SymPaper Revisited: The Best of the Best

Posted on 10/07/2011

5


Created by Talv Bansal

Version Reviewed: 2.8.0

Ovi Store Buy Link (ZAR25; €3)

Final score: 95%

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A few months back, I reviewed SymPaper, one of the first but crucially by far the most usable Read It Later clients for Symbian. I rounded off that review with the following conclusion:

All in all, SymPaper is a godsend for Read it Later users and it will only get better. Along with sharing to Facebook, the app is getting a UI redesign, that having seen screenshot of various screens of the new designs on the developers twitter page, I can safely say it will be one of the more beautiful Symbian apps as well. The app comes highly recommended and would encourage any Read it Later user on Symbian to give it a try.

That was v1.1. The app was not fully mature at that stage but impressively was already a very good client. In the past two months however the app has been transformed by the developer Talv Bansal to such an extent that I don’t even recognize the latest version from the version I reviewed in June. Now that it’s up to v 2.8 and is incredibly stable and mature I feel it is worth having a second look at this superlative app.

The first thing you will notice is the styling of the app, now being aligned to the UI guidlines of the forthcoming refresh update to Symbian called Belle. The status bar is the new slim version, though at this stage just showing the name of the app (and when in an article the title) and the time. The bottom bar has to far left an exit or back button (depending on where in the app you are), to the far right right an options button and in between contextual buttons, again varying depending on where you are in the app, in the shot below, and add article button and view toggle (read, unread, all) .

SymPaper Belle Aligned Interface with Dark list theme

SymPaper now features some personalisation options which I want to go through here. You have a choice of two fonts. I stick with the default font for now. A very useful feature that has been added that can be toggled is ‘Auto Sync at Startup’, it’s just one less thing to remember. Lastly, you have a choice of light and dark themes and brilliantly the themes of the list view and article view are independent of one another. So they way I have it set up now is a dark theme for the list which I find more elegant and a light theme for article view which just seems more natural for me, even though it doesn’t make use of the inherent power saving nature of black for OLED screens.

Light Theme for Reading

Another feature added to the list view of SymPaper is a search filter dialogue and next to this the count of articles in the selected view, whether all, unread or read. The search filters as you type, which is very convenient.

Search filtered list

The last ‘new’ feature is article sharing. It’s great to let your friends/followers know what you’ve been reading, and SymPaper gives four options to do this, SMS, Email, Facebook and Twitter.

Sharing Options

The first two open up the relevant editor on device, with Email giving you an option which account you want to use if like me you have more than one account to set up. Below are screenshots of sharing dialogues for Facebook and Twitter. Initially you would be asked to authenticate your accounts for the services. Twitter authentication opens up the default browser while for Facebook, you log into your account in a browser view wrapped in SymPaper. Once this is done you never have to worry about this again unless the services *cough* Facebook *cough* make unexpected changes to the code or you accept the app to forget the accounts.

Sharing to Facebook

Sharing to Twitter

Beyond that everything works as you would expect. Reading articles with SymPaper is a pleasure as the app is simply butter smooth. On my N8, scrolling through lists and articles is smooth with the app responding immediately to every touch and likewise with every tap. With the theming and sharing options it covers all you would need from the app. The only things missing at the moment are image support for images and multipage articles, but in both cases, I have been informed that it is limitation of the API and not the app itself. So with what is available to the developer and limitations of the OS itself (ie sharing), SymPaper is really about as good as a Read It Later client can get on Symbian and is equal to other platforms, and I say this having also used the rather good official Android client for the last month in tandem.

SymPaper is one of my three favourite apps at the moment and I cannot speak highly of it enough. Not only does it earn the Tech Bishop’s Seal of Approval it recieves the highest score ever given out on this blog.

Superlative.

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