Zite vs. Flipboard – the best news reader app?



I enjoy a good news reader – ideally something that will bring news sources to me instead of me hunting them down, like an eternally refreshing smart magazine.

When I first found Flipboard on my iPhone years ago I remeber being very impressed. The interface was simple and elegant and it would bring together news from all sorts of sources that went beyond my social networks.
Fast forward through many devices, tablets etc. My reader of choice is now Zite, which of course recently sold to Flipboard.  There are a few reasons I keep coming back to Zite and I hope Flipboard will keep some of these features in a separate product.

  • Zite feels less ‘compartmentalized’.  One of my frustrations with Flipboard is that it feels like a short time before you’re at the end of a topic and have to flip back to the home screen to choose another.
  • Zite feels more ‘direct’.  The flipboard interface that felt so elegant to start with now feels like it gets in the way.  I like the way Zite just presents a scrolling list of stories to scan through.
  • Zite feels like it draws from a wider range of sources.  I like that you just click some topics you’re interested to start with and Zite populates the news list with a wide range of news sources.
  • Zite feels less ‘repetitive’.  One my biggest frustrations with news aggregator/ readers is repetition.  I don’t want to read the same storey 7 times that has the same information in a slightly different format.  I’m not sure how they do it, but Zite has very little of this repetition, whereas it feels like it’s throughout flipboard.

So what does Flipboard do better than Zite? Stability.

The one area where Zite desperately needs improvement is stabililty. On a nexus 5 zite will freeze up and crash often.   Sometimes the story links will just stop loading up, you’ll see the headline, but clicking on it won’t bring you to the article until you restart Zite (or it crashes and restarts itself).  Stability is a huge frustration with Zite, and yet despite that I still find myself coming back to it – thats how good I feel the rest of it is done – it’s worth putting up with the stability issues to get at the newsy goodness within.  Like plucking fresh blackberries off a thorny vine.
We haven’t heard yet if Zite will continue on or whether it will just be absorbed into Flipboard.  If it’s the latter, hopefully it will mean an improvement to the variety and repetition within Flipboard.

What I haven’t found yet is a good alternative, but I would love to find one.  Something that worked like Zite but was more stable.  Every other news reader I’ve found seems to be too narrowly focused. I want a reader that contains lots of tech and gadget news, but not to the exclusion of all other news.

If you have a suggestion for a news reader that runs on Android that matches up with this wishlist let us know in the comments below!


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