Reading newspaper in the morning over your favorite cup of coffee is not only a morning routine. In a way, it has become a tradition of the modern life. Now that we have access to all sorts of mobile gadgets, reading as an activity has changed in many ways. With all the tablets and smartphone, you can read news from around the world at the touch of your finger.
PressReader from News Direct makes reading your favorite newspapers even easier by collecting them all in one place. Not only that, reading newspapers using this app allows you to read the digital version of newspapers and magazines. This way you get the convenience of getting your paper digitally, at the same time, you get to enjoy the original look of the paper from the front to the last page. Reading also becomes more interactive by allowing you to share your favorite articles on your social networking accounts.
- Have access to different publications all around the world
PressReader boasts of having more than 2000 publications available for download. What’s great about this is that you don’t have to subscribe separately in order to access other publications.
This is most especially useful for those who are working abroad. Filipinos who work in the U.S., for example, can read Chicago Tribune and read The Manila Times a few minutes later–all in the same app.
- Set automatic download for new issues
If you diligently read news daily, you will love this feature. You can choose which specific newspapers you want to be downloaded automatically once they become available. For example, if you read Philippine Daily Inquirer, you can set this up. Once you open your library, you’ll have access to the latest issue. This feature is only available for monthly subscription, and there’s a limit of automatic downloads that you can set.
- Page View versus Smartflow
Another great feature is the ability to view the newspaper or magazine using Page View or Smartflow. Page View offers you the actual layout of the publication as you would see in print. Using Smartflow, on the other hand, allows you to view the articles individually.
Personally, I like using Smartflow as it is easier to read, most especially if I’m using a smaller device like a smartphone or an iPod touch. In Smartflow, I don’t have to constantly zoom in and zoom out in order to read the articles.
After reading an article, I switch back to Page View, so I can scan other articles that would interest me. I usually just read the Lifestyle and Technology section of the papers. So, I skip a lot of sections. Skipping pages and sections of the newspaper is also easy in Page View. At the bottom of the page, there is a scroll bar indicating the sections.
- Share news through email, Twitter, Facebook
When reading the traditional printed publications, you don’t have the option of sharing things you like through social media. In PressReader, you can press and hold any part of the article and a pop-up will appear which will allow you to share an article through Twitter and Facebook.
You can also email it to a friend and colleague. If you use Evernote (like me), you can clip the article to your own account for later viewing.
The first time I tried reading an article, I couldn’t find where the share buttons are. It was only a few minutes later that I figured out how to share the articles.
With that said, there is a bit of a learning curve when using this app. Reading articles provides an intuitive experience. But taking advantage of the other features takes practice.
- Support or Oppose the News
Besides sharing through social media, you can also Support or Oppose each article by pressing the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon. It’s pretty much like the like and dislike buttons in YouTube.
I did this a few times when reading news articles, but it only shows a single count of thumbs up or thumbs down. I had the impression that the number of people who supported or opposed a certain article will be shown.
I’m not entirely sure if they keep count of all the “support” and “oppose” for each article. It could be possible that not many people have read the article that I chose to support, that’s why it’s only showing one vote.
- Listen to the news
By pressing “listen” or the “speaker” icon, a female voice (which sounds a bit like Siri) will read the whole article for you. The system is not perfect as it sometimes mispronounces some words and names. But it’s certainly a welcome feature on a news reader app.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite features. When I’m commuting, I always prefer to listen to podcasts instead of reading. Although this feature might not be used often, it’s certainly useful for specific situations. You can workout or go jogging while listening to the news.
- Click websites and send email
When reading traditional newspapers, you would have to take note of websites or emails that you need.
For example, you need to apply for a job and need the HR’s email in order to send your resume. When reading news articles or seeing advertisements in PressReader, you simply click the email, and the email app will open a new message. When you click on a website, your browser will automatically bring you to the page.
Based on my experience, not all emails and websites work. But you’ll usually know which ones should work because they are highlighted in blue.
PressReader is available in iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry. I got the chance to try it in iOS (iPad 4) and Android (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7). I also tried the app in my MAC.
Without a doubt, publications looks gorgeous in iPad. Transition from page to page looks more graceful. If you’ve got an iPad with a retina display and if you’re a newspaper junkie, this app is definitely a must-have.
You can use your smartphone or other smaller device to access PressReader, but the experience is not as seamless as the iPad. I tried reading one publication using the S3 mini, and it was quite hard to read articles in Page View.
One of the deciding factors when buying an app is price. The PressReader app is free, but you’ll have to pay for the publications. Luckily, there are a couple of options that you can choose from.
• Casual readers: Pay only $.99 per download with our pay-as-you-go plan.
• Newspaper lovers: Enjoy reading all your favorite publications whenever or wherever you want, all for just $29.95/month. (From PressReader)
If you’re from the Philippines, a $30 monthly subscription fee might be too much. It’s more than a thousand bucks when converted to Philippine peso. But if you have multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions, the cost can easily add up as well.
So, it’s definitely up to you whether which option is more convenient or costefficient.
If you want to take advantage of the monthly subscription, I suggest checking out the available newspapers and magazines listed under Philippines (or other countries you want to access) first. Most of the publications are available such as Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Times, and The Philippine Star.
But some of the magazines (like OK! magazine) that I usually read are unfortunately not included.
This app for you if:
- you want easy access to different publications in one app
- subscribe to magazines on a monthly basis
- want the convenience of reading the digital versions of printed publications
All in all, PressReader indeed redefines the experience of reading publications. I think it did well in merging the tradition of reading newspapers and enhancing the experience using digital technology.
It’s definitely a must-have app for news junkies.
But with its hefty price tag, this app might not be a priority for the majority of people who are satisfied with getting their dose of daily news from free websites.
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