Podcasts are a great way to stay informed on subjects you care about, and there are several ways to stay on top of the latest information. You can use good old iTunes section of podcasts, where you can download and sync the ones you like, and after that you can also keep track of those right on your iOS device. But just like with any other app type, there are other applications which offer far more flexibility and some very helpful additional tools.
In this article we are going to take a look at an application called Downcast. This is a well-known iOS application which received mixed ratings in the past, but it is very popular and many are using it. Today we are going to review its OSX version, which was recently published. This application is intended for those who already use its iOS counterpart, as well as for those who’d like to get into podcasting as well. It is priced at $10, and could be downloaded from the Mac App Store.
The first time I’ve opened Downcast, I’ve had some mixed feelings about its user interface. Even though it seems somewhat organized and logical, once I started taking a deeper look into its graphic elements, I started to see some issues. Even though its interface is completely usable, I expected much more polished looks for this money, and an application that simply shines. What I didn’t like about Downcast is that its icons look a bit amateurish, like play controls and those four large advance and backtrack buttons. There are some very beautiful and nicely designed podcast applications throughout the Mac App Store, so I expected from Downcast to be a bit more aware of its tough competition. I would’ve had more understanding if this is a free app, but since it costs $10 I need to say that I am disappointed in this version.
Now let’s see how this application performs. First, you can use iCloud to automatically sync and download all those podcasts that you already follow. You can also use URLs to add new ones as well. There’s also search functionality and catalog of podcasts which simply isn’t working right. I wasn’t able to get any results and catalog was completely empty. I am not sure if this is a bug or a work in progress, but it was yet another letdown. From there, a series of problems appeared. Some podcasts were being downloaded over and over again, and each time I wanted to listen to those I needed to wait a couple of minutes until they are “prepared”. I also need to mention many glitches and crashes, which made my experience of using Downcast a very tedious, until I simply gave up at the end.
Finally, to sum up all my experiences with Downcast – I could simply say that this application feels like a pre-alpha build. Even if this is a free app I wouldn’t recommend it since it’s almost impossible to use it, and I believe that many users would agree since Downcast currently holds very low rating in the Mac App Store.