

I don’t like it when I can’t read an article or a webcomic straight from the feed, but Inoreader has a button that loads the webpage directly inside the feed via an iframe. Yet this didn’t work with all feeds, and I have to click the button again when I move on to the next feed. You know what’s more annoying? There’s no keyboard shortcut for this.

web2

Inoreader has two unique features: Rule and Bundle. Using Rule, you can assign actions when your feeds suits one or more criteria, while a Bundle is a collection of subscriptions you can share with other Inoreader users. For example, here’s a bundle of Linux-related news.

rules

bundles

Inoreader has a browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome that lets you see your unread feeds and subscribe to the currently open page.

companionYou’ll see ads on Inoreader. They’re usually placed on top and right side of feeds and on the start/end articles (they even appeared on FeedMe). At first all of the ads came from Inoreader itself, but after a few days they’re replaced by third-party ads.

ad1

Conclusion

I found Inoreader to be a worthy replacement to Netvibes. It has more features and settings, even for the free account I’m using now. The ability to create Rules is a killer feature. It might be easily overlooked, but I love it that the settings are easily accessible from the main interface; you don’t have to go to the Settings menu to make small adjustments.

But I have problems with the keyboard shortcuts. I love starring articles for future reading, yet there’s no shortcut for this function, nor there’s one to load the original webpage of a feed. Thanks to Marjorie at the comment section, there are actually shortcuts for these features.

Pros:

  • Easily-acessible settings
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Ability to create rules and bundles
  • Integration with browser and other services

Cons:

  • Ad-supported for Free users
  • Cannot load original website in many feeds

Suggestions:

  • Automatically move to next item after reaching end of article
  • Ability to bulk-select feeds with checkboxes

Inoreader
Developer: Innologica Ltd.
License: Freemium
Ad-supported?: Yes
API available? Yes

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3 thoughts on “Review #10: Inoreader (Web)

  1. Hi Nochka,

    What a balanced review, it’s a great read! An Inoreader fan myself, I had a quick look at the cons that you mentioned at the end of your post.

    Did you try the ‘f’ key to mark items for reading later? It marks an article with a star. The article will then show up in the top-left corner of your screen, under Stars (= Items marked for reading later). Most folder types in Inoreader (feed folders, tags, Active Searches, Stars, Saved Web Pages) support RSS output.

    About opening websites in their original view: it is my understanding that some websites decline the request to open their content as iFrame. You can use the ‘v’ and ‘b’ keys to open an article in a new tab.

    Did you know there’s a very active user forum for Inoreader, at http://forum.inoreader.com? The developers participate actively, and usually there’s a response within several hours.

    Lastly, feel free to check out the Inoreader Notebook, a free resource that I compile with tips, tricks and pointers related to Inoreader.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards,
    Marjolein Hoekstra
    @CleverClogs

    P.S. Do you have a Twitter account? I’d like to tweet about your review and give you full credit. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your tips. I was a little confused on how Inoreader labeled their features. I think I should make a few adjustments to my review…
      I don’t have a Twitter account, sorry!

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