- TeleRead - http://www.teleread.com -

App Faceoff: Pocket vs. Instapaper


“Read Later” apps have become more popular as people use their smartphones and tablets on-the-go. I’ve used Pocket [2] for years, and I recently decided to pay for Instapaper [3] because it offered features Pocket does not. I use both, but for different purposes.

Pocket is great for short articles, especially ones with images. I’ve set Flipboard [4] up to share with Pocket, and I’ll often scan headlines during breakfast and then send articles to Pocket for reading throughout the day. Pocket is also my repository for articles I want to reference for later posts.

I only use Pocket for short articles because I find the app’s page-flipping option to be touchy, at best. Sometimes it’ll go into page flipping mode … and sometimes it won’t. I don’t mind scrolling for short articles, but for longer reading, I really prefer to tap or swipe to turn pages.

Page flipping was why I finally decided to pay for Instapaper for my iPad and my Google Nexus 7. Plus, there are all the formatting options: You can set up Instapaper to look much like an e-reading app, with lots of font and margin choices.

I use Instapaper for long articles where images aren’t important. Like blog posts by Kristen Katheryn Rusch [5], for instance. She writes excellent pieces, but they’re long enough that I don’t want to scroll through them in Pocket.

Guilty admission here: I also use Instapaper to download and read FanFiction [6]. You won’t tell on me, will you?

Getting articles into each application is easy. You can set up a bookmark in your browser to send to either app, and I’ve seen little-to-no difference in how they work. Occasionally one service will handle an article better than the other, but that’s the exception. Both have instructions to set up a bookmark in Safari for iOS, and I’ve found it works well. Dolphin Browser [7] for Android has a Share option to both apps.

Anyone else particularly prefer one over the other?

5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "App Faceoff: Pocket vs. Instapaper"

#1 Comment By Josh On February 7, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

I use Instapaper for FanFiction.net as well. The multi-page support is really nice for websites like that. But, I’ll experiment with Pocket some more.

#2 Comment By Juli Monroe On February 8, 2013 @ 8:21 am

Josh, do you know about [8] ? For multi-chapter stories the downloader is amazing. Lots of formats, including mobi and epub and very easy to use.

#3 Comment By Josh On February 8, 2013 @ 8:51 am

Wow, that tool looks great. I’ll test it out.

#4 Comment By Speedmaster On April 29, 2013 @ 9:06 am

I’ve been using both for a while, and paid for Instapaper. So far I prefer Pocket. But I’m anxious to see what changes come to Instapaper since the sale.

#5 Comment By Juli Monroe On April 29, 2013 @ 10:55 am

@Speedmaster, I’m with you. Instapaper development has been pretty stagnant for a while. I’m hoping that changes with the sale.