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Comparative: find out which text saving and reading application best fulfills its function

In 2012, directly from the time tunnel, we published here on MacMagazine an article comparing the three most well-known ?Read later? (?Read it later?): Pocket, Instapaper and Readability.

Today, almost four years later, many things are extremely different. The smartphone took over from the computer as the main device of almost everyone, something that was still going on at that time. We already have even smaller screens to which we can pay attention and even consume content. Digital media as a whole have gained even more strength compared to traditional media, that is, everyone is reading on the internet today, and this application segment has only gained relevance since then.

Interestingly, one thing has not changed: the three applications tested in 2012 remain the most well-known and relevant competitors in the industry. The world around them has changed, and for this reason, we bring you a rematch: in the middle of 2016, what app does the best job of saving and then reading internet articles like the one you read at the moment?

We decided to add two other solutions to the mix that have appeared since then and, although they are not so complete or totally dedicated to the trade, they have important qualities: Evernote and the Reading List (Reading List), a feature built into the Safari browser. Who will be the best? Let's see below.


The basic operation of all these services, obviously, is very similar: you have an open text in a browser or on social networks and want to save it for later; you click on the ?share? button on your device or the corresponding extension, if you are on the computer to save the text on your preferred service; the service will save only the essential part of the text (title, body, media) and it will be accessible offline from within an interface optimized for reading.

In this specific aspect, whoever gets the Safari Reading List better, for following out one of Apple's mantras: it just works. In addition to having the benefit of having a privileged place in the Ma browser, he imported all the selected texts perfectly, without problems of diagramming or lack of media and still makes them available for offline reading. All the others did well, but with some flaws: Instapaper, for example, failed miserably to import an article from the Twitter for some reason, he recognized the comment section as the body of the text and cared about that. Readability simply failed to import texts on two occasions, forcing me to repeat the task.


In the small details, however, things really start to change: in terms of design, who wins the Instapaper, which prioritizes the reading experience itself as much as possible, leaving other resources hidden but not inaccessible, which is important for when the user needs it. The application makes a much better use of empty spaces to make an impression of lightness, without causing visual fatigue like competitors. Its standard serif font is also more pleasing to the eye and reminiscent of printed publications although it is possible to change it.

Readability and Pocket also do not do badly in this regard, although they are one step down. They offer several options for customizing the interface, which is a plus. On the other hand, the Reading List and Evernote are very spartan, the first of which has no personalization option even as they say, what you see is what you get.


Here, a tie between Pocket and Instapaper seems fair. Both, as well as Readability, offer the usual features of the option of transcribing text into voice with a choice of speed, filing, sharing on networks, etc. , but stand out in different fields. The Pocket has a robust tags which makes it infinitely easier to find an old text, or a set of them, that the user filed years ago. In this field, Instapaper loses by offering only a folder feature, less complete in d to add text to two different folders, for example.

On the other hand, Instapaper has a very interesting feature of dynamic reading, in which the words appear on the screen one by one, at the speed chosen by the user. In the free version of the service this feature is limited and can only be used ten times a month. I'm not sure if something will help everyone, but in some cases it greatly improves the speed and comprehension of the text being read.

Evernote and Reading List once again lose out on the issue, offering few (in the case of the first) or none (in the case of the second) extra features that can draw attention.


Here, all competitors do well, with the obvious exception of the Reading List, available only to Safari users, that is, limited to Mac owners and iGadgets. All the others are in the usual suspects: iOS, Android and web mode, for access on computers. Pocket and Evernote offer native applications for OS X.

Instapaper has two cards up its sleeve: the first is an application for the Kindle, which is a blessing in the case of those very long articles that tire your eyes (if you have the Amazon ereader, of course). The second is an app for the Apple Watch, which allows you to browse the list of saved articles and activate text-to-speech directly from the watch. The integration with the iPhone is excellent if the user for the transcription of the text in the middle by Watch, when opening the application on the iPhone the text will be exactly where it left off.

Pocket, however, is the winner here, simply because it has built an application base that integrates with its service that is incomparable. More than 500 developers use Pocket's open API to integrate it with the functionality of their apps, which makes the service almost ubiquitous in the world of digital content. Oh, he also has an app for Kobo, the ereader that (almost) nobody has.


The Reading List and Readability do not offer paid options, with all their resources available free of charge. A curiosity: Readability profits by licensing its API to other developers, such as Apple. The Reader function (Reader) based on Safari.

Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote offer paid versions that unlock more powerful features. See below:

  • Pocket: R $ 11 per month or R $ 99 per year. Eliminate advertisements and add permanent library resources (to store articles and pages offline and keep them even if they go offline), advanced search (topics, tags, authors, keywords, etc.) and smart suggestions for tags.
  • Instapaper: $ 3 a month or $ 30 a year. It does away with advertisements (which appear only in web mode) and adds advanced search capabilities, notes and unlimited dynamic reading, and playlists text-to-speech.
  • Evernote: has two plans. O Plus costs R $ 40 / year and includes 1GB of uploads per month, capture of web pages and images, offline workbooks, password lock and synchronization between all devices (the free version supports only two at a time). J plan Premium it costs R $ 80 / year and includes text search in PDFs and Office documents, annotations in PDFs, digitization of business cards, search of notes history and more.


In the end, considering all the aspects and the positive / negative points of each service, whoever takes the crown today Instapaper. The reason is very simple: in the act of saving a text and presenting it in a pleasant and optimized interface, it is unbeatable. In addition, the service offers extra features, some of which are only available in the paid version, remember that they make the whole experience even more complete.

If your priorities are not these, however, other options may satisfy you better. Pocket is the clear winner in terms of integration, so if your idea captures texts / pages /tweets/ whatever it is from everywhere, it must adapt better to your needs. For strictly Mac / iOS users who want an absolutely simplified experience, without frills or any additional features, the Safari Reading List can be a satisfying option that does not require installing anything else on your device.

Readability is a competitor that has the advantage of being completely free, but its features and interface leave something to be desired. I would not recommend Evernote, which is a service that expands to a number of other areas and ends up leaving this reading in the background unless you are already a regular user of it.

We hope to have helped you in choosing and see you next time! ?

Instapaper app icon

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Pocket app icon

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Evernote app icon

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