Caffeinated Gives Reeder RSS App A Run For The Money On The Mac [Review]


Caffeinated: a viable contendor for your new default RSS app on the Mac
Caffeinated: a viable contendor for your new default RSS app on the Mac

Ok, I’ll admit it: I still haven’t kicked my RSS addiction. As hard as I try to just use sources like Twitter and Flipboard to get my news, there’s something about having every article from every site I follow in one place. And in my line of work, it’s very important to stay on top of the news cycle.

For the longest time I’ve used Reeder to scan RSS feeds on all of my devices. The iPhone, iPad and Mac apps are about as good as it gets for RSS, but I’ve been longing for some competitive apps to come on the scene. On the Mac, a RSS client called Caffeinated may have way it takes to dethrone the reigning champion, Reeder.

Caffeinated has been out for several months, but the app has gone basically unnoticed by the press. Developed by Curtis Hard and Kevin Anderson, the first thing you’ll notice about Caffeinated is that it’s beautifully designed. Reeder set the bar, and Caffeinated attempts to raise to even higher.

You can tell that a beautiful design was one of the main goals behind Caffeinated; the app is constructed with pixel perfection. Like Reeder, the look is very clean and minimal. Once you sign in with your Google Reader account, subscriptions are displayed on the far left. You can manage your subscriptions, add folders and feeds, delete subscriptions, etc. Articles are displayed in the middle column, and what you’re currently reading fills the larger space to the right. If you’ve used Reeder for Mac or something like NetNewsWire, Caffeinated will immediately feel very familiar.

Unread, All and Starred items can be aggregated from the top left. An immediate improvement over Reeder is the ability to search your entire subscription database (you can change how long Caffeinated holds on to read articles in settings).

Borrowing from Reeder again, the list of options in the top right of the app offer a lot of functionality. The share button can send an article to just about anywhere, and you have the ability to quickly turn on Readability’s minimal viewing mode while reading. You can also mark an article as read or star it for later. OS X Lion’s Fullscreen mode can be initiated from the very top right.

Caffeinated’s Preferences panel is full of great options for customizing your experience. Growl notifications can be used to notify the user of new articles. There’s plenty of sync options, and even the ability to enable “click for flash,” a handy plugin that disables Adobe Flash on the web until you click on it. The app’s interface can be tweaked more closely than Reeder allows, and there’s even a themeing engine for switching out looks. Another great thing about Caffeinated are all the keyboard shortcuts you can set for navigating around the app. Hotkeys for sharing on platforms like Facebook and Twitter or saving to Instapaper can be customized in the “Plugins” Preferences pane.

So, in summation, Caffeinated’s flagship attributes:

  • Simple, elegant interface with nice animations
  • Ability to search
  • Robust customization and sharing options

Caffeinated is available in the Mac App Store for $9. There’s also a 15-day free trial that can be downloaded from the app’s website. Download it yourself and see if it’s worthy of dethroning Reeder on the Mac.

  • EvilDevilEvil

    One thing that sure put me off and made me buy Caffeinated instead (which is great btw) is that Reeder doesn’t even have a trial version/download. Maybe they think they are too good to have give users a trial.

  • Marucins

    I chose Caffeinated