With the death of Google Reader, I decided to switch to listening to podcasts rather than reading news feeds. The problem was, there weren’t really any good choices readily available for a podcast aggregator. Most of the existing Android podcast apps are either lacking in features or too complicated to use. What I was looking for was something like Google Reader, but for podcasts. I needed a player and something that will check for new podcasts as well as sync with other devices.
In my hunt, I came across the app Pocket Casts. Yes it is a paid app. We don’t usually talk about the paid apps if there is a free version of something that will do an equally good job. In my opinion, this is the best Android podcast app you can find in Google Play.
What Pocket Casts does
What I like is the ability to import a list of previously accumulated podcasts. There is an option to import an OPML file. This saves a lot of time if you are using another feed reader or were using Google’s Listen app.
If you are just starting out, you can easily add podcasts by searching for the website. Another option is to search for a keyword like “Major League Soccer”. The results will pull up all the possibilities out there.
When clicking on the podcast, you will see the description, recent episodes and the option to add it to your list.
When subscribed, you will see the latest episode and have the option to download it to your device. What’s nice is, you can also stream it using Pocket Casts or in an external player.
In the settings, you have several choices to set up how the podcasts are downloaded and played. One nice feature I have not come across before is being able to start several seconds in to avoid having to listen to the intro or intro music.
Another good option is to have the app check for new episodes once a day. This will save on battery life. Also, you can find options to delete the downloaded files after the episode has been played to help save space and clutter on your device.
If you know you’d like all of the newest episodes of a podcast to download, you can set this up to do it automatically. Be careful not to have too many download automatically or you could go through a lot of data or fill up your phone storage quickly.
One of the features that really sold me was the syncing from device to device. There is a free account needed which I gladly signed up for. The syncing is really useful for me. Sometimes I am listening to a podcast on the commute home from work and resume it on my tablet when I arrive home. I don’t need to figure out where I was in the episode when I move to a different device.
Overall, this is the best Android podcast aggregator I have tried to date. Unless something goes horribly awry with it, I won’t be looking for other alternatives. With all of the basic features handled, including a good looking and easy to use player with controls on the lock screen, there leaves little to desire for my needs. The added features like the smart playlists are all a plus when it comes to listening to several different sites.
Do you listen to podcasts regularly? What apps do you use on your Android to find and listen to them?
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