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Sponsored App Review: News Kit

June 9, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

News Kit is a new newsreader application for Android that aims to be simple, customizable and enjoyable. With the ability to customize a panel of news that steadily rotates with fresh news, News Kit is like an interactive dashboard of news that you can control and create. With many apps out there like it, can News Kit stand out from the crowd, or is there too many options out there already? Read on as we take a look at News Kit and what it has to offer those looking to stay up-to-date.

First thing’s first, you’ll need to download News Kit from the Play Store, and then you can either agree to a daily notification or just head on into the app.

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One thing I liked about News Kit was the fact that it instantly recognized that I was in the UK, and showed me relevant news.

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Some of the news was still from the US rather than the UK, but for the most part I was happy with the sort of selection that I was given. In the below shot, I’ve tried to show that each square changes steadily with different articles.

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You can also use the app in landscape, making it good for tablets, too.

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As for actually reading the news, you need to touch a square and this will take you to the story on the web that you’ve asked for.

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This is basically a use of the Android WebView application that renders web pages within an app, and while I would have liked to see uniform formatting on all pages, it gets the job done. There are a number of things you can change about the overall look and news offerings as well:

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How these changes take place is by mostly changing what displays in each one of these panels. So the panel at the bottom right for instance, I can choose a completely different edition for different parts of the World.

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I was disappointed to see that you can’t set a specific topic for one of these squares, but you can if you like choose to apply a particular RSS feed, if of course you choose to pay for the Pro Version or choose from one of many different add-ons.

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News Kits is a refreshing news app for Android in that it just gets on with things. Unlike other apps of its type, there’s no complicated settings page to setup or anything like that, just the option to get started reading your news. The customization options are a little limited, and it seems like there’s a hard limit on how many sections you can have on your homepage. I understand the need to curb too many of these additions, but I would like the option to completely control things.As for adding the RSS feeds, I think this is a great little idea and while I agree with charging for the developer’s work, it would be nice if any purchase of an add-on removed ads, rather than asking someone to purchase an add-on and then pay to remove ads as well. Of course, users are free to pay for the Pro Version which has absolutely everything included in it.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – News Kit runs nice and quickly, there’s no slowdowns or anything like that here.
  • Features (4/5) – There’s an element of “less is more” with News Kit and in many ways this works quite well.
  • Theme (4/5) – A good-looking app, News Kit is sort of like Material Design meets transparency, and it comes together nicely.
  • Overall (4/5) – A solid app that doesn’t offer anything too new, News Kit is for those that want a better news app in their life, but they don’t want to have to jump through all the hoops and such.

Pros

  • Good for any user anywhere as there’s practically every modern language available in News Kit.
  • Add-on store gives users the option to pay for it all, or just choose the most relevant features for them.
  • Good-looking and stylish, without taking too much attention away from the actual content.
  • Changes news stories for you, taking a little more work out of browsing for new news.

Cons

  • Uniform formatting for all news would be preferable to a WebView display of content.
  • Doesn’t appear to be a way to choose certain topics for each panel outside of setting a custom RSS feed.

All-in-all, News Kit is a decent alternative to others out there, and while there aren’t the sort of controls and options of others, this does form part of the appeal here. Less is more, and News Kit is an app that puts the content before settings and needlessly complicated organisation methods. While not perfect, there is some worth in News Kit especially for those looking for an easy way of blending the odd RSS feed with Google News.

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