Pros: Easy to create and share personal magazines; Attractive, customizable interface; Fluid performance; Helpful tutorial; Real-time updates
Cons: No internal Read Later functionality; Initial setup doesn't incorporate all social outlets
Verdict: Not only does the new Flipboard aggregate news and social updates in an attractive format, it now lets you create your own magazines and share them with others.
The best news app just pulled further ahead of the competition. Flipboard, which lets you aggregate content by topic and organize it in a graphical, magazine-like format, has released an update that lets users themselves become the creators. Flipboard 2.0 allows you to take stories and collect them in magazines, which you can then share with others.
Editor's Note: You can read our original review of Flipboard.
When you first launch the app, Flipboard instructs you to pick content categories such as Twitter, Technology and Flipboard Picks to get started. If you enter your Facebook and Twitter account information, it will pull in updates from those whom you follow on those sites. Our personal Flipboard was created almost instantly. The app then took us to a brief tutorial of how to use the app.
If you create a Flipboard account-- -- required to make personalized magazines-- -- Flipboard can send you push notifications of alerts, sounds and icon badges.
Within Settings, users can add their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, 500px, Sina Weibo, Renren, SoundCloud, YouTube and New York Times accounts so content will be pulled in from those sources as well. We're not sure why we couldn't pull content in from any of these sources besides Facebook and Twitter when we first created our account. We could see users missing out on content from some of their favorite social networks.
When we opened Flipboard, Cover Stories lay at the top, while icons for Twitter and Top Stories were right below. By swiping up, we could see icons for Technology, Flipboard Picks and the rest of the content categories we'd selected on a second page.
We like that Cover Stories and Top Stories are located on Flipboard's first page; it reminds us of a newspaper placing its most important content on the front page above the fold. Long-tapping on categories lets you move them around, just like rearranging apps on an iPhone. We appreciated the freedom to choose exactly how we wanted our Flipboard to look.
Tapping on the red flag in the top right corner takes you to a screen that searches for specific content by topic, people, magazines and hashtags. For example, searching for Tim Cook displays a specific Flipboard page on all news related to the Apple CEO, from stories to photos andto videos. If you like the content and want to continue following that feed, tap the tab button on the top nav bar to subscribe to it. To unsubscribe, simply long- tap on that ‘"pinboard'" and tap the X in its upper left corner.
Each story provides you with an image, its headline, author and source; tapping the headline opens the rest of the story. We were pleased with Flipboard's ability to refresh news in real-time.
Users can like or comment on a post by tapping the respective buttons. Tapping on the comment button lets you see who, if anyone, added that piece of content to theirhis or her personal magazine, accessed that personal magazine andor commented on his or her magazine.
If a piece strikes your interest but you don't have time to read it at the moment, you can choose to Read Later. However, you must have Instapaper, Pocket or Readability to do this, which means you must download a separate app. We wish this functionality was just built in to Flipboard itself.
Now here comes the fun part: making your own personal magazines. By tapping on the + icon in an article (located in the bottom right of the article's main page on Flipboard, or in the top right once you've entered the actual text of an article), you can add that content to your personal magazine.
When you create a magazine, you give it a title and description, select its category and set it as public or private. After, you can choose to share the magazine to Facebook, Twitter or other social outlets. When we shared our creation to Facebook, the cover of our magazine posted on our wall. In order to view the entire ccontents, viewers had to click a link that took them to a separate Flipboard page.
Users can manage their own magazines by going into Settings at the top right of their screen and tapping My Flipboard. You'll then see My Magazines at the top, followed by My Subscriptions. You can tap Edit within each magazine, which lets you reset the cover with a different image, delete the entire magazine or edit components such as the magazine's title, description and who can see that magazine.
Users can also explore other Flipboard users' personal magazines by tapping on Settings, then By Our Readers under the Discover More tab. Personal magazines are categorized by topics such as Innovative Ideas, Lookbooks and Globetrotting. As of this writing, though, there were only three magazines within each topic.
An option in Settings lets you search by user. So, for example, if you see a magazine from a user that you particularly enjoyed, you can search for that person's other magazines. Or, if you want to search by a specific topic, such as Microsoft, Flipboard will pull specific magazines related to Microsoft that individual users created.
As with other news items, you can save personal magazines for offline reading using Instapaper, or one of the apps listed previously.
With the addition of personalized magazines, Flipboard has added a Pinterest-like feature to its already excellent news aggregation app. Although we still wish there was an easier way to save content for offline reading, Flipboard 2.0 now lets you decide what news is fit to print.
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