'sodes ($2.99) by Nice Boy LLC is a simple and clean podcast app for those who listen to the occasional podcast. With 'sodes, it's more along the lines of Castro 2 instead of other, more fully-featured apps like Overcast. If you only need to listen to a podcast every now and then, rather than every day, then 'sodes could be the app for you.
I love listening to podcasts, but I'll admit it — I've fallen way behind in my podcast subscriptions, and I haven't been able to catch up for the longest time. I must have a subscribed list of around 30 podcasts, and as much as I enjoy listening to them, I'm just overwhelmed with having to catch up so I just stopped listening to most of them. But when I was an avid podcast listener, my app of choice was Overcast specifically for the Smart Speed feature. But with my current non-existent podcast listening habit, I'm not sure Overcast is for me anymore. Fortunately, 'sodes just came out and it could be just what I need.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
The design of 'sodes is incredibly minimalistic, and it almost feels like an app that Apple designed themselves due to the aesthetics. On the first launch, you'll be greeted with a simple message that explains how to navigate the app, which is pretty straightforward since there's basically only two screens: Home and Search. The Home screen has a large 'sodes header in the top left, and then you'll have your Favorites, In Progress, and Unplayed Episodes. The Search screen is full of podcast artwork tiles from top podcasts, and there's a search bar in case you don't see what you're looking for.
The default theme in 'sodes is Light, which features a white background and black text. But if you don't care for that, there are additional themes: Dark and Campfire. Dark is more of a steel blue background with light gray text, and Campfire features a burgundy-to-black gradient transition background with blood orange text. No matter which theme you end up sticking with, 'sodes retains the minimalist design and looks great doing so.
Since 'sodes is designed for the occasional podcast listener, don't expect a way to import your previous subscriptions in here. Instead, you'll need to make use of the Search screen in order to find new or current favorites. Just tap on a podcast tile to view details about the show, and view their episode list. You can also add a podcast to your Favorites for quick access. If the show you want isn't featured on the Search view, you can search by name or pasting in a URL.
Once you've picked out a few shows as favorites, you can see them all in the Home screen, as well as Unplayed Episodes. From the Home view, or even from a show's details page, you can tap on an episode and start listening, no subscribing required.
With 'sodes, there are no downloads for episodes. Instead, the app relies 100 percent on streaming the audio, which may raise concerns for those with limited cellular data plans. However, 'sodes intelligently manages data consumption by downloading the audio data in portions. This information is temporarily on the device to help restrict network data usage, but there's no offline playback since a data connection is always required.
During playback, 'sodes has some nice large buttons for play/pause, and rewinding or fast forwarding 15 seconds. You can also tap on the "..." button to adjust the playback speed, select audio output, stop playing, share the episode with others, or go directly to the episode website. The playback bar also displays the elapsed time in a small square that resembles an Apple Watch face, which I thought was a nice detail.
Options for 'sodes is in the iOS Settings, but the gear icon in 'sodes takes you directly to it. You can change the forward and backward intervals, switch themes, and toggle "Keep Screen Unlocked" when the device is connected to power and you're playing an episode.
Listen to podcast episodes when you want to, not when they arrive.
For the occasional podcast listener, 'sodes is great. The app has a minimal aesthetic design that's simple and straightforward with no fuss. It's easy enough to find the shows you want, or even discover new ones with the featured artwork tiles. Not having to subscribe to get access to episodes is also nice, so this app is perfect when you just want to listen to that one episode of a podcast your friend told you about.
There's also a bit of leeway with the colors, since you have three themes to choose from, and they all look good in their own ways. The large tappable buttons for playback are nice to have as well, especially when driving.
If you want a feature-packed podcast app, 'sodes is not the app you're looking for. This app is designed for those who only listen to podcasts every once in a while, and it makes it easier for them to get what they want. If you prefer an app that lets you subscribe, download episodes automatically, create playlists, and more, then you should give Overcast a try.
The only other negative thing about 'sodes is the fact that it needs a data connection to play episodes. For those with unlimited data, this isn't an issue, but not everyone has that luxury. It's nice that 'sodes has smart streaming, but some would still prefer to download an episode before playing it to conserve limited data.
So far, I like 'sodes for what it is: a simple podcast app for the casual listener. I doubt that I'll ever be able to manage my huge subscription list in Overcast anymore, so 'sodes is a nice alternative when I just want to find a single episode of something and listen to it when I have the chance to. Plus, as a fan of minimalism, the design is great. I think if there was the option to download episodes for playback, then this would be perfect for the casual listener who doesn't have unlimited data. But if you want a power-user experience, then you should look elsewhere.
You can find 'sodes on the iPhone App Store for $2.99.