App Pick: Pocket

App Pick: Pocket

App: Pocket
Availability: Windows desktop, Android, iOS, Windows phone, pretty much everywhere
Price: Free, with Premium subscription offering
Score: Five coffee cups (out of five).

Every once in a while I come across a solution so simple, so elegant, and so useful I wonder how it’s possible I’d missed out on it for so long. Pocket is such a solution: I’d heard of it long ago, understand how it worked … and just basically ignored it. Well, no more.

Pocket solves a real problem for me. Actually, two problems.

Sitting at my PC during a normal workday, I often come across articles and blog posts that are interesting to me, but a distraction. And I often find myself running off on some side-tangent instead of getting work done.

Additionally, when I’m out in the world with my phone, I often find myself wanting something interesting to read. I keep a handful of Kindle books on the phone, and a few news aggregation apps like MSN News. But in the time it takes me to find something I actually want to read, the moment can pass. What I really need is a set of ready-to-go articles I know I want to read.

And that is where Pocket comes in. It’s a truly cross-platform solutionthat provides browser plug-ins for the desktop versions of Google Chrome (which I normally use on the PC) and Firefox, and even a web shortcut for other browsers (like IE). It has mobile apps everywhere, too, including official Pocket apps for Android and iOS, and many third-party solutions for Windows phone/Windows 10 Mobile, including one I’ve tested called Poki for Pocket. (Many necessary features require Poki Premium, which costs $5 and is well worth it.)

Poki for Pocket, Windows 10 Mobile
Poki for Pocket, Windows 10 Mobile

Given the wide coverage, it works as expected in that you can save an article from anywhere—how you do so varies by device, but on an iPhone, for example, you can save articles using the system Share button—and then read it anywhere as well. I will most likely be saving articles from my desktop web browser and then reading them on a phone or tablet later.

Pocket on iPhone (left) and iPad Mini (right)
Pocket on iPhone (left) and iPad Mini (right)

The reading experience is excellent, and works like Reading View in Microsoft Edge, where you can specify fonts and font sizes, background color, and more. (With Poki, this stuff requires you pay for the app.) It’s also ad-free, which is sort of incredible, though Pocket recently announced that ads are coming. You can pay for a Premium subscription at $5 per month or $45 per year to eliminate all ads and provides other features like a permanent article library, topic and advanced search and suggested tags.

Article reading experience (iPhone)
Article reading experience (iPhone)

That the articles are available offline is perhaps the icing on the cake. So you’ll be able to fill those endless hours on a plane or while commuting by bus or train with some overdue reading time now.

Put simply, Pocket is awesome. I’m sorry I waited so long.


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