Read It Later has a makeover and a new name

Read It Later was an incredibly popular app, but developers Idea Shower decided it was time for an upgrade, and have now unveiled Pocket to the world. The basic principles remain the same, in that users browsing the web and their social networks save links or articles to a reading list for later.

This all now takes place in a much cleaner interface than the black one users of Read It Later will be familiar with. Pocket is white and seamless, with lots of gesture-based navigation and simple menu setups that aim to minimise the effort needed from the user.

Speaking of which, the set-up process is very impressive when first using Pocket, as you’re not only walked through how to set up a free account, but also how to sync the app with other apps and software on their device. This includes social network apps like Twitter, where you can tap and save links posted by others, and news apps like Flipboard and Pulse. Do all this on your first visit to Pocket and you’ll make the most out of it from the word go.

Pocket has also improved on the way it manages all manner of things you save to it, with different departments within the app to store your articles and multimedia, such as images and video clips. Having set up the app’s Bookmarklet, you will be able to save things to Pocket simply by tapping the bookmarks bar in your web browser and then selecting the Save To Pocket option. You’ll then see a message from Pocket confirming your action, and the article or other media will have been added to your list, as easy as that.

The process is similar when it comes to grabbing information from other apps. For example, Pocket provides you with a short walkthrough on how to verify your account in Twitter, which will then appear as one of the options in the menu when you tap and hold on a link.

Having now created a list of articles you can begin to work through and manage it. The icons in the top-left corner of your list screen allow you to view your queue as either a straight list, or in a grid system. The icon on the right allows you to jump between the different departments of the app, for example Articles, Images and Videos. It is worth noting that you can switch to a more traditional reading view by tapping the view icon at the top of the screen.

Pocket also has some very nice gesture-based navigation that allows you to quickly manage your list from the home page. In the list view you can pull each item to the left to reveal a new bar of icons from which you can check-off an item, as well as share it to social networks or add it to your favourites. It’s a clever option to have in place should you want to do some quick housekeeping on your to read queue.

There is clearly a greater emphasis on user experience in Pocket. Rather than focussing on adding new features, the developer has instead looked to improve what had already made Read It Later a popular app by making it clearer and a more inviting place to visit on your device. The viewing experience has been refined, and although there is still some hit and miss functionality when the app doesn’t recognise an article or drops a connection, these will likely be rectified with an update.

Fans of Read It Later should fear no more, Pocket has built on what was good about that app, and added a better interface, crisper functionality, and an increased feeling of freedom when it comes to browsing the web and creating a list of things to read.

Rated 5 out of 5

A complete upgrade on the original, and on the whole very enjoyable to use.