App Review: Pocket Casts
Developer: Shifty Jelly
Android Market Link: Pocket Casts
Price in Android Market: $2.99
App Review written by Clay Russell of the androidXperience
If you don't know already, I love podcasts. Not only do I love to listen, but I am also a co-host on the iOSDocked podcast. But this post isn't about me or the iOS platform. This post is about one of my favorite apps and that app is Pocket Casts.
When I first started listening to podcasts, it was all done through iTunes. But when the App Store debuted, it wasn't long before dedicated podcast playing applications showed up. Well, as my primary device is an iPhone, I can tell you that there are several options available when looking for a podcast playing application that fits your needs. Well Pocket Casts fit my needs perfectly. And now that I have added a Galaxy Nexus to my growing smartphone arsenal, it is good to know that my favorite podcast app is available in the Android Market as well.
Well I like the Android version so much, I thought I would review the app in depth. So what's the app about? I'm glad you asked. Let me give you a tour.
When first loading up the application, you are greeted with a little instruction as a diagrammed tab layout is presented to you letting you know what each tab is for.
For advanced users and experienced listeners who may have their favorite podcasts backed up, Pocket Casts makes it easy to import your OPML files so that all your favorite podcasts can be ready to go in just a couple minutes. If you do not have a list to import, don't worry. The search tab will get you up and listening in no time. Just do a search for whatever category you are interested in or simply enter the name of the podcast you want to subscribe to. You can even enter the feed directly into the importer and pull it up that way. Oh! Don't forget to check out the networks section or the featured podcast of the week!
Now that you have some podcasts in your library. I recommend you go to the settings tab and set everything up according to your preference. There are many options that will help tailor the application to your liking. Here are some examples of your options in the settings menu:
1) Choose a custom time setting to skip forward or backward.
2) Automatically download new episodes of your subscribed podcasts or do it manually
3) If memory is precious to you, you can choose how many episodes of each podcast you want to keep on the device at any given time before they are deleted (personally, I keep the latest 2 shows).
4)You can also to choose how often you want those podcasts automatically downloaded and what time(s) of day you want that to happen.
5) You can also tailor your own speeds for listening to podcasts. (For example: You may want to slow a podcast down to 1/2 speed featuring Merlin Mann or double the speed of one featuring John Gruber.)
6) You can also choose which episodes of which podcasts you want to stream or download.
7) If cellular data caps are an issue, you can easily choose to restrict downloads to Wi-Fi only.
8) There are also options for setting up notification alerts of new podcasts as soon as a new episode is posted.
In the first tab, you have all your podcasts with album art presented in a grid. You can sort by date added, title or latest episode. There is a little number in the right hand corner of the album art indicating the number of new episodes for that particular podcast. You can also choose to break everything down by episode where there is even more options to sort or shuffle and you will see the total number of podcast episodes in a tab bar at the top of the screen that are unplayed, unfinished, downloaded, downloadable, recents, audio or video.
Now it's time to listen. So go to the now playing tab after picking which episode you want to hear. From there you can also create a playlist where you can listen to all your shows one right after the other in the order you want to listen to them. Have a favorite? Just drag it to the top of the list. Or alternatively, you can just let Pocket Casts do the work for you and sort them by date of release. And don't forget to use the share button to share those podcasts you love with others.The good news is you have options.
I want to wrap up this review by stating how impressed I am with the polish on this app. Coming from an iPhone, the developer did an amazing job making it a seamless transition from one device to the next. Where iOS still runs just a bit smoother and has a bit more eye candy, it's the options and customizations that make the Android version stand out in my opinion.
And that little widget with playback controls on the home screen and the lock screen setup doesn't look half bad either.
If you haven't found a podcast app for your particular device or you are looking for something better, look no further than Pocket Casts.
P.S. I'm still looking for bugs. Let me know if you find any:)
What is Xceptional: options, options and more options, notification alerts as new episodes become available, about as polished of an Android app I have seen to date
What is Xcluded: It's really hard to come up with what is missing. I am still waiting for the ability to create separate custom playlists. Maybe that is still coming. How about syncing episode state between my iPhone and my Galaxy Nexus? A man can dream right?
Summary: I highly recommend this app. Get to the marketplace and get your copy!