Flipboard -v- Zite -v- news.me

News aggregators are ten-a-penny on the iPad at the moment, but the top 3 appear to be Flipboard, Zite and the newly released news.me.

I've been playing with all three for a while and here's my 2 cents worth (sorry for the currency conflicts).

news.me

This is the baby of the bunch, having only been released about a week ago.

Initially, I was impressed with the app. The design is terrific, and the overall experience was a good one. I opted to try the "free for a week" option, rather than immediately subscribing, and I'm glad I did, as I'm no longer using it. Why? The grouping of the articles. You select the items you want to read by tapping the icon of the person at the top of the page.  You will then see "the news that is most likely to be interesting to that person".

I must be missing something, but ordering stuff by what's possibly of interest to someone else doesn't make a lot of sense to me. How do I know who's "feed" I should look at to get to the good stuff?

I also found that this resulted in a lot of duplicate articles. Switching between "people" would often show the same articles. I can see why that would be, given the method used, but that doesn't make for a very good user experience.

Also, they charge you - either 59p per week, or just over 20 quid for a year. I can see why they would do so, as they pay the publishers. Problem is, you can get the same new elsewhere for free, which brings me to:

Zite

Another relative newcomer, having been released between Flipboard and news.me, Zite declares itself as a "Personalised Magazine" for the iPad and I like it a lot. Whereas news.me grouped articles by person, Zite sensibly groups them by topic. When the app starts, you’re presented with a Top Stories page which shows the latest news across a number of topics. Handy for a general overview. You can then add your own Sections, e.g. Gadgets, iPad, World News etc which all drill down into greater detail on those topics.

This feels more like an actual magazine format, browsing through the specific sections that you’re interested in.

The built in page viewer is very clean and loads quickly. In some instances, it’ll launch an internal browser with the page in question. Either way, you’re able to do all the sharing you’d expect.

Zite apparently learns what you like. This would certainly appear to be the case, as it’s rare it’ll present me with something I’m not interested in. Impressive.

Generally, if I want to look for news in a specific subject area, this is the app I’ll turn to. If I just want to do some general browsing, it’s time for:

Flipboard

This one’s been around the longest and seems to be getting better with age.

You can add your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc feeds, and also select from a number of sections, including Featured Content, as well as a feed from a Twitter person or list.

They’ve also recently added The Guardian and Telegraph news feeds, making it a handy app for getting the current news.

As with Zite, there are more sharing options than you can shake a stick at.

I found it most useful for just browsing around stuff. I think it has the best user interface, but it doesn’t adapt to your tastes, so you get a lot of random stuff, but of course you can find some real gems that way.

Summary

I use Zite and Flipboard in about equal measures. They’re both polished and genuinely useful apps. I like news.me’s UI, but I just don’t get the concept. And I certainly wouldn’t pay for it.

What’s your favourite?