Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular; almost every music streaming platform now supports the format, and many apps are being specially built around it. But which app or platform should you pick?
The hunt for a great podcast listening app directed me to Podbean. So, I took it as my next app for #AppyWeek with AK and tested it for a whole week to see if it makes me Appy or Unappy.
And most importantly, should you download and try Podbean for yourself or simply skip it? So here’s my week’s worth of experience, what I loved, liked, and hated in the app.
Review: Podbean Podcast App & Player for iPhone
I am an avid podcast listener and diligently follow a fair few, from tech, Harry Potter, storytelling, business to mindfulness. Managing and keeping track of them all in Apple Podcast or even Spotify becomes too tricky at times.
This is where Podbean and its numerous features come into the picture. With tools like customizable playlists, intelligent speed, volume boosts, and more, the app aims at delivering a better podcast listening experience.
Along with your favorite podcast episode, you can also enjoy live audio stream, FM, and a bunch of free audiobooks.
Although the app also doubles as a podcast hosting platform, my agenda was to test it as a player. So, I stuck to it and just explored that side of the app.
Note: If you have any queries regarding Podcast hosting and other services, contact Harshanki, the host of The iGeeksBlog Show.
Can Podbean really make a difference?
It certainly does make a difference. And while the advertised features are great, it is the attention to detail that impressed me more than anything.
Let me take you a bit deep inside the Podbean iOS app to help establish my point.
I usually catch up on episodes while commuting, doing chores, running errands, or on the weekends. Though the auto-download feature helped, I needed something more organized.
The Following tab – Podbean sports a separate following tab, wherein you can view all the podcasts you follow. You can arrange them alphabetically or in order of following or update time.
Moreover, the app maintains a handy download tally, a combined on the top of the page and an individual on each podcast’s icon. (clearly, I have a lot of episodes to catch up on)
Note: While helpful, the ‘red’ marks could be anxiety-inducing; I wish there were a setting to clear the tally, hide it or altogether disable it.
Customizable Playlist – Hands down, my most loved feature! Just create a playlist, add podcasts, and newly published episodes of selected podcasts will be auto-updated.
All you have to do is just hit play! Plus, you can also manually add episodes to a playlist, making organizing your podcasts a breeze.
The only thing missing is an auto-remove setting that could remove listened-to episodes from the playlist at regular intervals.
To boost your listening experience, Podbean incorporates the following options:
Intelligent speed – Shortens silences from an episode without distortion.
- Intelligent speed – Shortens silences from an episode without distortion.
- Manual speed adjustment – Slow it down to 0.5x or speed it up to 2.5x.
- Volume boost – Enhances the EQ for a more booming, balanced sound.
- Sleep Timer
- Manage the seek speed – A smart feature hidden in the setting section to adjust the seek speed from 8 seconds to 60 seconds. Oh, how I love skipping those minute-long ads!
- Smart integration – Podbean supports Siri, CarPlay, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Alexa as well.
Discover new listen-worthy podcasts
According to a recent stat, there are over 1M active podcasts. So how can you find a great fix? Via recommendations and searching through categories, trending podcasts, and more.
Well, Podbean brings a healthy mix of all this. And even though I won’t call its algorithm as intuitive as Spotify’s, it certainly does a pretty decent job.
Additionally, you can also switch the region in mere seconds. Whether you want to see trending podcasts from the US, UK, Australia, India, or Thailand…all is possible.
More than Podcasts
As briefly mentioned earlier, Podbean also offer options for:
- Audio live stream – A variety of live audio shows, wherein you can Call-into share your thoughts or ask questions. Yes, a similar format as our beloved Clubhouse.
However, in Podbean, you can also engage with the host and other listeners via messages. Or send gifts or donate to reward the hosts for their good work.
- Networks and Radio – Depending upon your region selected, you can access a host of networks/radio stations and their shows.
- Audiobooks – While it will not hold a candle against the wide variety of Audible books or similar apps, Podbean offers a decent collection. I am a happy girl as it offers Harry Potter’s Stephen Fry version.
Notably, the app also supports English, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
Podbean vs. Castbox vs. Overcast
I was impressed with all that Podbean had to offer. But it dawned on me that before making a judgment, I should also check and explore other popular podcast listening app.
Castbox – Surprisingly, this one almost a copy of Podbean (or vice-versa); I don’t know who did it first. It has audiobooks, Livecast (live audio shows), networks, playlist options, and other similar features.
Where this one stands out is the community section, quite like your regular social media feed. People can post about their podcast, and you can like, share, and comment.
Plus, there is a meditation and sleep aid section, Zen Mode with soothing sounds, and a better Siri Shortcut Support. However, the access to playback settings and show notes is easier and smoother in Podbean.
Overcast – Now, this one is another story. It is just a platform for podcast listening and no other distractions. The interface is pretty bare-bones, but it indeed makes up for it in terms of features.
My most loved feature is that you can set custom skip intro & Outro timing for each podcast. Skipping all the small talk and directly taking me to the crux of the discussion.
Plus, its voice boost is better than the other two apps. If you want to hear podcasts pick overcast, but if you want more stuff like audio novels and live shows, Podbean or Castbox should be the one.
Is AK Appy or Unappy with Podbean?
I am somewhere in the middle; Podmean did manage to solve my critical problem of organizing and managing my podcasts. Plus, it offers free audiobooks and like rooms.
However, the features seem half-baked and well-thought of. I have to ultimately put in some additional work to manage my favorite podcasts, which gets exhausting sometimes.
So, I keep my fingers crossed, and hopefully, the developers will think about further enhancing their feature list.
User Interface: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌝
Ease of access: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌜
Features: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌝
Fun quotient: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌜
Audio quality and enhancement: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌝
Episode management: 🌝 🌝 🌝 🌜
Overall, I enjoyed my week with Podbeand and will continue to use it. You should also give it a try at least once, and do let me know your views and review in the comment section below.
Price: Free (VIP Member – $9.99)
What is #AppyWeek with AK?
It is a space you should surely follow if you love exploring new apps or doing thorough research before picking the right one for your device.
With #AppyWeek with AK, I pick up an app and explore an app for a whole week. After that, I share my honest experience to help you decide whether the app is perfect for you or not.
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- AppyWeek with AK: Wakeout! for quick home workouts
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A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.