As much fun as it is writing here at TechNorms (and it is fun), we like to take a break sometimes. When you’ve just finished writing a lengthy article, the best way to unwind is to look at pictures of adorable little kittens. And birds with arms. And people getting very angry at each other on the internet.
What do all those have in common? reddit, of course. The famous online content-sharing website has something for everyone. We can’t help but like a website that has a subreddit for our every interest. So, we took a look at a few of the most popular reddit apps for Android.
Since the apps are essentially a shell for reddit’s content, we rated them in terms of interface, ease of use and exclusive features. The ideal reddit app has a good interface, helpful features, and runs quickly. In particular we looked for apps that loaded images and comments without issue. Nobody likes waiting.
Support for np.reddit.com links is a plus as well. How else can you read /r/SubredditDrama?
While we didn’t find an app that had everything, a few came close. Here’s how it turned out.
Reddit News Free
Reddit News Free was our preferred reddit client up to this point. It’s powerful, flexible, and feature-packed. The developer also does a good job of staying up-to-date on new Android features such as DashClock and Jelly Bean expandable notifications.
Those notifications are annoying as hell, though. They come back every 15 minutes until you click on them. Even if you read the mail on another device, Reddit News Free will not rest until you tap its notification.
When you do, the comments load slower. Comment-heavy subs like AskReddit and SubredditDrama (SRD) can be difficult to read. We tested the top three posts on AskReddit in each app and found that Reddit News Free was the slowest app that wasn’t in beta.
App Post #1 Post #2 Post #3 Reddit News Free 18.848 10.951 06.737 BaconReader 14.844 06.662 06.725 Reddit is Fun 14.772 09.496 07.451 Reddit Now 19.173 12.406 12.863 Reddit Sync 14.357 08.221 08.550 Reddit Flow no option to sort by top or search
* Times marked in seconds
At least the app supports np.reddit.com links.
But enough of the negatives. Reddit News Free has an excellent swipe-based interface. In order to upvote or downvote a post, simply swipe from right to left. A swipe from left to right brings you up one level.
Within the comments, there are buttons for jumping between top-level comments. This is useful and makes the app more convenient.
We also liked the in-app image viewer. Tap a thumbnail and an image is displayed right there. You can even set the images to preload. This is excellent for all picture subs like r/Funny.
Overall, Reddit News Free is a strong contender for the title of best reddit app for Android. If it didn’t have so much trouble with comments, we would have already handed it the crown.
After using Reddit News Free for so long, we were impressed with Reddit Sync’s UI. It’s a radically different approach, but in a good way. The smooth fonts and bold design really stand out.
Interacting with links is as simple as tapping on the small triangle in the corner of a post. It presents options to upvote, downvote, save, and the usual.
Reddit Sync has an interesting approach to comments. It only loads the top 15. Any more requires another tap or a trip to the settings. That’s not good or bad, just different. What is bad is the lack of np.reddit.com support.
Reddit Sync gets our vote for the overall nicest interface. The clean, Holo-themed look works wonders.
Reddit is Fun
Reddit is Fun is the simplest app we tested. The interface is based on taps to open menus of options. There are no fancy swipes like in Reddit Sync and News. Everything is straightforward.
The comments support is excellent. Everything looks clean and simple. Support for np.reddit.com links is superb as well. The app even flashes a little reminder at you not to comment or participate.
In our opinion, Reddit is Fun is too simplistic and too minimalist, but that’s personal taste. Discriminating redditors won’t go wrong here.
BaconReader sits somewhere between Reddit Sync and News in terms of interface. It’s unique, but not as radically different as it could be. We liked its clean and easy approach, especially for jumping between subreddits.
The theme support is good as well. It has dark blue themes in addition to the standard Holo coloring. Unfortunately, that coloring goes wrong in the comments. Indentation is marked with weird colored boxes.
The best feature is in the reply box. BaconReader displays the comment to which you are replying above your comment. It’s a nice touch that helps remind you what you’re writing about.
Unfortunately, there is no np.reddit.com support. The app ironically offered to open Reddit is Fun when we tapped an SRD link.
Overall, BaconReader is an okay choice. The interface isn’t as appealing as Reddit Sync or as cool as Reddit News, but it works.
Reddit Flow is a promising but incomplete app. It is very much still in alpha. The app doesn’t even have a settings menu.
Hopefully the interface will undergo some revamping before the final release. It is a weird mishmash of clashing colors that looks weird and decidedly not Holo.
Comments load quickly. The buttons to jump between top-level comments are appreciated as well.
SRD np links do not work. There was also some trouble when SRD linked to a NSFW subreddit. We were given the standard “adult content ahead” warning, but no option to continue. What gives?
Still, Reddit Flow is promising. It certainly feels snappy. Maybe when things will improve after alpha.
Ah… now (no pun intended) for the ugly stepchild of the bunch. Reddit Now may be in beta, but I’m afraid further development won’t save this abomination.
The problem is the interface. Look at the list view of content in a subreddit. It loses about ten percent of the screen to individual bits of content. The whole thing looks bizarre.
The list view is seriously awful. You can’t upvote, downvote, save the link, hide it, or anything. Say you want to visit r/AdviceAnimals and downvote everything. You would have to click each link and individually downvote from within the content viewer.
Then there’s the problem with self-posts. You have to tap the post, then swipe up from the bottom to view the comments. Why? Just why?
Of course, there is zero support for np.reddit.com links. Not that we were not expecting any.
Do not get Reddit Now. The interface is terrible. It was the slowest at loading comments. It lacks basic features. Stay away.
While we did not find a single perfect app, we did get a good sense of the reddit apps for Android. Right now, the field is split between Reddit News and Sync. Those two are easily the best of the apps we tested.
In the future, Reddit Flow might be good. Then again, a lot could change in the future. Keep an eye on these apps.
And lastly, don’t forget to visit r/circlejerk. Everybody needs a break every once in a while to say “THIS.”