As you may know (and if you don’t, read here here), form November 1st Instapaper has made premium features free for everybody and forever.
What’s Instapaper? In few words, it’s a read it later service, something that allows you to save articles and web pages in a sort of cloud space and read them when you want and when you have time, in a format reading-friendly, without any decorations or ads, just the article and its pictures. You know Pocket, don’t you? Well, Instapaper has the same purpose.
Now, I’ve been a Pocket user for years, I’m also a beta user even though I don’t know why (Once I got a notification on my smartphone and I said “Why not to try?”) and I don’t know how to use all the features it has. For me, the sole goal of Pocket is to save things I don’t have time to read when I see them for the first time and I want to read them later or just a space to keep articles I want to keep because, you know, they can always become useful in the future, mainly guides, tutorials, how-to.
Another very useful feature of read it later services comes from the fact that the most famous of them are multiplatform, so I use them as a bookmark manager; indeed you can save articles from any browser, both through the official extension or a bookmarklet and I use indistinctely several browsers and OS.
And here we are. The other day I read about this thing of premium Instapaper free for everybody and forever and I thought “I must try it”. First chance.
I went on their website, created my account (it takes two clicks). In the meantime I see, I think that the UI is absolutely minimal, just black on white, no tinsels, it’s really a service reading-oriented, it helps to focus on the contents.
After a short search on Google I found out how to import in Instapaper all the articles I had in Pocket; a nice popup, sayng that all my articles would have been available in a few minutes appears. A few minutes turned out to be half an hour. I’m becoming impatient.
Ok, I have my articles. Instapaper allows to sort articles in folders, you can create as many as you want, whereas Pocket uses tags and you can attach as many tags as you want to a single article, with the risk to mess up everything if you have a lot of articles saved, like me (I have about 300). Wonderful. I create the folder I need and start categorizing the articles. After a while I notice that several articles don’t want to go into the folders. F5. Blank page. Wow, that’s wierd. I close and re-open Firefox. In the meanwhile I install the app on my tablet and on my Moto G. I open the app on my tablet. Immediatly, I see that the articles that I have categorized a moment ago are not anymore in the folders, maybe because of a problem with the sync. Ok, that’s no good. I write a complaint tweet and close everything.
Ok, I’m gonna stay with Pocket, I keep saying this in my head. But… but… I still imagine how wonderful could be reading stuff, black on white, that wonderful, minimal, clean interface, I picture me, slouched on the sofa, reading the stuff I saved with a white page and a black times new roman font, 1:21 contrast, some picture sometimes. I want it. I want it so bad.
After dinner I give it a second chance. I start again, with all the patience I can have, I start dividing all the stuff I have saved in years. It seems that I did it. Well, I like it and one day I’ll tell you if I will have dropped Pocket or not.
For the record, this is how the home screen of the two apps look like on Android
And this is how a saved article looks like in reading mode in both the apps. Here, the differences are less appreciable (it’s the same article, btw)
Now, if can’t choose which read it later service you want to use I suggest you to read this comparison, far better than mine from a technical point of view. Good reading!