When you are at work or while surfing internet, you may come across some cool stuffs; a piece of interesting news or an article you want to read. Or perhaps you get an email from a friend recommending you to read an interesting article. You would like to bookmark the link to read on your free time rather than distracted from current activity.
Traditionally, people used browser for bookmarking links and access the links from desktop or mobile browsers. All modern browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera support this feature. Those strategies still work, but they aren’t pretty. You require internet access to open the bookmarked link and the list is not not so well organized. New in the era of mobile you deserve better.
For bookmarking and offline reading, you only have two serious options: Pocket and Instapaper. In this article we’ll outline the similarities between two services and compare them, head-to-head to see features exclusive to each of them.
Formerly called as “Read It Later” and in 2012 it was renamed to Pocket. Pocket allows you to bookmark content from desktop browser, mobile apps or even directly from popular third party apps (selected apps only). Once the link is saved, it automatically syncs to your phone, tablet, or computer so you can view it at any time, even without an Internet connection. Once you finished reading, you can archive the article to remove it from your main list or mark star to add it to your Favorites.
The saved links in Pocket are organized in a list. You can also customize the list display to an grid view or search content by keyword. Pocket’s customizable tags feature gives you granular control over how your content is organized.
Article full view mode is optimized for distraction-free reading. It stripe out the advertisements, sidebar or any other extra website widgets, so you focus only on the content. You can adjust the reading mode that best suit to your eye by changing the background color, font style, size or night mode.
- Pocket’s mobile app are available to download for free on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Amazon devices.
- Standalone desktop apps are available for Windows and Mac.
- Browser extensions are available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Opera.
Pricing – Freemium
Pocket’s basic service is free to use, but it also offers premium plan which comes for $4.99 a month or with a discounted price of $44.99 if you buy an yearly subscription.
The Pocket premium unlocks the additional features such as permanent library, advance full-text search, tag suggestions, advance customization for improved reading experience and sponsored ad free experience.
Personally, I feel the free version of Pocket is good enough as long as you’re not bothered to see some sponsored post from Pocket. With free version, you can still take advantage of the same core features.
Instapaper is yet another service that allows you to discover, bookmark, and experience interesting web content. This is one of the most popular service and gives a stiff competition to Pocket.
Instapaper allows you to save articles, videos, and other pages and sync them to across web and mobile devices. Like Pocket, Instapaper allows you to save links directly from mobile apps, using browser extension or even directly from third party apps (selected apps only).
You can organize articles in folders and move to archive when you’re finished reading. The article details view allows you to adjust font size, style and background colors including night reading mode. On mobile devices you can take advantages of Text-to-Speech, so you can just listen.
Pricing – FREE
Instapaper is acquired by Pinterest in August 2016. And the good news is, after the acquisition, in November 2016 the company declared making Instapaper Premium available to all Instapaper users, free of charge.
- Instapaper Android, iPhone, iPad and Kindle apps are available to download for free from respective app stores.
- The official desktop browser extensions are available only for Chrome and Safari. Although there are no official Firefox extensions available, there are couple of unofficial ones that serves the purpose.
Pocket & Instapaper Head-to-Head
Both Pocket and Instapaper have the same basic feature to bookmark, sync and makes the content available to read them anywhere, with or without an Internet connection. Even so, Pocket and Instapaper differ pretty dramatically. Here are a few of the features that are exclusive to each service:
- Uses tagging system to organize articles
- Built-in social network and allows quick direct sharing with other Pocket users.
- Instant import of URLs from your clipboard in the mobile apps
- Desktop app for Mac and Windows user
- Free and premium service for $4.99 month.
- Articles are organized into folders
- Allow your to follow other users and see their recommended articles
- Text highlighting and In-line article commenting
- Tons of sorting options to find articles quickly
Overall, as an individual and as a blogger, am using Pocket premium for quite some time and I am very happy about this. This is helping me to save the best of the web and read during commute. Specially in London underground lines.
Instapaper simple and equally powerful service. And now that it is free, I think in recent months I will switch back from Pocket.