Reddit is slowly working its way to becoming one of the most popular social networks on the internet. It has achieved this by the unique, democratic system it uses to display content, where the most popular content is front and center. While the website has always been a pleasure to use on a computer, there was unfortunately a long period of time where viewing Reddit on mobile deivces was not even worth it due to the lack of a complete experience.
Things are different now as Android users have several different Reddit applications to choose from. However, two applications seem to stand out the most, Reddit News and Reddit Sync. The reason these applications have become so popular is that they were developed and are actively maintained by Redittors, which is a great advantage when it comes to user interface.
Both Reddit News and Reddit Sync obviously aim to accomplish the same goal of providing the best possible mobile experience you can get for Reddit. However, each of them is unique in how it achieves that and it is this aspect that will determine which application you ultimately end up using.
Reddit News is particularly geared towards browsing one subreddit at a time. It offers you a drop down list at the top of your feed where you can select which subreddit you wish to view. The interface tries to make browsing a single subreddit more enjoyable until you switch to another.
Basic subreddit view with Reddit news on the left and Reddit Sync on the right
Reddit Sync however, focuses on making it easy to switch between subreddits instead of focusing on only one. The primary navigation is achieved by swiping between subreddits depending on what content you want to view. As a result, those who prefer to multitask while browsing Reddit will likely favor Reddit Sync.
Basic Reddit Functions
Nearly every Reddit application will provide you with the ability to access all functions similarly to the web version of Reddit. However, it is how these actions are achieved that make these applications stand out from one another.
Link, Text, and Image Viewing
When browsing posts on Reddit, you will only encounter three different types of content. A post will either be a direct link to another website, or it will directly show you an image/video or a body of text. As a result, how you view images and text can be a huge factor when considering mobile applications.
When it comes to text posts, Reddit News will simply direct you to the post’s comment page, with the text at the top, and comments directly below it. The same aspect applies to posts that are links to other websites. Selecting this type of post will simply bring you to the external website. With image posts however, Reddit News will display a thumbnail of the image that will expand into a full screen view when selected. This means that the only way to view the comments on the post will be to specifically select the comments button (more on this later). With Reddit News, it does not matter if you select the thumbnail of a post or the title of the post. All three different types of content will behave exactly the same regardless of what you select.
On the other hand, Reddit Sync takes this implementation and pushes it just a little further. When it comes to text posts, Reddit Sync will behave the exact same way as Reddit News. With image posts however, different things will happen depending on what you select. If you select the thumbnail of the image, then you will see the image in full screen view. However, if you select the post title, then you will be brought to a larger view of the image with the comments directly below. Reddit Sync also displays thumbnails of the images that will expand to full screen view when selected. However, if you select that actual post title instead of the thumbnail, then you will be directed to a larger view of the image with the comments directly below.
Example of image viewing with Reddit News on the left and Reddit Sync on the right
For those of you familiar with Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES), then you will recognize the additional way of viewing content that Reddit Sync has implemented. When you are viewing a subreddit, there will be either an image, browser, or text icon to the right of each one depending on the type of post. Like RES, selecting a text or image icon will display the content right in the subreddit feed. This allows you to easily see content without even leaving the main page of the subreddit. Selecting the browser icon will simply bring you to the external link.
Both applications feature a secondary menu that will allow you to access various functions related to the post or comment you are viewing.
To access the secondary menu in Reddit News, simply slide the post or comment to the left.
To access the menu with Reddit Sync, you simply long-press on the post or comment.
This secondary menu will provide you with the same basic actions in both applications. You will be able to upvote or downvote, hide or save posts, view the user’s profile, share the content, or view the content in your browser.
Secondary menus with Reddit Sync on the left and Reddit News on the right
In Reddit News, this menu is actually the only way you can view the comments for external link and image posts. A smaller feature of Reddit News is that when you select an external link post, the application will display this secondary menu as a dock at the bottom of your screen, allowing you all of these traditional actions while your are browsing the actual website.
As expected, both of these applications perform more impressively on tablet devices. This is because Android tablets are designed to view content and very few sites do a better job of displaying content than Reddit. In fact, the experience is so much better, you will find yousrelf using Reddit on your tablet whenever you have the chance.
Reddit News goes under a very impressive transformation when you switch to a tablet device. For starters, it makes viewing comments incredibly easy due to the intuitive navigation. As you are browsing a subreddit, you will be working with two different viewing panes. The subreddit links will be in the left pane and the comments in the right pane. The right pane will also have a smaller thumbnail of an image so you can get an idea of what the content is. As you select various content, the comments will load in the right pane in real time. This makes it easier to bounce between content feeds and comments without any hesitation.
Tablet view of Reddit Sync
A similar process takes place when you are composing a comment or a post. The process is again split into two different viewing panes. As you type in the left pane, the right pane is updated with a live preview. This makes you absolutely sure of what your post will look like to others.
Live previewing what you’re writing in Reddit News
Reddit Sync actually goes under an extremely similar transition when switching to a tablet device. The only difference is Reddit Sync takes things a little further. You will still get to browse intuitively using two different viewing panes like with Reddit News. However, Reddit Sync will actually show you a larger view of the image directly above the comments in the right pane.
Tablet view of Reddit Sync
Mobile Reddit applications have really picked up in the last year or so and as a result, users are now able to choose from several applications. While these two are the most popular, they are certainly not the only ones you can use. In reality, both of these applications will deliver an incredibly solid Reddit experience. In fact, they are both so thorough, that there isn’t any area where one succeeds dramatically more than the other. Consequently, the decision to use one over the other will be entirely based on your personal preference.