Ah, podcasts From brief badly recorded and poorly produced conversations in the early days of the internet, they evolve into real shows of the digital age, with professional productions, engaging scripts and interesting guests. Whether it is a phenomenon of popularity in the criminal investigation segment, as the Serial, or a marketing chat with some of the best names in the business, like Braincast, or even our best podcast in history, the MacMagazine On AirIt is one thing for sure: you will want an app to listen to these beauties.
Why? Simple: past are the days when the experience of listening to a podcast was limited to sitting in front of the computer, putting on headphones and pressing play on an anachronistic flash interface. Nowadays, these programs must be everywhere: home, car, public transport, work, whatever, and in order to merge with modern life, they need an app that keeps up with our daily pace and offers resources that allow this is full integration.
So we decided to put together some of the most popular apps for playing podcasts: Pocket Casts, Overcast, Castro, WeCast and, of course, the namesake Podcasts, from Apple itself. In the following paragraphs, we will determine which one is our champion of the week!
Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking now. "Now, Bruno, Apple already has a podcast app that comes installed on every iPhone or iPad sold in the world, why complicate the situation?" Elementary, my dear reader: one of the main ideas of this comparison is precisely to analyze whether the native application of Ma brings enough resources to be considered a viable option or if its toughest competitors are really so superior as to make the work worthwhile. of an App Store travel.
Before we start, a note: in relation specifically to Pocket Casts, the version I have been testing for comparison is a beta of the big update that will be coming soon to the general public. (Update:It arrived already.) As this is already in the final stage of development and with a number of bugs / imperfections basically imperceptible, I thought it fair to judge it under the same metrics used for the other competitors. That said, there we go.
In our first question, whoever leads Pocket Casts. Its clean, well-organized and above all extremely fluid interface is a few steps above the other options. On both iPhone and iPad, the process of listening to podcasts, finding and subscribing to new shows, downloading or playing on streaming the episodes and managing the subscriptions was as intuitive as possible.
Slightly below it, I classify Castro as the second best of the troupe, simply because it offers an extremely minimalist interface, with the basic of the basic for those who want to listen to their internet programs: two tabs (?Podcasts? and ?Episodes?), one ?+? button to add new podcasts and a button for adjustments. Simpler, impossible, of course, to offer more robust features. He is the only one not to offer an iPad version, good to quote.
Overcast and Podcasts suffered from similar problems, with an interface too loaded with buttons and too many screens to control what are essentially long Internet audio. WeCast came in last because of its simple design, not very intuitive and a weak version for iPad: essentially a stretched iPhone app.
In the basic task of searching for / subscribing to podcasts and downloading / playing episodes, all applications performed well, with no positive or negative highlights. However, some elements in addition to this primary functionality put them in different positions. Of all, Podcasts and Pocket Casts showed the most stability, speed and reliability in the test in the sense that things just work: when opening the app, the most recent episodes of my subscriptions were always there, downloaded or ready for reproduction, without errors or headaches.
WeCast did well in the media, without many comments to be made. Castro and Overcast also did not fare badly, but they have a basic and very annoying problem: sluggish. It?s not really infuriating, but it?s just those extra seconds to display the result of a search, a success message when you tap to subscribe to a program, or the playlist.
Here that the bug catches and the competitors fight an intense fight to stand out and, once again, who wins the Pocket Casts. In fact, no other application in this test offers such a large amount and such a wide range of resources of all types. It has everything, from the very useful filters (to filter the episodes of your subscriptions by unheard, or by theme, tags, etc.), until playback continuous, going through playback speed, granular control of which / how many episodes the user wants downloaded on the device, possibility to transmit the content through AirPlay or to a Chromecast, sleep timer and much more.
All other competitors offer, to a greater or lesser extent, some of these features brought by Pocket Casts, but none brings them all together like our chosen one in this regard. The Overcast does a little better than the others mainly because it is the only one to offer an app for the Apple Watch although any of the apps can be played on the watch, like any media, only it offers a separate app to select episodes directly from your wrist. (Update: as we were warned in the comments by Matheus (thanks!), the Overcast app for Apple Watch doesn?t allow you to select any episodes and podcasts, just control playback within one playlist previously assembled.)
Podcasts misses such a complex interface with very few remarkable features; Castro and WeCast basically offer nothing in this regard.
Podcasts and Overcast (which offers In-App Purchases only for donations to developers) are the only completely free ones in the group. Castro is temporarily free, too, as developers prepare a new version of the application.
WeCast has the free application, but limited subscription to four podcasts to unlock this feature, an internal purchase of US $ 2 is required. Pocket Casts charges $ 4 for the app.
There's not much to run for. We have a clear champion here, and he goes by the name of Pocket Casts. It may not be the cheapest, but certainly the most complete, most feature-rich, with the most well-thought-out interface and the most fluid and reliable operation. If you are an advanced podcast listener and need a robust application to keep up with your requirements, you have nowhere to run, obviously remembering that I based myself on a new version that is yet to be released.
Now, if you are a light, occasional listener who listens to a program here or there and is not paying much attention to extra features or superfunctional interfaces, the Podcasts that are already on your iPhone / iPad will satisfy you perfectly.
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