After Google Reader was discontinued, many predicted that RSS would soon fall out of use. With news and fresh content delivered over Twitter and other social networks, the prediction didn’t seem so unlikely. However, countless online publications and blogs still rely on RSS to reach their audience. Subscribing to feeds is easy, and you can check them anywhere – from the browser, with a desktop app, or from your smartphone. Flym RSS Reader is a lightweight Android app with many useful features.
You can install Flym from Google Play Store and the F-Droid repository. The interface is clean and minimalist with a blue menu bar at the top. To clear up the most important terms I’ll be using: “Feeds” simply refers to RSS feeds that you add or import into Flym. “Entries” are articles that are posted within each feed that you follow.
The buttons on the right can be used to hide or show read entries; reload a selected feed, a group of feeds or all feeds in the list; mark all entries as read; add or edit new feeds; and access settings. Of course, you have to add RSS feeds to Flym before you can modify them. Press the Edit (“pencil”) icon, and Flym will take you from a screen titled “Entries” to the one called “Feeds.” Here you can add new feeds manually or select Google News topics by tapping the “plus” icon. You can also import feeds from an OPML file which you’ve previously created in another RSS reader.
Once they’re added, feeds can be organized into groups by pressing the “folder with plus” icon to make a new group. Then you can drag and drop feeds into a group by releasing them over a group’s name – Flym will ask whether you want to move the feed into the group or just reposition it in the list. Groups are shown in the Feeds list with an arrow in front of the name, and you can expand them as well as browse their contents by tapping on each one.
Every feed can be manually edited by selecting it in a list and selecting the “Edit” icon. It’s possible to give it a custom name and create a filter for each feed to keep unwanted content out of your RSS reader. This is probably Flym’s most useful feature that other simple RSS readers often lack.
Tapping the left corner of the menu bar at the top will open the navigation sidebar. Flym makes it easy to access individual feeds as well as custom groups and lets you preview the number of unread items in each one.
You can also show starred items and search for particular entries. The search function looks for the keyword in both the title and the content of an entry.
If you tap the title of an entry in the list, Flym will show you an excerpt and offer to load the full article or open it in your Android browser. The top menu bar looks slightly different in this case, offering icons to mark the entry as starred; share it on social media, email and other outlets; and show it in full-screen mode. The last icon opens a small menu where you can copy the article link and mark it as read or unread. More options related to entries can be found in the main settings.
Flym’s settings are straightforward and well-explained. You can enable automatic refresh of your feeds and adjust the refreshing criteria. When it comes to displaying entries, you can toggle the light or dark theme, modify text size, disable images, set automatic full-screen mode, change the order of entries and choose how long you wish to keep new entries in Flym’s database. The last section lets you control the type of notifications about new entries, and if you use a proxy on your network, Flym offers a configuration dialog for that, too.
I have been using Flym for about a month and haven’t experienced any problems with it – it’s a stable, reliable RSS reader for Android users who prefer practical solutions over bells and whistles. Even if you’re happy with your current RSS app, consider installing Flym as a backup, just in case a wild update breaks your favorite app.
Do you still use RSS to follow news and blogs? Which other Android RSS readers would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.