Podcasts seem to have surged in popularity in recent years, and there really is something for everyone between talk shows, reviews, non-fiction and fiction alike. Keeping on top of all of that content can be a big ask, with dozens of apps offering similar functionalities. Can Pocket Casts be your go-to podcast player? (Note: I’ve been using the application on iOS and MacOS, so this review is focused on those platforms)l
Right off the bat, Pocket Casts is incredibly versatile. Offering apps for iOS, Android, PC and Mac, there’s seemingly nothing it can’t do. On iOS, both the iPhone and iPad versions feel simple enough to use, with a customisable theme and the ability to add custom filters – as an example, I have a filter set to show me podcasts that are downloaded to my device for when I’m in areas where connectivity is spotty at best. The desktop experience is much the same, with podcast artwork often front and centre, and the same options in terms of themes.
Perhaps most impressively, even if you aren’t able to access one of these apps you can still get your podcast fix – Pocket Casts offers a fully featured web client to play in browsers. Creating a free account allows for the syncing of playback between all of the above, and works a lot more reliably than others – in particular Apple’s own podcast app and iTunes.
I was able to import my podcast collection from the Apple Podcasts app, and although it pulled through plenty of old episodes Pocket Casts was able to move them to its “Archive” in bulk. The whole setup took a couple of minutes, and the app offers plenty of functionality for power users.
Forward and back “skip” buttons can be customised to different increments, while the option to play at a higher speed is both useful and hilarious in equal measure. Two excellent additions are the option to remove silence from podcasts (the app analyses the sound wave and removes gaps) and the ability to boost volume – perfect when listening to more softly spoken talk shows on a busy commute.
For my needs, Pocket Casts is almost perfect. Almost. It’s integration with CarPlay makes it ideal for long drives, but its Apple Watch integration could do with the ability to download podcasts to the Watch itself. It’s a seemingly small gripe, but for someone that likes to leave their phone at home when running, it’s an issue for me personally.
Aside from that, I have no qualms recommending Pocket Casts. If you’re the type of listener that has plenty of subscriptions running, it makes everything infinitely simpler – putting absolutely no barriers between you and your content.
Pocket Casts on iOS is available now for £3.99, and the desktop version is available for £8.40 after a 14 day trial.
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