July 25, 2013

Apps I Love: Pocketcasts by Shifty Jelly

As I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, I’ve become a podcast power user in the last six months or so. But since I have an Android phone instead of iPhone, I can’t just use iTunes to get all the latest content. After experimenting with a lot of different apps for my phone, I found one that I absolutely love – Pocketcasts, by Shifty Jelly (available for both IOS and Android, though this rave applies to the Android version).

When I first started my search for a good podcast app, I was only looking at free options. Unlike Apple, where the app store is really locked down and anything good costs money, the Android market / Google Play Store  is completely open source – and as a result, you can get just about anything for free. I had never before paid money for an app, and I didn’t see why a podcast app should be any different. But apparently the one good thing you cannot get for free is a good podcast app, and so I decided to pony up the measly $1.99 and buy Pocketcasts (so sorry, so cheap). And I am so glad I did!

Pocketcasts has a really great user interface that allows you to see your subscribed podcasts and their episodes in visual albums (kind of like an eReader bookshelf) or in a list view (with the option to separate by Audio vs Video). As far as subscribing, while some podcast apps I tried didn’t turn up certain podcasts in search, Pocketcasts has always found every podcast I’ve ever sought to add.


As far as listening on the go, Pocketcasts puts the playback controls right onto the lock screen – which is really helpful since my client’s security settings require my phone to have a pin lock after just 15 seconds of inactivity. A few podcast apps I tried required me to dig around through the phone to actually open the podcast app before being able to hit play, pause, or rewind.

But where Pocketcasts really shines is in the custom settings. The absolute best part of the app for me is the ability to tweak the speed. When I first started listening to podcasts, I realized that podcast hosts/guests tend to speak much slower than what my ear can actually comprehend (probably because they’re trying to be articulate and choose their words carefully). Some of my favorite podcasts are 45 minutes or an hour long – and I just don’t have the time for that! I’ve found that if I set the playback speed to 1.5x, I still can easily understand 95% of the content– and if I encounter a fast talking guest (ahem, Owen McGab Enaohwo on Less Doing), the playback speed adjustment is right on the main display and is simple to change back to a slower speed.

Another feature that I really like from a productive listening perspective is the ability to custom set the fast forward and rewind intervals. I have mine set to be 10 seconds, which I’ve found is just right for skipping over boring advertisements by hitting it a few times and yet still being to get the stop position pretty close to the end of the ad. Sorry, but I am really sick of listening to the same tired script for Audible.com on every podcast.

And of course, no review of a podcast app would be complete without me listing some of my favorite podcasts:
Beyond the To Do List with Erik Fisher
Jillian Michaels Show
Freakonomics Radio
The Leverage Podcast by Ari Meisel
Quick and Dirty Tips series: Get Fit Guy, The Public Speaker, Nutrition Diva, Get It Done Guy, and Grammar Girl
The Lifestyle Hacking Show by Dean Dwyer
The Suitcase Entrepreneur
Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast
Prolific Living Media (now retired)
Greatist (now retired)

What are your favorite podcasts?

Note: I have no affiliation with Pocketcasts or Shifty Jelly, nor do they even know I’m writing this review. This has just become one of my favorite apps and I wanted to share it with you all! Hope you enjoy it 😉


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