Best Free iPad App of the Week: News360°

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Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.

News360° is calling itself a next-generation news personalization and aggregation service” and has been getting lots of positive buzz among reviewers. I’ve tried it for myself for the past few weeks and I can confirm that it deserves the raves, even in the face of fierce competition from the likes of popular apps Flipboard and Zite. News360° definitely draws you in. It’s a keeper. For the main screen.

How does it deliver news?

Like other news aggregators you can personalize the news by specifying your Facebook, Twitter, Evernote or Google Reader profiles but this remains optional. The UI is essentially an X-Y axis where the categories “My Interests“ and "News“ are on the left and the story tabs are listed on the right. The interface is consistent whether in portrait or landscape – a nice touch. You can customize feeds at any time, e.g. in my “Gadgets“ feed  I have iPad, iPod and Zune, among others.

Changing settings is easy and intuitive – absolutely no learning curve. The number of results rendered is impressive – the feed scrolls on and on, from sources I would never think to consider looking at. When you choose to deep dive into an article, you can view it in-app or from the source (without leaving the app) but you can also switch to tabs from other news sources with the same or similar topic. Of course, you have the option of sharing or saving. What’s nice is that you can also see Twitter buzz on the particular topic and tweet yourself from the app.

The 360° tab takes you to a scrolling screen of pics which take you to news stories when selected. This is not my fave way of browsing for news but it may be appealing for some.

What’s to like?

Let me talk about the look of the app, which represents a fresh departure from these clean white layouts of other news aggregators in going for tones of deep and lighter blue meshed with black. It’s a beautiful palette that makes for an elegant reading and browsing experience. The amount of content delivered is really amazing and the main reason I return to the app daily. I could lose myself in articles just browsing through a few categories. The sections slide and scroll effortlessly while you browse and swipe, making for stable performance. I’m still in disbelief that developers can give us a great apps like this for free. What’s not to like about a free app that suggests interesting articles for daily perusal.

News360° is also available for iPhone, Windows 7, Playbook, Android and Web so it’s available for a wider audience than some of its iOS-only competitors.

Here’s an App Store link for News360 for iPad.

If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.

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