Review: Aggregator Grudge Match: Editions vs. Flipboard

by on September 16, 2011

A few weeks ago AOL launched Editions, an iPad app that aggregates news from other sources and produces a daily, personalized news magazine. It works much like News Corporation’s The Daily, but is free and pulls its information from other sources, rather than having its own proprietary news. Sound familiar? This is also what the popular and free iPad app Flipboard does.

We could sit there and compare the two feature-by-feature, but this isn’t that kind of review. Although they are designed to accomplish the same end result, they both do things much differently. Additionally, Editions is a newcomer, with even a few sections added since we first downloaded it.

Flipboard

Flipboard has a lot going for it. It was first, has a lot of content partners to provide media for it that is specially formatted for the iPad’s screen, and works in both portrait and landscape mode. You can add anything from a section that encompasses a lot of preselected sources to a particular RSS feed of your own. It will even format Twitter and Facebook accounts into something that looks just a bit more like news.

Flipboard Flipboard Flipboard
Flipboard Flipboard Flipboard

The font choices are excellent and it is updates as often as the actual items are. By being able to choose individual feeds, you can really tailor the content to your liking, and may miss out on broader topics. Furthermore, Facebook and Twitter are limited to one account each, which can be frustrating if you share things through both a personal and business account. Finally, support for Flickr is a handy addition, but leaves much to be desired if searching through groups.

Editions

Editions is Flipboard for those who want a more relaxed pace. Content is updated once-a-day, so many stories may be “old” by Interner standards, but it sure beats the local paper. It initially builds an “edition” based on the sections you select and once you get a chance to read it, it does flow more like a magazine or The Daily. As time goes on, more content is based on things you care about thanks to keywords and being able to specify local content.

Editions Editions Editions Editions
Editions Editions Editions Editions Editions

Although both apps have wonderful user interfaces, Editions seems to have a little bit of extra visual chrome—the wood background upon opening the app, the curled cover, and using news images for each section “cover”. Since Flipboard is a little less linear and is constantly getting new content, there isn’t much they could do to match this.

Sadly, Editions does have some areas to improve, including working in both portrait and landscape orientation (it only works in portrait, which seems to be the less-used orientation of iPads), the ability to add a custom feed or two, and a few formatting issues.

Still, despite these flaws, it does offer a very good, broad view of news, with some customization in a very friendly and approachable format. The use of content other than just AOL’s is also a good thing, considering the drama with some of their tech properties. The fact that it ends with a horoscope or “On This Day in History…” as well as asking for suggestions is a nice way to wrap things up.

Is There a Winner?

Right now, if we had to choose one, it would be Flipboard. Sure, other products, like Zite also exist, but Flipboard has almost become a standard and has won many awards. That being said, both are free and Editions offers a unique take on an already new model of spinning the news. We think they can coexist peacefully on your home screen, especially if AOL continues to improve and build upon Editions.

The Facts

5/5Product: Flipboard
Company: Flipboard, Inc.
Platform: iPad (iOS 3.2 or higher)
Price: Free (iTunes Link)

4/5Product: Editions
Company: AOL
Platform: iPad (iOS 4 or higher)
Price: Free (iTunes Link)

This post has been filed in iDevices, iOS Apps and Reviews