Reddit calls itself the front page of the internet, but it’s a little more difficult than that to define to outsiders. It’s part social media, part news, and a big part entertainment. There are scores of things you can learn on Reddit, and you can actively kill brain cells in some of the subs. In short, Reddit is many things to many people, but no matter how you perceive the platform, there are a lot of very different ways to actually see and use the service on Android.
For years, Reddit relied on third-party apps for its mobile users, not launching an official Reddit app until 2016. Since then, the race for best Reddit readers has definitely tightened up, and here are the leaders of the pack.
- Reddit, the official app
- Boost for Reddit
- Bacon Reader
- Relay for Reddit
Reddit, the official app: First-party is finally best party
As we just mentioned, Reddit’s official app is a relative newcomer to the Reddit Android app space, but in that time it’s quickly won millions of users. Reddit’s official app has over 10 million downloads, and while being the official app certainly gives it a boost in the marketing department, the Reddit app has more than earned its place as the only Reddit app on millions of users’ phones.
Reddit’s UI is clean, unencumbered, easy to get around in. The app features five tabs at the bottom, like YouTube or Spotify, and left to right they are: Home page, Subreddits, Post to Reddit, Reddit Chat, and Inbox. If you have a subreddit open in the Subreddit tab, you can quickly switch to Inbox to deal with a new comment and moderator message and then switch back to the subreddit without losing your place. Reddit also has a handy toggle at the top of the home page and every subreddit for you to switch between Card and Compact views, but unfortunately it reverts to your Settings-defined Default view every time you switch subreddits.
Reddit consistently gets notifications quicker than the third-party apps using the Reddit API. It was a minute ahead of some clients and 5-10 minutes ahead of others, but Reddit’s notifications were always first, even with the notification check intervals turned up on other clients. Reddit has a night theme and AMOLED night theme for us dark souls, and the rest of its settings are blissfully short. That means there’s not a ton of customization here that you’ll find on other Reddit clients, but you can disable autoplay outside Wi-Fi to save data and turn on or off NSFW content if you dare.
If I have one flaw to the official Reddit app, it’s that it doesn’t have the “Fancy Pants” editor for text replies and posts that the Reddit website does, mean you’ll need to remember how to format your post yourself. It’s basic Markdown formatting, but for newer redditors, you might need to get yourself a cheat sheet.
Reddit official app (Free)
Boost for Reddit – best for layout-switchers and comment-surfers
Think of Boost for Reddit as a Swiss Army knife compared to Reddit Official’s switchblade. While Reddit Official is limited on settings and customization, just about anything you can think of is customizable in Boost. For instance, most Reddit apps have two or three views; Boost has 8: three Card view variants, two list views, two image-centric views, and a Swipe view, for those who want surf Reddit the way they surf Tinder. #SwipeRight
When browsing comments on a Reddit post, Boost allows you to collapse all threads to just the parent comment using the collapse all button within a Floating Action button menu. This allows you to see how each thread starts and how many children it has thanks a numeric badge next to the comment’s karma. This is a fantastic tool for megathreads as well as subreddits like /r/WritingPrompts/ where you don’t want to break up the entries. When replying to comments or posting a text post in Boost, the bottom bar of the window becomes a swipeable carousel of formatting, preview, and media options.
As I mentioned before, there seems to be an option in Boost for just about everything, and so it’s little wonder that when you get into Boost’s settings, you can get a little overwhelmed. There are 14 sections in Boost’s settings, and while each section is aptly named and somewhat easy to navigate, it is a lot to take in. For power users, Boost’s settings are a delight, you can get your link-handling preferences and media preview settings exactly the way you want to. If it’s a bit too much for you, it’s okay, there are other Reddit apps out there.
Boost for Reddit (Free, $2.49)
Bacon Reader – still sizzling after all these years
If you go looking for Reddit apps, or suggestions about Reddit apps, you will soon hear a sizzle. Bacon Reader is one of the best-known Reddit clients on the market, and has a long, long track record of success and support. It has a dedicated following, a very stable performance record, and while it has delicious, fatty Bacon its name, there is not an ounce of fat anywhere in this lithe Reddit app.
Bacon Reader’s two layouts, list and card, are both fairly standard and easy to read, though card view shows fewer non-imgur/non-i.redd.it previews than the thumbnails on list view. When you open a post, be prepared to scroll, as BaconReader lacks a good thread-jumping feature in its comment views short of collapsing all threads. On that note, if you tap a comment, all its children are minimized, as opposed to requiring a long-press on most Reddit apps. In order to upvote, downvote, or reply a comment, you’ll long-press the comment to the left to reveal the options.
Bacon Reader’s settings are even more paired-down than Reddit’s official app, and while the simplicity has a definitely appeal, the appeal of having gifs or videos only autoplay on Wi-Fi, the ability to toggle volume on for v.redd.it videos outweighs it. Also, while you can set a Font size in Appearance settings, it does not apply to the Settings menu, the main menu, or the reply window, so replying to comments can be a strain for those of us with inferior vision.
Bacon Reader (Free, $1.99)
Relay for Reddit – best for media and AMA skimming
Relay for Reddit is a Reddit client with a slightly funky UI that absolutely zooms and will help you zip through megathreads and especially AMAs like a pro. Unlike most Reddit clients, it has not enabled a full-size Card view yet, but it is coming. While we don’t have big, beautiful cards, you can tap the thumbnail to preview most images gifs and videos. Most non-YouTube video previews are muted by default, too. Relay’s in-app browser also lets you flip between an article and the comments swiping the action bar up and down the screen.
That said, the real post-surfing magic comes into play with massive posts like Official Discussions and AMAs. If you tap a comment, all its children are minimized, even better and more compact than Bacon Reader, and to comment/vote, swipe left on it. When replying, the compose window is a lot like the Fancy Pants editor on Reddit’s website, complete with automatic imgur uploading of photos for easy linking and attaching.
Then there’s the Floating Action Button in a post. If you tap this button, you’ll get three bubbles that slide out: Previous thread, Thread options, and Next Thread. Thread options allows you to see how many Comment Threads are in a post, highlight recent comments from a user-definable time range, search the comments for specific words, gilded comments, and comments by the original poster. Then there’s also an IAMA Mode, which will take you to the comment above a reply by the original poster.
Relay for Reddit (Free, $2.99)
What are you using for Reddit? Have you converted to the official app, or do you still rock a third-party client? Are you all-in on cards or do you still prefer the old-school lists? I’ll confess that Relay has been what I seem to gravitate back to between my my updates of this article for about the two years, but what can I say? I’m a gif-lover, and being able to quickly collapse comment threads with a quick tap is more satisfying than the long-press.
Whatever you’re using, we want to know! Tell us in the comments what you’re using and why it is Reddit gold to your mind.
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