Test three: Navigation
How easy is it to move between your various feeds?
The simplest way to move between feeds is using just a mouse or trackpad, clicking through the news items one after the other, or going back and forth between the main pages and the articles in Pulp or Mixtab.
But it's often easier to use a keyboard, and all the apps here allow at least some form of keyboard navigation - with shortcuts available if you want them. We found one of Reeder's few flaws here: when you're moving around using the arrow keys, it can be hard to know which column's selected.
NewsRack, Socialite, Reeder and Pulp also let you navigate using multi-touch gestures, which makes moving from one story to the next an absolute joy. Socialite and Pulp bounce you to Safari to view an item in its original form, but we preferred the other four apps, which let you remain in the interface.
Special kudos here to NetNewsWire and NewsRack for allowing multiple browsing tabs to be opened concurrently.
Test four: Extra features
We pick out a few of the best hidden features
As far as further features go, Socialite's got the most going for it, given it's more than just an RSS reader - it can be your entire social networking hub, pulling together Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Digg. If you use even some of these services, having everything in one place is excellent. But in trying to be all things, it falls short as an RSS reader overall, so we can't recommend it for this purpose.
Reeder's big extra feature is its built-in Readability viewer, which is truly amazing. Because many RSS feeds only contain the first few lines of the actual article, you often need to click through to the source website to read the full thing. But with the Readability viewer, you click a button (or unpinch on your trackpad) and Reeder attempts to pull through the full text into the app. No ads, no clutter, just what you want to read. Once you get used to using it, you'll wonder how you ever managed without.
Pulp uses a similar system called Magic Reader.
The best RSS reader for OS X: Reeder
NetNewsWire and NewsRack are solid, business-like ways to keep on top of lots of feeds, Pulp is pure elegance, and an honourable mention goes to Mixtab, since it's the only free one here.
But then along comes Reeder and quite simply blows the rest out of the water. Originally designed for the iPhone and iPad, it genuinely feels like part of a new generation of Mac apps in terms of its look, feel and ease of use. It's wonderfully elegant in the way its columns and articles glide in and out of view.
It lets you use multi-touch gestures which are becoming so central to how the Mac works. And its built-in Readability viewer means you rarely have to view the full web page where the article came from. Overall, it's pure class.