Monday, September 24, 2012

App Review: Podax

Podax Podcast Android Applicaton

Podax by axleby (free)

Google Play - Apple App Store unavailable

Google recently announced that they would be discontinuing their Android podcast application Google Listen.  I know that there were a lot of people who didn't like the interface and preferred a paid application and I can understand their position.  It wasn't a very pretty interface and adding new podcasts was often difficult and you had to find the correct RSS feed and hope that it would pick them up properly.
Podax Subscription Screen
Podax - Subscription
Refresh Page
However managing Google listen with Google reader simplified things and because both were so closely integrated it made subscribing much easier from the reader web interface than it ever was from the application.  However once you had gotten your podcast subscriptions sorted out, it was very basic, it would update the podcasts subscriptions and you would listen to them.  If you want to delete a podcast, you delete it.  Very simple and very easy to use.

But, because listen was yanked from the play store I decided to find replacement app that was free.  Normally I have been able to find free apps for nearly anything I might want to do.  I may have to put up with ads, or a banner, or some sort of pop-ups but free none the less.  Now that is not to say that I am against paid apps.  I have purchased a few dozen apps over the years but I generally always look for a free app before I go down the purchase rout.  

And now we get to Podax...which was not my first choice in fact it wasn't my 8th choice, I believe that this was my ninth choice (ok so we don't yet get to podax). I looked at Beyond pod ($6.99 Paid) which had good reviews and looked like it was a pretty solid app but then i found out that I would need to refresh each of my feeds individually, pro does this for you, and not wanting to refresh the 35 or so podcast I subscribe to, I moved on. Next up  My Pod ($3.86 paid) which looked good but then I found out it would only sync 10 feeds in the free version which would not work at all for me.  I also tried Double Twist which looked really cool and as a media file player it seemed to work quite well.  I even installed the desktop program and was able to manage music on my phone but if I wanted to do this wirelessly I would need to pay for that option (winamp does this for free) I could subscribe to podcasts but could not import my Google Reader subscriptions, not to say that it can't be done(there are instructions on their site that did not help me at all), however I suspect this is a paid feature and if it isn't it is not very intuitive.
Show Queue
Show Queue

Finally I happened upon  Podax.  It did import my Google Reader subscriptions immediately but then things slowed down.  When refreshing podcasts the app grinds to an apparent slow halt...however it is working in the background,really it is...wait for it...I assure you, it might be working.  It may look like it has locked up your phone, it may actually have locked the phone, but it is probably working in the background. Once all of my podcasts had been refreshed Podax then proceeded to download the fresh episodes from my discription.  Once the initial refresh was completed the download went fine and using the app was not enjoyable, but also, not a bad experience either.  I did try refreshing the podcasts again and noticed the same performance issues.  The best way to work this is to allow the app to run the podcast update and let it go.  Once it is done the interface is still a bit clunky but it is functional and I nearly always go for form over function.
Podax Subscription Screen
Podcast Sub Screen

I rated the app three out of five stars because although it works, it doesn't work well and is glitchy.  However once you get past the glitches and are able to use the app, it does work and it works fairly well.

To sum up...

The app is functional, it works, it is not pretty.  It does have glitches but it is free and ad free.  I give it a reserved recommendation as the app is maintained and hopefully gets better.  So far it is the best free podcast app i've come across however I would be happy to try any other apps you may suggest, please suggest below in the comments.


Podax Player Screen
Podax Player Screen


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