One of the major advancements that we have all gained from the era of digital information is the fact that new information can be delivered the moment it becomes available. Basically, all you need to do in order to keep up with the latest news is to unlock your device and launch a news app.
Sure, the old-fashioned way of visiting the web page of a certain news agency still has a charm of its own, but why settle for reading news from each source individually when there are plenty of Android apps available in the Play Store that can help you keep track of multiple sources at the same time?
Throughout this article we’ll explain how the best Android news app works, and provide a list of features that make a certain app stand out from the crowd. If you’re interested in learning all the details, keep reading. If all you want is the quick rundown, jump to the recommendation section at the end of this article!
1. Google Play Newsstand – Free
Standard news app for Android
Google Play Newsstand is the official Magazine and RSS reader app coming from the same company that develops the Android OS. Google Play Newsstand allows its users to read both magazines as well as regular RSS feeds. However, at a first glance, it would seem like Google tried to develop a great app for reading magazines, and only threw in the RSS part later in the process.
The magazine shelf is quite diverse and it’s amazingly represented visually. The first thing to notice about this app is a great-looking (but easy to use interface): the fonts look good, users can swipe between panels, and the subtle animations contribute to an overall pleasant feel of the app.
One thing to bear in mind is that if you want to translate entire magazines or RSS feeds into your native language, Google Play Newsstand can automatically translate the content in your preferred language. This is something that no other app in this list can do as well as Google’s own app, probably because of its deep integration with Google Translate.
Unfortunately, Google Play Newsstand is not as good with RSS feeds as it is with magazines. There’s no separate tab for RSS feeds, and while some “featured” feeds look much like a magazine does, there are some image issues with lesser known feeds. In addition, while the “Read Now” tab does offer some interesting recommendations on related items, most users have been complaining about the fact that it cannot be set to show items just from user-selected news providers.
If all you want is an Android app that allows you to read popular magazines and news feeds in a centralized (and great-looking) hub, then Google Play Newsstand is an above-decent app. However, most of the apps that follow in this list come with extra functionality tweaks, so you might want to continue reading this article.
Google Play Newsstand features:
- RSS Feeds
- Article recommendations
- Offline reading
- Category-based browsing
- Great-looking user interface
Notable Feature: Google-powered translate engine
2. Flipboard – Free
Flipboard is more than just a news app for Android, it’s a phenomenon in its own. What started as a unique way to flip through news items has matured in probably the best way of consuming news items and written content on any Android device.
One of the things that sets Flipboard aside among the apps in this article is the fact that it can combine news items from publishers with items from your social networks. Just add your Facebook account (other networks are supported as well), and the app will occasionally show Facebook posts among your subscriptions.
Since we’ve reached the topic, Flipboard allows you to discover content based on the publisher, but it also features a category-based content discovery system. Furthermore, Flipboard also allows its users to glue content together into magazines. Magazines can be shared, and even if you won’t create your own magazine, I guarantee that you’ll find some awesome content in the magazines that other people have created.
Flipboard cannot deal with RSS subscription, as all Flipboard publishers are selected manually. However, the advantage of properly curated content shows off, as most feeds are represented impeccably (and fully, not just the excerpt).
If you don’t like a certain author, Flipboard allows you to block them from appearing in your newsfeed. Furthermore, users reduce their 3G/4G data use via setting that ensures the app downloads images on-demand only, select items for ulterior reading via Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability, as well as Fetch the entire state of the app for Offline reading.
These are the most important features that Flipboard brings to the table
- Topic-based discovery
- Save articles for ulterior reading
- Integrates Facebook posts
Notable Feature: User-created magazines
3. Feedly – Free
The popular choice
Since Google pulled the plug on Google Reader, Feedly quickly rose to claim the throne of “Best RSS Reader app for Android”, despite some intense competition.
Basically, Feedly aggregates the RSS feeds of the news websites you select and summarizes the headlines into mobile-optimized cards that you can flip through. Feedly is optimized for smartphones, mid-sized and full sized tablets, meaning that it will display content in a way that’s appropriate for your Android device.
Feedly also allows you to browse for feeds by category, save articles for later reading (both via Feedly as well as via third-party apps such as Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote) and comes with a very interesting feature: the ability to display content from Google News.
These are the most important features brought by Feedly:
- Great UI
- Save articles for later reading
- Topic-based discovery
Notable Feature: Google News section
4. Press – Paid [$2.99]
Feedly on steroids!
Press is a paid RSS reader app for Android devices that can sync with four different services: Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin, and Fever.
Compared to Feedly, Press brings a number of improvements such as a cooler design, an immersive mode for viewing articles, quick saving to Pocket and Instapaper, as well as some tweaks that can help users save big on their data plans such offline image caching and reading support, or background syncing.
Press is among the few apps in this list that can allows you to change the font style and size, as well as the text alignment of the article. In a nutshell, Press is like Feedly on steroids!
These are the features contained in Press for Android:
- Syncs with Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin, and Fever
- Change font size & style
- Save for leater reading
Notable Feature: Background sync
5. gReader – Free and Paid [$4.69]
Probably the best news app for Android
a. Free Version
gReader is yet another alternative RSS Reader based on Feedly and the OldReader. Unlike other Google Reader clones out there, gReader is optimized for tablets and comes with three themes, and a night mode that sets text in white and the background in black.
Once you select your favorite RSS feeds, gReader is set to go. The app comes with a few very interesting features such as podcast support, the ability to automatically download your favorite feeds when WiFi is detected, and a translation feature based on Google’s Translate engine. Furthermore, you can save items for offline reading either locally on gReader or via services such as Pocket, Instapaper, or Readability.
If you’re looking for an RSS reader with the added features of podcast support and article translation, gReader seems to be a very solid pick.
These are the most important gReader features:
- Feedly/OldReader support
- Font settings
- Article translation
- Podcast support
Notable Feature: Can sync automatically when WiFi is detected
b. Paid Version ($4.69)
The paid version of gReader gets rid of all of the ads, allows happy users to support the devs of the app, and unlocks voice reading and the option to download podcasts over WiFi so you can listen to them offline.
6. Digg – Free
All of the apps listed until now are pretty much based around one basic functionality: they allow users to manage RSS feeds/magazine subscriptions, with the occasional content discovery feature. While Digg’s app for Android does come with RSS reader capabilities, the reason why we have included it in our list is that it offers an alternative way of discovering interesting stories around the internet thanks to its social news feature.
The best way to think of Digg for Android is as a companion app for Digg.com. Unfortunately, the app could be better polished (as it reigns obvious from its mediocre rating on Google Play), but if you’re a Digg fan, you have to deal with the shortcomings.
Digg for Android features:
- RSS Reader
- Save stories for later reading via Instapaper & Pocket
Notable Feature: Social News
7. Reader Plus – Paid [$1.99]
Simple but effective news app
If you’re looking for a paid RSS/ATOM feed reader that’s designed with both tablets and smartphones in mind, Reader Plus is an app you might want to try.
Reader Plus for Android comes with two reading layouts, four themes, a clean UI, podcast support, as well as an offline mode (with image caching). Much like gReader, Reader Plus allows its users to play with a wide array of settings relating to the app’s appearance, the notifications it sends out, the way it syncs, etc.
These are the most important features offered by Reader Plus:
- Podcast support
- Offline mode
- Clean & minimalistic UI
Notable Feature: Advanced settings
8. News Republic – Free
News from the top news agencies
News Republic is an Android app destined to bring its users the best news on the Internet on a wide range of topics. Unlike most of the apps in this list, you cannot subscribe to RSS feeds. Instead, the apps uses its list of news partners that include only the top news agencies from around the world (CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters, etc).
Other features that users appreciate in the News Republic app for Android is its related content discovery, as well as the fact that the app learns about your news preferences and will display a more personalized experience as you interact with the items.
These are the most important features available to News Republic users:
- Related content discovery
- Smart news feed
Notable Feature: Articles only from the top news agencies
9. Stitcher – Free
Best app for audio news
Stitcher is a podcast discovery, browsing and recommendation app that earned its place in our list of top radio apps for Android as well.
Although it is not a news-only app, Stitcher can still be personalized to bring you the latest news. Using Stitcher to listen to news is the best way to catch up to recent events if you’re unable to constantly look at your Android device (for instance, when you’re driving).
The interface is great, users can easily manage your subscriptions, and we also like the fact that the app sends notifications when new podcasts are uploaded. If you’re into listening to news more than you’re into reading them, Stitcher might be the perfect app for you.
These are the features that users will appreciate in Stitcher:
- Podcast discovery servic
- Notifications for new podcasts
Notable Feature: Best podcast support
10. World Newspapers – Free
Global news discovery app
If you’re looking for a way to discover news based on geographical criteria, then World Newspapers is the app we’re going to recommend. World Newspapers is basically a collection of 6000 newspapers from more than 105 countries around the world.
With World Newspapers for Android, users can quickly browse for content from a specific country or on a specific topic, save their favorite sources, bookmark items for later reading, and even translate pages (quite an useful feature considering that the app brings together news sources from around the world).
These are the main features of World Newspapers:
- Topic and country-based news discovery
- Bookmark articles for later reading
- Article translation
Notable Feature: News from 105 countries
Given the distinct features that developers have implemented in news apps, it’s hard to nominate a single app as the best news app for Android, but here are a few recommendations:
- If you want an app that can manage both RSS feeds as well as magazines, go for Google Play Newsstand
- If you want a free RSS reader with loads of features, go for gReader (free version) or Feedly
- If reading news from the top agencies is what you’re looking for, take News Republic for a try
- If news podcasts are more of your thing, Stitcher is the app you’re looking for
What do you guys think of our list? Did we omit your favorite news app? Drop us a comment in the section below and let us know!