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We're constantly amazed by the amount of reading we do on our iPhones. Thanks to Retina displays that have all but eliminated eye strain, we're frequently buzzing through lengthy feature articles, flipping the pages of comics, and even curling up with occasional full-length novels, all without reaching for our iPads. But iPhones aren't exactly built for fast reading. Whether we're pinching and swiping to properly position text or constantly scrolling to get through lengthy works, the tiny screen is often a detriment to our concentration.
Outread understands our frustrations. A reading app that just so happens to promote speed, its unique method actually helps as much with comprehension as consumption. With a pleasant interface that gradually increases your reading dexterity, Outread acts as a kind of smart highlighter, guiding your eyes rather than hypnotizing them.
Even before we tested its abilities, we were impressed with Outread. A tasteful, subtle use of colors and animation makes things far less sterile than its competitors, with thumbnail images and time stamps that provide estimated reading times. Outread pulls its materials from the standard set of sources — Pocket, Instapaper, and Readability — as well as whatever's on your clipboard, including any URLs you’ve saved using its browser bookmarklet.
Once we selected an article to read, we were pleased to see the whole text in full view, allowing us to jump to any section we wanted. Pressing play initiates speed-reading mode and sets the yellow highlight in motion, gliding it from word to word as your eyes follow. Speed and size can be easily increased as you become more adept, and a dark mode helps with nighttime reading — though it strangely turns the marker dark gray, making it much more difficult to see. We'd definitely like to see the highlight color customizable in a future update, however, as well as the ability to import documents in proprietary formats, like Word files or PDFs.
The bottom line. Outread doesn’t just help you empty your Instapaper queue — it also gives you the tools to become a better reader.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later
Good interface and navigation. Excellent method for learning to speed read. Displays full articles rather than streaming words.
Dark mode makes speed reading difficult. No importing of individual documents.