Reading news on a smartphone is a pain in the arse, unless you have a good RSS app. Here are the best.
GOLD MEDAL: Reeder
The devs went above and beyond with Reeder, and their care shows through in nearly every aspect of this unusually attractive app. It's solely a Google Reader client, as a lot of iOS "RSS" apps are, so you've got to use Google browser interface. But it's more than worth it: The interface is smooth, intuitive and readable, especially after the high contrast option is enabled; article rendering is clean and unusually attractive; sync is super-fast; and intelligent gestures abound, especially in the flashy iPad version. $4 for iPhone, $6 for iPad.
SILVER MEDAL: Newsrack
A reader with more traditional tendencies than Reeder, and the same basic functionality. It can be a bit slow, its Google Reader support is occasionally temperamental, article navigation is button-based, rather than gesture-based, and its newsstand mode is pretty but mostly pointless. Minor quibbles aside, it's a solid reader - I've spent more time with Newsrack than any other app, probably - and as a universal app, solid value for those who own both an iPhone and an iPad. Google Reader isn't required. $6, iOS.
BRONZE MEDAL: Feeddler
Basic, a bit homely, and at least on the iPad, slower to navigate than some of its alternatives. HOWEVER! The free version's ad placement isn't intrusive, and its sync is reliable and quick. It gets the job done, basically.
• Google Reader web app: Not an app, but one of the best reading experiences on the iPhone and iPad. If you do most of your reading in the presence of a good internet connection, give this a shot. • Byline: Quite a bit like Newsrack, just not universal. A good choice for iPhone, be it the free or paid version. • Netnewswire: Used to be a great app, but with its move to Google reader a year or so ago, it lost something. Namely, speed and stability. Free for iPhone, $13 for iPad. • MobileRSS: Free or paid, it's got a decent interface, decent features, and provides a decent experience. That about sums it up: decent. • Pulse: It's a slightly different type of reader than the others on this list in that it's not strictly an RSS reader, unless you configure it to be. It's just a multi-source news app. Which is fine! $1.19.
GOLD MEDAL: gReader
If you want a quick and as easy RSS reader on your phone (and you use Google Reader), gReader is what you're looking for. It's simple and to the point but still packs enough features so that you'll never think about the Google Reader web app again. Articles load fast, there's rarely any formatting errors and it actually looks and feels good when you're using it. Plus, gReader can load full articles from truncated feeds and gives you the option to flip through articles with your phone's volume buttons. The only issue I had with gReader is that you're forced to read by feeds and not folders. Free, Android. $5.63 for Pro.
Image Credit: Androinica
SILVER MEDAL: NewsRob
It's just as effective as gReader in reading your Google Reader but the interface is just a teensy bit uglier. If you can get past that, NewsRob is pretty awesome: you can set it to only download a certain amount of articles, like let's say 250, so you don't have to deal with bloat when you're on the go. It also has volume control for flipping through feeds, gives you the option to read by folder and a ton of syncing and sharing options. And for what it's worth, it feels more Android-y in use than gReader. Free, Android. $7.04 for Pro.
BRONZE MEDAL: FeedR
FeedR doesn't require a Google Reader account (though you can use it if you want), so if you're not with Google taking over your life, there's that. It does cost $2.05 but you can colour-code feeds to mark importance, set the app as a widget, and run through feeds in a quick and clean interface. $2.05, Android.
• Google Reader web app: Honestly, it's a pretty damn good web app. I just prefer the offline capabilities and speed of a real app. • Greed: As good as the medallist RSS apps but doesn't handle a lot of feeds as well. Free. $2.05 for Pro. • Pulse: A very attractive RSS reader that lays out feeds in thumbnail. Limits you to 20 feeds, though. $1.02. • NewsRoom: Really, really beautiful app and great reader. Only marked down because it doesn't sync with Google Reader. Free. $5.14 for Pro. • FastReader: It's probably the fastest way to get through all your feeds but doesn't offer as many features as the others. Free.