By Jason Snell
August 15, 2016 2:14 PM PT
Castro 2: Inbox triage for podcast episodes
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
In some ways, I think the podcast app space has become a bit like Twitter apps were back in the day: A place for developers to experiment with user interfaces and push the ball forward.
The thing that makes Castro 2 stand out is its approach to curating your podcast playlist. New episodes of subscribed podcasts appear in the app’s Inbox tab, in chronological order with the most recent item at the top. You tap on an episode to reveal a horizontal toolbar of action buttons, which let you quickly play the episode, add it to the bottom or top of your podcast queue, or banish it to the archive.
The net effect of this is quick podcast-episode triage, all focused around a single playlist. This is especially important in an era where there are a whole lot of podcasts to wade through.1 In a few moments I was able to get through a half-dozen new podcast episodes in my Inbox, marking some of them for immediate listening, tacking others on to the bottom of my queue, and bypassing less interesting episodes entirely.
I like Castro’s take on a single play queue for podcasts—but then, I’m someone who uses a single playlist in Overcast, so it’s a concept that works for me. It’s easy to reorder items in the Castro queue by tapping and dragging on the right side of the episode.
Castro’s not without its faults, however. I don’t love the Now Playing screen, which is minimized to a strip at the bottom of the app most of the time, and when expanded doesn’t show any episode art, just an animation of (fake) audio waveforms sliding across the screen. Castro’s variable-speed feature, which lets you play back audio at speeds faster than 1x in order to save time, doesn’t sound as good as the audio in either Overcast or Pocket Casts.
That all said, if you’re eclectic in your podcast tastes—not just picky about the podcasts you listen to, but picky about which episodes of those podcasts are worthy, and even more particular about the order in which those podcast episodes play—Castro 2 is made for you. At $5 it’s a refined, attractive app that has a unique take on podcast management, and it’s worth your consideration.
- Yes, I realize that I am a severe contributor to this glut. ↩
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