Inevitably, an app store will revolve around several types of apps – with many different alternatives available. This is the case with any app store, with Windows 8 as well. Pocket is a popular application for reading blog posts and other content not right at the moment. Articles are saved in a queue – and there are several Pocket clients in the Windows app store that promise to fulfill this task.
There are five clients available in the Windows 8 store: Latermark, Wocket, Jeans, In the Pocket, and Pouch. These are the five clients we’ll be comparing in our roundup today, to see which best meets the features of Pocket on Windows 8.
LatermarkLatermark is a nice, simple app for Pocket. The sidebar lists the unread articles in a manner similar to the default Windows 8 Mail app. Clicking on an article opens the reading view. Unfortunately, Latermark’s reading experience is subpar – though it allows for font-size adjustment, the line-spacing is tight and is sans-serif only. Once an article is clicked, you can mark it as read or mark it as favorite.
Latermark is an adequate enough app: its design is nice, and the color of the live tile is Pocket’s branding color – a nice touch. The app icon, unfortunately, looks rather like a bra and does nothing to identify the app other than by its strangeness.
Verdict: In the running
WocketWocket shows a basic grid of articles on its home screen. Once clicking on one of the titles, a sidebar of articles appears alongside a reading mode. This reading mode is adequate enough, but has no customization settings – text is displayed uncomfortably in sans-serif with a tight line height and large font size. Serif is really better for reading, and the option to include it would at least be nice in these clients.
Wocket’s branding is very ambiguous – looking like a piece of clipart, it is nothing but a blue pushpin. The entire app, though functional, seems very barebones. Not to mention the fact that other clients do the job so much better. Without customization or even a beautiful design, Wocket is not worth your time.
Verdict: Skip it
JeansJeans opens to a very minimal start screen with colorful icons. This in itself is strange: already, it is lacking the tiles and labels that are typical of a Windows 8 apps. The first icon shows the unread articles when clicked. Jeans takes a unique approach to the reading mode. Clicking a toggle button in the upper part of the sidebar toggles between ‘Web Mode’ and ‘Article Mode’ – web mode opens the web page as normal, while article mode opens the article in a reading mode, like all of the other apps available. Indeed, for some posts this reading mode returns a totally blank page. Still, it’s nice to be able to view the web view of a post directly in the app.
Jeans has some nice concepts, but they’re poorly executed. The design is clumsily executed and annoying to use. Also, the app is very unstable; it frequently exited to the start screen while I was attempting to use it. Utter lack of customization further sinks this app’s chances of succeeding.
Verdict: Skip it
In the PocketIn the Pocket also uses a jeans metaphor and carries it heavily with a blue color scheme and a denim live tile. The start screen of the application shows merely a simple grid of rectangles, with preview images and a short intro paragraph for each article. In the Pocket opens each article as a web page, similar to how Jeans attempts to do. You can also hide the sidebar while reading, to nearly emulate the IE immersive browsing experience.
Customization is sparse here, but you can choose whether to show only unread items, or all items including archived items. The reading experience, of course, will be as comfortable as the blog the article originally comes from. Overall, In the Pocket beats Jeans hollow, so if reading articles as they show up on the site is a must-have feature for you, then In the Pocket is the app you want.
Verdict: Worth a shot
PouchPouch uses Pocket’s branding colors combined with a beautiful design. It is the only shareware app in the running – the free version is ad-supported, and the paid version removes ads and adds some new features. Though the start screen shows a grid of the articles in your queue (as most of these apps do), it is more nicely designed than all of the other apps available.
The reading experience is nicely spaced, though still sans-serif – and the font-size can be adjusted directly from the reading view. Though Pouch has no customization options aside from this, its default experience is comfortable enough that it is more bearable than the other apps in the roundup. Pouch has some quirks – like a very pixelated app icon – but its beautiful design and stable functionality (after all – a web reader is a fairly simple application functionality-wise) make it a clear champion in this roundup.
Verdict: We have a winner.
ConclusionIt’s good to be able to have options available in the app store – but it’s better to have a clear winner among the options: Pouch. Best of all, Pouch has already seen updates and promises to improve in the future. It’s definitely the best choice for your Pocket reading on your Windows 8 device. Still, static screenshots and a review can only tell you so much — better to get out and try the apps out yourself.
(All of the apps in this roundup are available on the Windows store)