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App Review – Pocket Casts

I’ve been listening to podcasts for years now. I would download them from iTunes and sync them to my iPod Classic. Worked fine and it was a perfectly reasonable workflow 3 or 4 years ago. But now with this new internet connected devices it seems strange to connect it to the computer to import new podcasts. This is where pocket casts plays its part.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the app is how well it is designed.

The look of things, buttons placement and interface design is very well tough out. It’s pretty obvious it is design by some one who listens to podcasts(my favorite kind of developer is the one who uses he’s own app), and there is a lot of effort in it.

  

As you can see, there are a lot of details in the artwork, and the animations are fluid and pleasant(click on the images to see them at full resolution).

Features

You can stream your podcasts, and download them right there(you can even download 2 episodes at a time) an it as an option to prevent downloads over 3G. Great if you are on a limited data plan as i am.

The developer servers are monitoring your feeds so you dont have to, and you’ll get a push notification when a new episode is available, thats very nice to keep you up to date.

Great Details

There are some details in this app that make it even better.

    • You can advance 30 sec forward or 10 sec back on the playback screen with just a tap on the side, or use double-click and triple-click respectively on your earphones;
    • As soon as you finish an episode, you can set it to delete automatically;
    • Podcast info is editable, if you like to personalize things;
    • You can download video podcasts, and have them play only the audio. Great if you dont want to miss anything happening in the studio but you manly listen to audio;

What i dont like about it

When hit play on a video podcast, and then switch to the audio only mode, there is a gap of ~1 or 2 sec when there is no audio, and when i leave the app or put he phone to sleep, there is another gap of more or less the same length. I’m not sure if its an app thing, an iOS5 thing or an iPhone 4 thing but it happens and it annoys me a little. Nevertheless, the app is so good that i stopped downloading video episodes instead of not using the app. It’s a minor con an i dont think most people will mind.

Another good reason to buy it

The developers of the app, shifty Jelly, seem very committed to its continued development. They are not afraid of rewriting the entire app if it makes it better, and push updates reasonably frequently. And they really listen to customer feedback.

A while back, i was downloading a bunch of episodes (~500Mb worth of it), lost the wifi connection and my iPhone switched to the 3G connection. It got trough my 300Mb data cap in a blink of an eye. I emailed the developers asking for the “block 3G downloads” feature and got a very quick email saying they would consider it in a next update. There is no reason to believe i was the only one with the same request but, sure enough, on the next update there it was! This is the kind of customer satisfaction i would like to feel with every product i buy.

At 1,59€ ($1,99)? No brainer.

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