Instapaper versus Pocket


  • The save page bookmark works with Google Reader. That is, it saves the link I’m reading rather than the Google Reader web page.
  • Page turn. Rather than display the page as a long, scrollable single page, Instapaper paginates the document. You can “turn” the page much as you do in iBook or the Kindle app.
  • Progress indicators. I like that it shows roughly how long a document is and how much has been read.
  • Clean, minimal interface.
  • The trick of reading the current page to make site like NYTimes (with page view restrictions) or LWN (pay walls) is a great idea but not completely reliable.
  • Recent updates have been less stable. Going from day to night mode — an otherwise nice idea — almost always crashes. Putting the app into the background often loses the current location (it returns to the end of an archived article).


  • Brighter, prettier interface. Much nicer to use than Read It Later, at least the last version that I used.
  • Less app support.
  • Syncing articles is (subjectively) faster.
  • Stable.

Despite the longer list in favour of Instapaper I’ve been using Pocket more in the last couple of weeks. It’s the last bullet in both lists that’s the killer. The paywall-swerve, expensive fonts and even the Google Reader cleverness are all well and good, but if the app isn’t ready when I want to read it’s all for nothing.