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After quietly lurking in the App Store, “read later” services have recently exploded in popularity. Apple even has a horse in the race with Safari’s Reading List, but one of the pioneers of the genre is Pocket (Formerly Read it Later), which recently bulked up its content-saving superpowers alongside the rebranding.
Pocket saves web-based content and makes it available for later use from any web browser or via free apps for iOS and Android. No longer just for saving web articles for later reading, Pocket is also savvy enough to grab images or video as well. The app defaults to viewing content in an uncluttered, ad-free view, but the full content is only a tap away. Content can be saved from a browser bookmarklet or one of more than 300 apps (including Pulse, Zite, and Twitter) also tied into the service. Saved content syncs to your account, where it can be read or viewed anytime using the free, universal iOS app – even offline.
The former Read it Later service was largely the same, but Pocket introduces a fresh new look and completely overhauled UI. The app now defaults to a cleaner, more eye-pleasing grid view of saved content with big, colorful icons, though the traditional list view option also remains, if preferred. Saved content can be tagged or favorited for easier discovery, and read articles can be archived with just a tap. These changes can now be made in bulk mode, making short work of housekeeping with an overflowing queue.
Pocket is an order of magnitude better than its previous incarnation (which was no slouch to begin with), and its gorgeous UI and multimedia savvy bests rivals Instapaper and Readability. If you’re ready to move beyond simply saving articles, there’s no contest – Pocket gets the job done and looks great doing it.
The bottom line. Although we’d prefer dedicated browser extensions to the otherwise capable bookmarklet, Pocket has quickly become one of our favorite “read later” services. Now that it’s saving video content, we’d also prefer an option for bookmarking our place with longer content, but otherwise there’s little to complain about: Pocket is not only a jack of all trades but nearly a master as well.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Beautiful UI consolidating saved web content into colorful grids. Free Pocket adds (Read it Later was previously available in paid or lite versions). Rich organization features allow for bulk tagging, favoriting, or editing.
Some videos won't appear in article view, requiring switch to web view. No dedicated browser extensions (bookmarklet only). No auto-resume or bookmarking for media playback.